Meagan Drillinger
Meagan Drillinger

Marketing Quintana Roo just got a whole lot easier. Until this past Monday, destinations in Quintana Roo were a bit disjointed. Cancun had a very clear CVB, but as if we hadn't noticed, there is so much more going on in the region beyond Cancun. Forget Tulum and Playa del Carmen (although, how could you?). 

Tourists these days are hungry for destinations like Cozumel, Isla Mujeres, Isla Holbox and the more far-flung corners of the Riviera Maya. When seeking specific information on the destination, outside of the hotels, often trails would go cold, and tracking down information became more of a Google treasure hunt.

But earlier this week, the state of Quintana Roo launched the Quintana Roo Tourism Board, an entity that will manage the brands that make up the state's tourism sector, creating a promotional strategy for the entire Mexican Caribbean region. The region is expecting an additional 4,000 hotel rooms this year. More than 16.9 million visitors visited Cancun and the Riviera Maya in 2017, as well. 

The tourism board is headed by Dario Flota Ocampo, who has a background in tourism and knowledge of the 11 destinations that make up the state. "While each destination will maintain its unique identity, the role of the new Quintana Roo Tourism Board will be to showcase the strengths of the state as a whole, while highlighting all the different components that make it one of Mexico's sought-after vacation spots," Flota Ocampo said in a statement. 

Development is increasing exponentially on the Costa Mujeres, just north of Cancun, as well as trickling south of Tulum into what is known as the Costa Maya. Destinations like Akumal, which sits south of Tulum on the way to Bacalar, are increasing in popularity among the barefoot luxury crowd. 

And it seems like the new tourism board will have its hands full over the next couple of years. The Mexico Daily News reported in December that Quintana Roo's economic growth was higher than China's in 2016. "The state's GDP grew by 7.6% last year, according to national statistics institute Inegi, where as China's economic growth slowed to its weakest pace in a quarter of a century to 6.7%." Overall in 2016, Quintana Roo contributed 1.6% of Mexico's GDP. The state has more than 98,000 rooms.

Last year, Mexico announced three major projects were in the works for Quintana Roo. One of the largest is expected to be Laguna Holbox, a sustainable tourism development that will fuse nature, adventure activities and Mayan culture. The property will span more than 27,000 acres around Yalahau lagoon, and will be a $400 million investment, said Sectur, Mexico's tourism ministry.

SeaWorld is one of the other projects slated for Quintana Roo, on Cozumel in Chankanaab Park. This $56 million investment will be an aquarium in a multilevel building.

The third project will be Blue Lagoon at Laguna de Bacalar. With a $360 million investment, this retirement community will be composed of residential buildings with personal services like health care and health services. 

There are no dates set for any of the three projects.

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