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July 5, 2017

Meetings in Mexico Up 10.4 Percent


Mexico has seen rapid growth in its meetings industry, reporting a 10.4 percent increase in business in the first two months of the year when compared to the same period in 2016, according to new statistics from the Mexico Tourism Board. According to the International Association of Congresses and Conventions (ICCA), Mexico now ranks fifth in the Americas in terms of the number of hosted events, which have now reached 182 world congresses and more than 300,000 meetings in 2016. These numbers are a direct result of Mexico's global initiative to position and promote Mexico as Latin America's leader in the world congress arena, the Mexico Tourism Board said.

"Our world-class conference facilities, accommodations, and welcoming community are the drivers behind Mexico's continued growth and its recognition as a top global industry player in the meetings and events space," said Hector Flores, CEO of the Mexico Tourism Board, in a written release. "Additionally, Mexico's strong commitment to increasing air connectivity, which now encompasses more than 2 million new seats in direct flights to the country in 2017, allows us to facilitate travel from all corners of the world."

The meetings industry plays a key role in Mexico's economy, the tourism board said. The more than 300,000 annual gatherings, including corporate events, congresses, incentive groups, exhibitions, and summits have an impact of US$25 billion, the equivalent of 1.5 percent of GDP. Last year, the country hosted 182 large-scale congresses alone. A few notable events included the World Congress of Ophthalmology with 8,000 attendees in Guadalajara; the World Congress of Cardiology and Cardiovascular Health with 5,000 participants in Mexico City; and the Formula 1 Grand Prix, which was held in Mexico City with 350,000 participants.

The industry is poised for continued success in 2017. According to PEIIR (Mexico's Meetings Industry Strategic Information Portal), there has been a 10.4 percent increase in activities in January and February of 2017, and a 4.9 percent increase over March and April when compared to the same period last year. Recent and upcoming meetings and events of 2017 include:

  • The Franchise Expo, held at Expo Guadalajara from June 22 to 23, is expected to result in approximately US$16.7 million in economic impact throughout the next five to nine months as a result of the meetings and signed contracts executed during the convention.
  • The World Meetings Forum (WMF) will take place in Mexico City from July 11 to 13 for the fifth time.
  • Cruise Planners, an American Express Travel Representative, will host its annual convention at The Grand at Moon Palace in Cancun from October 15 to 19.
  • The Florida-Caribbean Cruise Association (FCCA) will host their annual Cruise Conference and Trade Show in Merida in the same month, from October 23 to 27.

Beyond 2017, Mexico's destinations are prepared to support the continued growth through strategic partnerships, improved infrastructure, and key wins, the tourism board said. In June of this year, the Baja California Sur Ministry of Tourism announced the winner for joint management and operations of the Los Cabos and La Paz convention centers, reinforcing the importance of meetings and events for the tourism industry and cementing the state as an attractive destination for the world congress arena.

In Yucatan, construction began earlier this year for the International Convention Center of Yucatan, set to open by the second semester of 2018. The center already has 10 conventions and meetings confirmed for that period. The undertaking is set to revitalize Merida's hotel zone, as the new space will accommodate up to 22,000 attendees. 

Mexico also continues to win bids for high-profile congresses into next year. The country recently won the bid for two prominent global conventions: the 2018 edition of the Destination Wedding Planners Congress (DWP) in Los Cabos, and the 11th World Society of Reconstructive Microsurgery Meeting in 2021 in Cancun. Celebrated annually in the world's best destinations, the DWP Congress will be held from April 10 to 12, 2018. It is considered to be the most important event in the wedding industry with more than 400 participants from 60 countries, including the top 150 wedding planners in the world.

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