Welcome back to ILTM North America. One more year has gone by and a lot of things have changed in Mexico during these past few months—don’t worry, our food is as good as usual! After last year’s edition, a big part of the country was still struggling to recover after the earthquake. Mexico City definitely changed after September 19th. Many of its neighbourhoods have radically changed given the amount of people moving out of the most affected areas. Those first months were hard but a year later, it seems the capital has found its old rhythm and hopes are coming back while most of the buildings have been restored or torn down.
Something similar happened after the July election. The uncertainty that prevailed the months prior was quickly changed for a newfound hope. The triumph of López Obrador was feared by many sectors of society, but after the pacific ambience that followed his win even the most sceptical seem a bit open to change. For the first time, in quite some time, it feels like the whole country is on the verge of a deep and much needed transformation and this inevitably brings hope and positivity. That’s exactly why this is Mexico’s best time for the travel industry.
Before the elections many Mexicans were very cautious with their travel plans, but now the market feels more relaxed and Mexicans are ready to make plans again. Canada still remains very strong as an alternative to the United States and China, Japan and Korea are seen as the new places to explore in Asia. Vancouver and Whistler have become a new favourite likely because of the mix between nature and urban vibes that can be enjoyed in both, combined with the advantage of a no visa policy for Mexicans. Japan is still a big favourite, with many already on their second or third trip, while the rest of Asia remains as the dream destination of many, with Thailand, Bali, Singapore and Hong Kong high on the list.
In terms of incoming tourism, our popularity keeps going strong, with visitors from all over the world coming to Mexico primarily to enjoy our rich culture. Riviera Maya is still a favourite destination but some openings in the Cabos area —Solaz, Grand Velas, Montage and soon Ritz-Carlton Reserve—are turning the reflectors on the Pacific. Mexico City is getting ready for two big ones, Park Hyatt and Ritz-Carlton, while some new and interesting openings like Ryo Kan Mx—the first ever Japanese style hotel in the country—are great alternatives for those who like to think outside the box.
New and independent hotels and projects, like Chablé in the Yucatan Peninsula, are also showcasing some new trends, like wellness and nature travel. We have seen a lot of new companies that focus on nature exploration, helping travellers get in contact with the beautiful Mexican surroundings through walks and treks all over the country. While most of them are targeting local travellers, some, like Aire Libre Run, have programs designed for international travellers too. Also, big resorts like Punta Mita, are now regularly putting together events that focus on wellness, offering travellers the opportunity to mix holidays with wellbeing.
So, if we had to choose one word to describe Mexico in 2018, I would choose “optimistic”. Because now more than ever, the best is yet to come.
María Pellicer travels the world looking for stories as Editor-in-Chief of Travesías Magazine. Travesías are regular media attendees at ILTM events; catch them next at ILTM Cannes this December!