Mexico’s 2016 Tianguis Turístico: Breaking Records, Making News
Photo by Christian Palma
From April 24 - 28 the international tourism industry was focused on Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico’s second largest city and host to the 41st Tianguis Turístico, an annual smorgasbord that brings together the best of the country’s destinations, hotels and service providers with thousands of buyers and visitors.
Expectations were high—not the least because of the sheer size of the Expo Centro. This is the largest convention center in Latin America, giving the 3,176 exhibitors over 484,000 square feet of space to set up some extraordinarily impressive booths. And in terms of numbers, this year’s Tianguis was just as impressive: 37,022 business meetings were held with the participation of 1,605 buyers, 910 companies and 79 countries, including Mexico, as well as 9,413 attendees. There were 542 business suites installed, the largest number in the history of Tianguis.
Having recouped its standing as one of the world’s top ten most visited countries according to the World Tourism Organization, Mexico pulled out all the stops in Guadalajara, showcasing its cultural and artisanal diversity, as well as its abundance of natural attractions, with an emphasis for the first time on the romance, culinary and meetings industries, which had their own pavilions. In another first for Tianguis, there were stands for the Pueblos Mágicos (Magical Towns), as well as an exhibit booth for indigenous ecotourism.
News From The Big Top
Some of the most colorful news to emerge from the Tianguis Turístico is in a category all its own: Daniel Lamarre, President and CEO of the Canadian entertainment company, Cirque du Soleil, presented a video peek at the construction of a mega-amusement park to be located outside the huge Vidanta resort complex in Nuevo Vallarta. This first-of-its-kind immersive theme park will include a water park and nature park elements as well as an outdoor show for an expected 5,000 viewers, and will debut in 2018. It’s expected to attract five million visitors a year.
In a second and no less exciting announcement, Lamarre presented a clip of Cirque du Soleil’s newest show, Luzia: A Waking Dream of Mexico, an appropriately dreamy interpretation of Mexican culture that pulls out some of its richest—and lesser promoted—aspects in an effort to convince their expected 100-million spectators across 450 cities around the world to see the country for themselves.
Created in conjunction with the Mexico Secretariat of Tourism (SECTUR), this monumental show kicks off its world tour this month in Montreal, making its way to the United States later this year. Show-goers can expect monumental set designs and acrobatics representing aspects such as the renowned speed of Northern Mexico’s Tarahumara, or Rarámuri, tribe; the different incarnations of rain, from a refreshing shower to torrential downpours (the water used will be recycled) and the country’s amazing animals, represented by enormous, life-like puppets.
Construction is about to begin on Costa Canuva in the Riviera Nayarit, located in the municipality of Compostela, just 45 minutes north of the Puerto Vallarta International Airport and two and a half hours from the city of Guadalajara. A joint effort between Portugal’s Mota-Engil Tourismo and Mexico’s Fonatur, the $120 million investment will include over 2,500 residential units, five luxury hotels, a beach club, specialty restaurants, a marina, mountain biking trails and more.
The development will also offer 630 acres of beach, estuary and mountains, with a PGA-caliber golf course co-designed by golf pros Greg Norman and Lorena Ochoa, with two holes running parallel to the ocean and another two with extraordinary views. The first stage is slated for completion by 2018, and will include the golf course, beach club, 350 residential units and a Fairmont property. The resort will have 250 rooms and suites, including 40 Fairmont Gold rooms and branded residences and a 13,000-square-foot Willow Stream Spa.
Acapulco, which will once again host the Tianguis Turístico next year, is set to debut a new state-of-the-art airport terminal, a two-story building with an annual passenger capacity of one million in the first phase. The city will also start operations of the ACABUS transport system in the second semester of this year, as well as a tunnel connecting the traditional tourism zone with the newer development of the Diamante Zone, which will be known as the Scenic Alternative Acapulco and will decrease travel time between the two areas to about 10 minutes.
In hotel news, Mundo Imperial Resorts acquired Princess Acapulco and Pierre Marquez, Grupo Posadas will begin construction on the $85 million Fiesta Americana Grand Acapulco Diamante this summer and the Mayan Palace Playa will open in winter of 2016 with 180 rooms and the La Plaza commercial building with a gourmet market and boutique.
