Mexico Meetings, 2009

July 12, 2011 by Paris and John  
Filed under Sample Articles


A year made difficult by recession has been complicated in Mexico by violence and the H1N1 virus. However, Mexico is presently undergoing a comprehensive campaign to emphasize the many assets available for group meetings south of the border. Extensive promotion and marketing efforts—plus exceptional packages and concessions—are refocusing the attention of meeting executives on the diverse destinations offered by Mexico.

“Before the meetings industry in Mexico took this path, their efforts were only targeting leisure travelers,” points out Eduardo Chaillo, Director for the U.S. at the Mexican Tourism Board. Today, however, meeting executives are finding a revitalized Mexico with a more extensive selection of venues than ever before. “Different states are expanding their convention facilities; more beach resorts are able to host greater events as well as smaller destinations that have developed more capacity for meetings or incentive groups.” Presently convention centers and exhibition venues in 12 Mexican cities are under construction, renovation or expansion. Along with expanded accommodation and meeting facilities, today Mexico is home to 59 international airports and good airlift to the US and Canada remains a top draw.

Although the present economic situation has slowed travel, Mexico sees promise. “The current economy gives us the opportunity to get the North American events that were planned for Europe, Asia or even South America,” notes Chaillo. “Due to the recession, Mexico is a good option for the industry since planners will get more value when holding a meeting event or bringing an incentive group to México.”

Chaillo points to Mexico’s stable economy, diverse product, good exchange rate and proximity to the US as top draws for meeting groups. Chaillo also notes “fiscal incentives such as the zero VAT for international meetings or the deductibility on the IRS as part of NAFTA” as further enticements.

Efforts have paid off. The most recent statistics from ICCA show that Mexico ranks ninth worldwide (rising from 11th position in 2007) in terms of the number of attendees at international meetings.

Watch for Mexico’s continued efforts to grow its meeting business even more. According to Chaillo, “The meetings industry is very important to Mexico. We strive to position ourselves as the ultimate destination for meetings and conventions, because of our proximity to the US as well as the variety of attractions that we  have to offer.”

Hotel Updates


The Hyatt Regency Acapulco is now the Grand Hotel Acapulco and Convention Center. The 632-room hotel features 14 meeting rooms, as well as ballroom and banquet services.

The 1,011-room Fairmont Acapulco Princess recently introduced Pearl. Located on the Fairmont Acapulco Princess property, this hotel within a hotel offers luxury accommodations and private pools following a $30 million renovation. The Fairmont Acapulco Princess recently opened a 20,000–square-foot exhibition center.

The Banyan Tree Cabo Marqués is scheduled to open in late 2009. Featuring 46 villas, each with its own pool, the resort will offer a spa complex, banquet hall, and four meeting rooms.

The new Mundo Imperial development includes the 805-room The Resort at Mundo Imperial, a member of Preferred Hotels and Resorts. The new hotel includes a spa, six restaurants, and four meeting rooms. The Mundo Imperial development also includes the Forum, a theater that can seat up to 4,000 attendees.

Cancún and Riviera Maya

The 426-room Hilton Cancún Golf and Spa Resort has opened the  $2 million Isla Jr. Ballroom, part of the newly-renamed Peninsula Convention Center at the Hilton Cancún. The property now offers 110,000 square feet of combined indoor and outdoor meetings space.

The 290-room all-inclusive, adults-only Secrets Capri Riviera Cancún has opened a spa spanning more than 13,000-square-foot space with 10 treatment rooms. The resort includes 6,714 square feet of meeting space.

Marriott International has announced that in the next five years it will nearly triple its presence in Mexico, including the Riviera Maya, with an investment of over $1 billion.

With 365 guest rooms and over 27,000 square feet of meeting space, The Ritz-Carlton, Cancún has recently opened a new 17,000-square-foot beach club available for group use. Available for as many as 700 attendees, the club includes ten private cabanas, 17 palapas and a fully equipped bar and dining area.

Aventura Spa Palace has been divided into two properties: the 777-room, adults-only Aventura Spa Palace and the 489-room Aventura Cove Palace for families. The all-inclusive resorts are home to the Harmony Center with 55,000 square feet of flexible meeting space.

Unik Island Resort & Spa is scheduled to open in Fall 2009 on Isla Mujeres, off the coast of Cancún. The property will offer 84 suites with flat screen televisions, CD/DVD players, iPod docking stations, high-speed wireless Internet, laptop-sized safes, fully stocked mini-bars and more. The resort will feature six restaurants and bars, a spa including Mayan treatments, and meeting space for up to 210 attendees.

The all-villa Banyan Tree Mayakoba Hotel & Spa Resort has opened and includes a full-service spa and health club.

