Cancun Shines Bright on the Global Stage

It’s unlikely that there could have been a more appropriate destination than Cancun to host the 20th Global Summit of the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC).After all, as the biggest tourism magnet in one of the few nations that never fully closed during the COVID-19 pandemic, Cancun was already hosting visitors. Welcoming the world’s first major, pandemic-era international tourism event was a logical next step.ADVERTISINGThe Global Summit, which took place April 25-27 at the Moon Palace resort in Cancun, attracted some 600 in-person attendees, including tourism officials and business leaders, as well as thousands of online participants. “It’s very important to point out that having this event marks the return of big international, high-level gatherings, and to be able to handle that in our destination is fantastic,” said Lizzie Cole, executive promotion director at the Quintana Roo Tourism Board. “We’re very pleased with the protocols installed, with Palace Resorts for helping us make it happen, and I think that everyone feels confident. We have people here from 20 different countries. We have people here who haven’t traveled [since the start of the pandemic] and this is the first international trip they’ve taken, so it’s a very exciting time.” Trending Now Cole said that the attention focused on Cancun because of the event will also help the entire state of Quintana Roo to rebuild its meetings business, which has been slower to recover during the pandemic as most gatherings have been canceled and/or postponed. “This is going to be a reason for corporations and big companies to say, ‘this can happen; if they were able to do it, we can do it.’ We have fantastic infrastructure such as this property and the way that everyone takes care, everyone feels safe.”The Mexican Caribbean Clean & Safe Check Certification, a program that launched during the pandemic to maintain effective and consistent pandemic health measures, will also play a key role in reigniting travel to Cancun and the entire state of Quintana Roo, according to Cole. “It includes guidelines that companies have to comply with … including transportation services, tour operators, parks, hotels and restaurants, so everywhere you go, you’ll see that you have to get your temperature checked, the gel, the face mask is mandatory.”The WTTC Global Summit was also an opportunity to celebrate the region’s achievements and set the stage for improvements in the industry.The organization awarded the Global Leadership Award to Quintana Roo Governor Carlos Joaquín González, for his extensive work promoting travel and tourism.In addition, the WTTC announced a new initiative designed to promote inclusivity in the travel and tourism industries. The Cancun Women’s Initiative Declaration Supporting Women in Travel & Tourism, a public/private partnership, was announced by WTTC president and CEO Gloria Guevara.The Best Investment Cancun Hotel Zone (Photo via Quintana Roo Tourism Board) Staging large-scale events cost lots of money. But hosting the WTTC Global Summit was “the best investment the government has done so far” during the pandemic, according to Jorge Luis Tellez Vignet, general director of municipal tourism for the city of Cancun. “It’s expensive, but it’s money well spent. There couldn’t be a better marketing or PR campaign we could do than just having this event here.”Tellez Vignet said that the city provided an ideal setting for an international tourism conference.“Cancun was the epicenter of the recovery of the tourism in the world,” he said. “Cancun is here at the right time and the right place.”While the overall mood about tourism recovery in Cancun is optimistic, Tellez Vignet noted there may still be bumps in the road.“For the second half of 2021, we still have some challenges,” he said. “For instance, we were expecting that the Canadian market, which is huge for us, would return for the summer. But to be honest, I don’t think that’s going to happen. But I think for the winter, we’re going to do very well. For next year, I think we’ll reach the same level of occupancy that we used to have in 2019.”Tellez Vignet also commented on the new tax applied to foreign travelers in the state of Quintana Roo as of April 1. The new fee, which amounts to approximately $10-$11 depending on the exchange rate, must be paid upon booking, upon arrival or upon departure, via a website called Visitax. The tax is to fund tourism development around the state, according to Governor Carlos Joaquín González.“At the end of the day, if the product is good and something you’re willing to enjoy, $10 won’t make a difference,” Tellez Vignet said.Overall, he expects word of mouth from the WTTC event to push Cancun’s visitor numbers even further. “We know that [attendees] are going to get back and tell people what they’ve seen here. That’s going to allow us to recover. I expect that next year we will be doing better than in 2019.” Let's block ads! (Why?)