The tourists and business travelers have kept coming, except that many more are coming from Brazil, China and Russia. Actually, what's going on in Mexico tells you a little something about the effects of globalization, writes WSJ columnist John Bussey.
"Mexico is an important strategic location for IHG, and the company works with franchisees to develop hotels for the long term," says Stephen Boggs of InterContinental Hotels Group, whose brands include Holiday Inn. IHG expects to launch 46 new hotels in Mexico by the end of 2014. It has 120 in Mexico now. Marriott says its new Courtyard Mexico City Airport Hotel opens in May and is aimed at the business traveler. It has 19 properties in Mexico, with nine more scheduled to open by 2016. And the new DoubleTree by Hilton near the Mexico City Airport opens next fall. Hilton Worldwide has 23 hotels and resorts in Mexico. It is planning a 35% expansion.[CUT]
Even after periods in which hotel rooms went vacant and cruise ships canceled port calls, tourism picked up at the end of 2011. The government believes 2012 will be a record for the sector, which accounts for 9% of GDP. Expedia says it has seen a surge in travelers to Mexico from emerging markets. They are travelers who like to spend. The average Russian will stay nine nights compared with an American's three and a half. And whereas the American might spend $1,000 a week, the Russian will drop that in a day on spa treatments at Le Blanc and the wine cellars of Cancun, says Gloria Guevara, Mexico's tourism secretary.