The 497-room Grand Velas All Suites & Spa Resort Riviera Maya has opened,  offering 91,547 square feet of meeting space.

The 86-suite Capella Bahia Maroma is expected to open in late 2009. The resort will feature a private, championship 18-hole Rees Jones golf course, a spa, beach club, gourmet restaurants and more.

Plans are underway for the 561-acre master planned community Grand Coral Riviera Maya. A $2.5 billion investment, the facility will include hotels, an 18-hole Nick Price golf course, entertainment and sports facilities, and more near downtown Playa del Carmen.

Los Cabos

The Puerto Los Cabos development northeast of San José del Cabo has opened an 18-hole golf course with nine holes designed by Jack Nicklaus and nine designed by Greg Norman.

The Barceló Los Cabos Palace Deluxe will be opening in December. The 649-room all-inclusive will offer 35,000 square feet of meeting space including a 10,225-square-foot dividable ballroom and five additional breakout rooms and a reception/lounge area.

The 32-suite Zoetry Casa del Mar is set for a December opening. Stays include private direct chauffeured airport transfers, 24-hour in-room dining, complimentary 24-hour laundry service, and a 20-minute massage per guest. Guests will receive access to all restaurants, facilities and services at the adjacent Dreams Los Cabos Suite Golf Resort & Spa.

Groundbreaking has taken place at Cabo Riviera, a development on a three-mile-long beach. The development includes a Pete Dye signature 18-hole links course, five-star hotel, spa, marina, artists’ village, and more, all set for completion in the third quarter of 2011.

The 66-room Capella Pedregal has opened along the Cabo San Lucas Marina. The resort features three restaurants, a 12,000-square-foot spa, and a personal assistant assigned to every guest.

A private golf, beach and marina community, Chileno Bay will feature two 18-hole Tom Fazio golf courses, a private beach club, spa and shopping boutique.

A 2010 opening is planned for Montage Los Cabos on the site of the former Twin Dolphins Hotel. It will feature 24-hour room service and a full service spa.

The planned community Quivira Los Cabos will feature two Jack Nicklaus-designed courses scheduled to open for play in early 2010. Also under development is the Ritz-Carlton Los Cabos, Quivira, set for a 2011 opening. Plans call for a 6,000-square-foot ballroom, 2,400 square-foot junior ballroom, three meeting rooms and a boardroom.



Mazatlán International Center is scheduled to open in October with over 80,000 square feet of meeting and exhibition space.

The 716-room, all-inclusive Hotel Riu Emerald Bay has opened. The beachside resort offers four restaurants and three conference rooms.

Mexico City

The 189-room St. Regis Mexico City has opened on Paseo de la Reforma. The hotel offers three restaurants, spa, indoor pool, four meeting rooms and two ballrooms with over 12,000 square feet for group functions.

Puerto Vallarta

The $43 million Puerto Vallarta International Convention Center has opened and offers 105,000 square feet of meeting and exhibition space.

Trip Tips

Mexico’s Taso Cero or Zero Tax policy gives rebates for VAT expenditures for meetings (not incentives) held in Mexico. Meetings must be coordinated by a Mexican organizer at a venue or hotel certified by the Mexican Government and must be paid with a credit agency headquartered outside of Mexico. Also, attendees must state they are in Mexico to attend a congress, convention or trade show in their immigration documents upon entering the country.

For over half a century, cliff divers have climbed the cliffs at La Quebrada, one of the best-known attractions in Acapulco. Each times his dive in order to strike the water at the moment when the surf is deep enough. Crowds gather several times throughout the day to watch the dives from vantage points on the cliffs as well as from boats.

Cozumel’s development as an international destination began when diver and documentary film producer Jacques Cousteau introduced the world to this island’s clear waters.  He produced a film on the “Cave of the Sleeping Sharks,” a formation where sharks, which usually must continue swimming to force oxygen-bearing water past their gills, come to rest. Today Cozumel remains a top diving destination due to the Palancar Reef that extends southward to Belize.

Special Venue

The Riviera Maya’s Xcaret recently completed a new wine cellar available for small group functions. Vino de México, a $1 million facility, is designed to share the history of Mexican wine and is the only wine cellar in the world that stocks Mexican wines exclusively. The Sommelier’s office, stocked with the most exclusive vintages, is available for groups of 10 while the tasting room can accommodate groups of 25 persons. A third room is filled with exhibits on winemaking. Xcaret also recently opened the first phase of Hacienda Henequenera, styled like a authentic henequen plantation, that will be able to accommodate groups of up to 1,000 attendees when completed in December 2010. Other facilities at Xcaret include a 6,000-person theater. 52 (998) 883-0470;

Comments are closed.