Mexico achieves 14% boost in post-pandemic tourism
Tianguis Turistíco 2023 brings the world community to Mexico City
There’s great news in the Mexican tourism industry: More visitors are coming to the country than ever before.
As announced by Miguel Torruco Marques, the nation’s tourism secretary, tourism in 2022 brought US$28.4 billion into Mexico — an increase of 14 percent over 2019, the last year preceding the international COVID-19 pandemic.
“We have increased our tourism product,” Torruco told attendees of Tianguis Turistíco 2023 in Mexico City. “There is a new tourist profile that we launched since the pandemic. Now we have tourists coming in from different parts of the world, and they are spending more money.”
More than 600 exhibitors, 700 buyers and 2,338 delegates, from Mexico’s 32 states and 90 countries, converged upon the Centro Citibank convention center from March 26-29 for Tianguis Turistíco, the 47th annual State of the Union for Mexico Tourism.
Gross revenues from product sales during the event were reported to have exceeded US$65 million, an all-time high for Tianguis. Torruco said tourist arrivals in 20234 are expected to surpass 40 million, reflecting pent-up demand after two years of COVID-related travel warnings.
As it does every year, Tianguis provided an outlet for each Mexican state to call attention to its regional travel trends. These were some of the highlights:
Mexico’s Capital City
The nation’s sprawling capital sponsored this year’s event, which in 2024 will return to Acapulco. “Tourism is a source of well-being and a driver for economic growth,” said Nathalie Veronique Desplas Puel, secretary of tourism for Mexico City. “It empowers women and the quality of life for all.”
In 2022, Desplas announced, 180,000 jobs were created in the travel sector in Mexico City, and more than 110 billion pesos were disbursed in economic benefits.
Within Mexico City, Desplas noted, are 16 territorial demarcations, four UNESCO World Heritage Sites and 11 other archaeological sites, world-class gastronomy (with two restaurants rated among the 50 best in the world), 25 protected natural areas, 170 museums and 43 art galleries.
Gay Games 2023
The Olympic-style Gay Games 2023 are coming to Guadalajara and Puerto Vallarta, November 3 to 11. The announcement was made by representatives of the Jalisco state capital at a media luncheon. Co-hosted by Hong Kong, the event is expected to draw more than 12,000 participants.
“The fact that Guadalajara will host one of the world’s most important sporting and cultural events for the LGBTQ+ community is not a coincidence,” said Vanessa Peréz Lamas, Jalisco’s secretary of tourism. “It is thanks to coordinated efforts, comprehensive public policies, strong connectivity, and tourist, sports and urban infrastructure. We are ready and prepared to receive this world-class event.”
The main events will be held in metropolitan Guadalajara, with post events in the beach resort city of Puerto Vallarta. It will mark the first time the Gay Games will be featured in Latin America.
While most travelers are familiar with Cancún and Playa del Carmen, savvy explorers are discovering the riches of other parts of the Yucatán peninsula.
“We are a small state, and it’s easy to get around.” said Miguel Andrew Hernandez, undersecretary of tourism. “It’s also a very safe place to visit and locals welcome all visitors.
“Our region offers excellent value. The Mayan culture is alive and well, and we are not Cancun; our beaches and cenotes are less crowded. We believe that many travelers now come to our state because we offer unique experiences with locals.”
Its mild climate makes Yucatan a year-round destination. More than 200 new hotels are expected to open by the end of 2023. The capital city of Merida is the second safest capital in North America after Quebec City. Tren Maya, an intricate rail system that will link Yucatán with neighboring Quintana Roo, Campeche, Chiapas and Tabasco, is scheduled to open next year. TAG Airlines already has begun flights between Mérida and Flores, Guatemala.
The tiny, landlocked state of Tlaxcala is the smallest of Mexico’s 32 integrated states. Its capital, with the same name, is rich in culture and gastronomy, and located fewer than a two hour drive from Mexico City, making it easily accessible.
Known as the “Land of the Corn,” Tlaxcala boasts 200 types of corn, the most of any region in the world. Pulque is a local wine made from the fermented sap of the maguey, an agave-type plant. Oddly, the inland region hosts an international beach volleyball championship.
San Blas and Islas Marias
The historic Pacific port city of San Blas is girding for a tourism boom, as the terminal for ferries to the Islas Marias archipelago. Once the nation’s most feared prison, dubbed “Mexico’s Alcatraz,” the islands have been reinvented as an ecotourism destination. Hotel developers Grupo Vidanta emphasize sustainable experiences and encounters. Natural coral reefs create excellent conditions for snorkeling and diving. Many birds, including the rarely seen yellow-headed parrot, attract birdwatching aficionados.
Preserving the rich heritage of San Blas is also in offing for Najarit state. Spanish conquistadores departed from here in their voyages of discovery to California. A hillside fort and customs house, along with the Church of Our Lady of the Rosary, date back to 1769. Nowadays, people come more for unspoiled beaches and local seafood, including red snapper Zerandeado, grilled over wood-fired charcoal.
Throughout Tianguis, hoteliers hosted media and travel advisors to discuss their new projects — of which there is no shortage. “We have increased our hotel capacity,” said Torruco, the Mexican secretary of tourism. “We have been building about 22,000 new hotel rooms yearly.”
Leading the way with new developments is the Posadas group. Mexico’s most extensive portfolio includes the luxe-lifestyle brand Live Aqua Resorts, Residence Clubs, La Coleccion Resorts and the intimate boutique Curamoria Collection. Each attempts to highlight the cultural essence of its destination. Soon to open are three seaside hotels in Mazatlán; the Riviera Cancún, with a Live Aqua and flagship Grand Fiesta Americana; and another Live Aqua property in Tulum.
The Arriva Hospitality Group hosted a cocktail party to celebrate the luxury, all-inclusive Sensira Resort & Spa, recently opened in the Riviera Maya. Mundo Imperial Entertainment & Hospitality is expanding íts presence in Yucatán with the opening of Xixim Mundo, slated for the end of the year. Wayam Mundo Imperial in Mérida is a luxury boutique hotel with 52 suites, infusing state-of-the-art amenities with high-tech sophistication, urban design and sustainable innovation.
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