Located along 81 miles of the Eastern Caribbean coastline in Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula, the Riviera Maya region broke tourism records in 2011, welcoming more than 3.6 million visitors. The Riviera Maya Destination Marketing Office said it recorded 3,610,367 visitors last year, representing a 7.05% increase in overall visitation from 2010 and an increase of more than 200% from the year 2000. Of the 10.2 million international travelers that visited Mexico in 2011, 28.4% traveled to the Riviera Maya area.
In 2011, the destination also reported 10,197,654 consumed room nights, an increase in 7.9% over the previous year. The United States continues to remain Riviera Maya’s largest inbound market for tourism, making up more than a third of the destination’s overall visitation.
“Despite the challenges Mexico’s tourism has faced in recent years, Riviera Maya continues to appeal to global visitors as one of the world’s top travel destinations, as demonstrated from our record-breaking year in 2011,” said Dario Flota Ocampo, general director of the Riviera Maya Destination Marketing Office.
Adding to its appeal as a global hot spot, the bulk of the destination’s tourism is comprised of international visitors (80.8%). The number of visitors from Europe and South America grew tremendously in 2011, with a 14.4% and 32.7% increase in visitation from each continent respectively. Despite double-digit growth in emerging international markets, the U.S. still remains Riviera Maya’s largest foreign tourist market, followed by Europe and Canada. Last year, more than 45% of all Canadian tourists visiting Mexico headed to the Rivera Maya region.
Continuing the 2011 trend of growth in visitors and room nights, the destination has also grown in hotel inventory. In the last decade, Riviera Maya has added more than 100 new hotels, which total more than 21,000 hotel rooms and a diverse range of hospitality offerings. Looking forward, the destination is expecting continued growth in the tourism sector with the addition of the upscale Kanai development in 2014, slated to feature several well-known luxurious hotel brands including Starwood Hotels & Resorts; the St. Regis Kanai, Resort & Residence; W Retreat Kanai and Kanai Auberge.
In addition to a growing hotel inventory and increased global appeal, 2012 is set to be another hallmark year for Mexican tourism as the celebration of the end of the Mayan calendar and mythological period of rebirth takes place. Tulum, one of the region’s most popular ancient archeological sites, saw 1,085,288 visitors in 2011 and is expected to see milestone visitation levels in 2012.
“We expect 2012 to be another monumental year in Riviera Maya’s tourism as we enter the beginning of a new era in Maya history and continue to position the area as a mecca for authentic cultural experiences. As a community-wide effort, Riviera Maya is committed to improving the already memorable experiences that make this area a desirable destination for international travel,” said Flota Ocampo.
Riviera Maya has announced Q1 results for 2012 noting increased levels of visitation and occupied hotel room nights versus the same period in 2011. In the most recent figures released by the Riviera Maya DMO, the destination has seen a 5% rise in overall visitation and 5.7% increase of hotel room nights consumed as compared to 2011 (January to March).