by Andrea Doyle | May 01, 2015
Colorful culture, beautiful beaches, first-class hotels, nightlife… Cancun has all the components in place to accommodate groups. Plus, Cancun understands the tourism industry.

"Mexico has always been an attractive tourism destination due to its accessibility, affordability, rich culture, and tropical climate," says Juan Perez, vice president of sales and marketing, Barceló Hotels & Resorts for Latin America. Pointing to the recent surge in new direct flights and increased hotel inventory being added in Mexico, he cites this as a reason the country is better than ever able to "accommodate the record number of visiting tourists as the country's economy continues to rebound."

Cancun Appeal
Expectations were exceeded last year in Cancun, Mexico's no. 1 tourist destination, as it received more than 4.8 million visitors. The average hotel occupancy was 81.6 percent, according to the Cancun and Puerto Morelos Hotel Association. That is a 6.6 percent increase over 2013 and an estimated economic gain of $3.3 billion dollars.

"With the rise in interest from airlines from North America and the opening of new hotels and services, as well as the range of international activities and events in 2015, I think it's safe to predict another great year for Cancun," says Jesus Almaguer, CEO of the Cancun Convention & Visitors Bureau.

Located on the southeast tip of Mexico, in close proximity to culturally significant sites and Mayan ruins, Cancun is easily accessed via most major cities throughout the United States and Canada.  Major carriers such as American Airlines, Continental, United Airlines, and Delta provide daily direct service to Cancun, and smaller carriers such as Virgin Airlines, JetBlue, and Spirit also provide direct service to there from select cities. The North American market has the most international flights to Cancun.

An estimated 1.8 million visitors from North America visited Cancun last year, an increase of nine percent when compared to 2013.

The Mexican Federal Government plans to invest more than $14 million in the state of Quintana Roo this year that will include beach restoration projects in Northern Cancun, Isla Mujeres, and Holbox.

In February, the state of Quintana Roo officially changed time zones from Central Standard Time (CST) to Eastern Standard Time (EST). This time change means added sunlight each day, strengthening Cancun's competitiveness with other tourism destinations in the Caribbean that run on EST including the Bahamas, Cuba, and Jamaica. So you could say there's no better "time" to visit Cancun than right now.

Cancun received several awards during Tianguis Turisitico, Mexico's largest tourism event, held this March. The award for 2014 Mexico Destination Campaign of the Year went to the Cancun CVB as the destination saw a significant increase in bookings throughout its 2014 campaign. Fiesta Americana Condesa Cancun Hotel, an all-inclusive property, was awarded for being Mexico's top hotel producer in Cancun and Isla Mujeres.

An award for Mexico's best nature tour was given to EcoColors Tours for their whale shark swim excursions. Visitors can don a snorkel and fins and swim with the largest fish in the world, an unforgettable experience. The largest congregation of whale sharks gather in the waters here between June and September.

Alltournative, an eco-archeological tour operator, was awarded for being Mexico's best cultural tour for their Coba Mayaville expedition. This excursion allows tourists to visit the archaeological site of Coba, and discover the Nohoch Mul pyramid, the tallest in the Yucatan Peninsula. The tour also includes a visit with real Mayan families and villages to learn about their way of life and to enjoy a traditional homemade meal prepared by one of the local families. Alltournative promotes eco-tourism projects in different local communities and seeks to develop sustainable tourism and preserve Mayan culture in the area.