In Cancún, renovations and expansions on terminals 2 and 3 of the Cancún International Airport have been completed, and construction has begun on Terminal 4 (T4), which will increase capacity by 48 percent and will include a hotel, duty-free designer boutiques and extensive dining options.
Mazatlán announced construction was underway on five new hotels, the growth of cruise arrivals from 47 last year to 96, and new flights including one flight each from Los Angeles on American Airlines and Delta and additional airlift from Minneapolis on Sun Country Airlines. The Destination will also welcome the PGA Tour Latin America in May, and has invested $2.7 million in upgrades in the Historic Center and $2 million in improvements in the Golden Zone. They also reaffirmed their commitment to the safety of their visitors.
In Jalisco, Puerto Vallarta is looking forward to the opening of the new Isla Shopping Mall this year, with luxury hotels and gourmet restaurants. Airlift news to Guadalajara includes two more weekly Aeromexico flights to Fresno, California; and new flights to Seattle and Austin on Volaris later this year summer.
Grupo Brisas announced it will invest $80 million in three new business hotels under their Galerías Plaza brand, two in Mexico City and one in Irapuato, Guanajuato, as well as another under the luxury Nizuc brand in a beach destination (Los Cabos is a possibility). The group also has several properties under renovation and expansion, including the Hacienda Jurica in Querétaro, which will become the largest hotel in the area, and the La Concha Beach Club in the iconic Las Brisas Acapulco hotel.
Iberostar Resorts announced 2016 is the year it will reinforce the culinary offer in all of its hotels; implement new and improved activities for adults, teens and kids; and improve their wellness offerings for guests.
Original Resorts’ Temptation Resort & Spa Cancun will begin a multi-million dollar makeover this September, partnering with designer Karim Rashid. The new Temptation Resort & Spa will have a colorful seven-story building.
Grupo Posadas is having a banner year with the opening of Lat20 by Live Aqua in Playa del Carmen bringing luxury all-inclusive to its adults-only boutique concept, with only 60 guestrooms in the heart of all the action, with a rooftop bar and pool area; and the 73-room Live Aqua Monterrey Valle and the 180-room Grand Fiesta Americana Monterrey Valle set to open in summer 2016. They also announced an alliance with renowned Chef Ricardo Muñoz Zurita, who will revive old and treasured regional recipes and bring them Fiesta America city hotel guests.
The partnership will be formally expanded in the near future to include all brands in the Resort Collection. The Group also announced the official launch of the Fiesta Americana Resort Collection, with twelve distinctive resort properties that epitomize the Spirit of Mexico located in the best beach destinations in Mexico. Hotels include the new Grand Fiesta Americana Puerto Vallarta All Inclusive and the Grand Fiesta Americana Coral Beach Cancun, which recently opened the $2 million Coral KidZ Club,
Palace Resorts announced a new resort concept located within signature property Moon Palace Golf & Spa Resort in Cancun, which will be made up of three distinct sections: the Moon Grand, Sunrise and Nizuc. The Moon Grand section is currently undergoing a $450 million transformation, with more spacious and luxurious accommodations, exclusive access to premier dining establishments and more.
Slated for completion by the end of 2016, expansion highlights include the addition of more than 900 guest rooms; a new lobby; seven outdoor pools, including two adults-only swimming pools with a live DJ spinning poolside beats; five swim-up bars; an elaborate beach club; a children's waterpark; gym; an Awe-Spa; a bowling alley with six lanes; an ultra-trendy teen lounge; a chic nightclub; 16 food and beverage outlets and more.
Grupo Presidente is adding a new Hyatt House in Mexico City’s Santa Fe district, and has started to develop its own hotel brand, Zentra, with an average of 120 guest rooms and low prices that belie its technology and world-class service. Other new projects include the addition of new international brands to its portfolio, such as Starwood’s Aloft in Querétaro, expected to open in December 2015 with 145 rooms.
More by Lydia Gregory
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