Cancún, Mexico and its home state of Quintana Roo are gearing up for the year 2012, the year of the Mayan New Dawn. This year’s 24th annual Cancun Travel Mart, held at the Cancún Convention Center October 12-14th, focused on new opportunities in Cancún in 2012 and well beyond. Travel Mart was attended by 650 delegates from twenty different countries, all coming together to explore what Cancun has to offer, both new and established product. An estimated 3,700 business meetings were held. The event was managed by William H. Coleman, Inc.
The conference opened for the first time with a sit-down dinner at the convention center, where suppliers and buyers could meet and mingle. Filmed advertisements for the new tourism promotion, “2012: A New Beginning” were shown. World attention is focused on the Mayan calendar ending in 2012 after 26,000 years but rather than an ending the campaign focuses on a “New Dawn,” and new opportunities as a starting point for the future.
The next morning, the working days began with remarks from numerous important figures in Mexican tourism, from both the government and the private sector. The official opening ceremony was chaired by Eugene Rybicky, from the Mexican Association of Travel Agencies in Quintana Roo; Eduardo Muñiz Urquiza, Fonatur Director; Juan Carlos Hernandez Gonzalez, Secretary of Tourism; Rodrigo de la Peña, President of the Cancun Hotel Association; Roberto Borge Angulo, Governor of Quintana Roo; Eligio Serna, Director of Relations with Partners of the Council for Tourism Promotion of Mexico; Jesús Almaguer Salazar, the General Director of the Cancún Convention and Visitors Bureau and CEO of the Cancún Tourism Board; Paul Michel Carrillo, Deputy President of the Tourism commission. The presence of so many government officials, both state and federal, underscored the importance placed on Cancún tourism. The Cancún region makes up roughly fifty percent of Mexico’s tourism income.
The first speaker of the morning was Rodrigo de la Peña, president of the Cancún Hotel Association, one of the main sponsors of the event. He emphasized the Cancún tourism’s triple threat: modern, high-quality amenities; natural wonders; and most importantly, the wonderful Mexican people providing the service. Looking ahead to the future, the goal is too maintain quality and raise occupancy.
The Governor of Quintana Roo, Roberto Borge Angulo, remarked later on the great growth Travel Mart has seen and that it has the government’s support. He encouraged wholesalers to “trust us, and trust the Cancun market.”
The State of Quintana Roo has a good relationship with the Mexico Ministry of Tourism and that will help better position Quintana Roo in both the Caribbean and the world markets.
Raul Marrufo, Undersecretary of Tourism for Quintana Roo, emphasized the government’s strong support of the Cancun region and how excited they were for the coming year. The Cancún region offers the best of both Mexico and the Caribbean to travelers. He spoke about important strides in the areas of weddings, spa and golf tourism, as well as new packages and initiatives and improved branding. The Cancún region has been fortunate and has not seen as much of a drop in tourism as has the rest of Mexico and the Caribbean in recent years and Cancún’s success is expected to continue.
Jesús Almaguer Salazar, the General Director of the Cancún Convention and Visitors Bureau, echoed his sentiments. US arrivals in the region were only down 2% in 2011 and first quarter reservations for 2012 are already looking to be 9-40% above last year’s figures. The target goal for 2012 is to achieve numbers 5-10% above this year.
Cancún is a mature destination, a leader in Latin American tourism, but it is also one that offers new experiences for travelers. Services and infrastructure will be both maintained and increased. Tourist safety is as always a top priority, and he pointed out that there has never been a serious incident involving tourists in the Cancún region.
Cancún’s “Treasures of the Caribbean” program focuses on the nearby islands of Cozumel, Isla Mujeres, Isla Contoy, and Holbox, as well as the seaside town of Puerto Morales.
Everything that tourists look for in a Caribbean vacation is available in Quintana Roo, plus a whole lot more. The Cancún CVB will be reaching out through social media to promote both “Treasures of the Caribbean” and “2012: A New Beginning” to the general public and tool kits for travel agents are on the way.