New facilities, air service invite meetings market

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MEXICO CITY -- Mexico is bullish about attracting a larger share of the lucrative meetings and incentives market, according to officials.

As new resorts and convention facilities open and air service from the U.S. increases, Mexico is positioning itself as an alternative to the popular business travel venues in the U.S., officials said.

The Mexico Tourism Board also has been working to match incentive buyers with the facilities that best fit their needs.

According to Javier Vega Camargo, the board's general director, "Incentive buyers continue to come to Mexico in record numbers."

He said the board expects these numbers to continue to grow.

In the capital, the Mexico City Tourism Authority named Enriqueta Lavin to the new position of director of meetings and conventions.

Lavin will head a staff of seven who will oversee everything from on-site meetings and conventions management to fam trips and new brochures.

The following is a rundown of what's available in several of Mexico's top business travel destinations, which include Acapulco, Cancun, Guadalajara, Ixtapa/Zihuatanejo, Los Cabos, Mexico City, Monterrey and Puerto Vallarta.

  • Acapulco
  • Most meetings properties are located along Acapulco Bay near the Acapulco Cultural and Convention Center, which features 200,000 square feet of exhibit space and 32 meetings rooms.

    Top business hotels include the Hyatt Regency, the Acapulco Plaza Suites and Resort, the Fiesta Americana Condesa and the Fairmont.

    The new, $1 million convention center at La Jolla de Mismaloya.

  • Cancun
  • The Cancun Convention Center is within walking distance of 4,000 hotel rooms and 20 minutes by car from the Cancun airport.

    The center's largest hall is a 29,000-square-foot ballroom with room for 1,500 people.

    The 450-room JW Marriott Cancun Resort and Spa is scheduled to open in February.

    Conference and meetings facilities will include a 14,400-square-foot Grand Ballroom and nine meeting rooms in a dedicated business center.

    The adjacent Marriott CasaMagna Resort will be linked to the JW by a skywalk.

    Among the top business resorts are the Melia Cancun Convention Center Beach and Spa Resort (the convention center is new), the Fiesta Americana Coral Beach, the Camino Real, the Hotel Krystal, the Hyatt Regency and the Fiesta Americana.

  • Guadalajara
  • The Expo-Guadalajara Exposition Center and the World Trade Center Guadalajara are the city's main meetings venues.

    The World Trade Center Guadalajara has 40,000 square feet of exhibition space and conference space for up to 1,200 people.

    The Expo-Guadalajara Exposition Center features a 300,000-square-foot exhibit hall and a 13,000-square-foot business center.

    The Camino Real Guadalajara has meeting space for up to 800 guests.

  • Ixtapa/Zihuatanejo
  • The Melia Azul Ixtapa has 6,000 square feet of exhibition space and a conference center with room for 450 people.

  • Los Cabos
  • The Sheraton Hacienda del Mar will open a new convention center in June that will accommodate up to 1,600 people.

    The 302-room Melia Cabo Real completed construction of a 20,785-square-foot convention center.

    The Melia Mexico City Reforma is among the capital city's leading business properties.

  • Mexico City
  • Mexico City has approximately 25,000 hotel rooms.

    Leading business hotels include the Sheraton Maria Isabel Towers, the Presidente Inter-Continental, the Melia Mexico City Reforma, the Westin Galeria Plaza and the JW Marriott.

    The Fiesta Americana Reforma created a new business center and four meeting rooms.

    The Hotel Nikko is renovating its business center and will add five meeting rooms.

  • Monterrey
  • The Centro International de Negocios features 108,000 square feet of meetings space with room for 2,500 people.

    Two popular hotels for meetings are Presidente Intercontinental and the Sheraton Ambassador.

  • Puerto Vallarta
  • A $1 million convention center opened last August at La Jolla de Mismaloya resort.

    The freestanding, 7,000-square-foot center is the largest of its kind in Puerto Vallarta's southern hotel zone and the second largest in Puerto Vallarta.

    The center can accommodate up to 600 people.

    The hotel's public areas, including terraces around three pools and beside the beach, can accommodate up to 1,000.

    The center features the latest in audiovisual equipment as well as trunk lines to broadcast meetings and conventions to other cities and countries.

    Puerto Vallarta has approximately 16,000 hotel rooms.

    Top business hotels are La Jolla de Mismaloya, the Marriott CasaMagna, the Melia Puerto Vallarta, the Westin Regina Vallarta, the Sheraton Bougainvillea, the Holiday Inn Hotel and Resort, the Krystal Vallarta, the Camino Real, the Fiesta Americana, the Continental Plaza, the Plaza Las Glorias, the Hacienda Buenaventura and the Punta Mita.

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