Tourism to Macau is very big business. The Macau Government Tourism Office (MGTO) announced on Wednesday January 23rd that 35.8 million stopover and day tourists visited Macau in 2018, an increase of 9.8 percent over 2017.
On average, 98,092 visitors arrived in Macau every day last year.
According to official statistics, overnight visitors accounted for 18.5 million visitors (51.6 percent of the total number of visitor arrivals), up 7.2 percent compared with 2017. The number of same-day visitors rose by 12.7 percent.
Visitors’ average length of stay remained unchanged year-on-year at 1.2 days. On average, overnight visitors stayed for 2.2 days.
91% of visitors were from mainland China, Hong Kong, and Taiwan.
Mainlanders, Hongkongers and Taiwanese accounted for 70.5 percent, 17.6 percent and 2.9 percent of all visitor arrivals last year, up 13.8 percent, 2.6 percent and 0.1 percent respectively. The three Chinese regions accounted for 91 percent of Macau’s total number of visitor arrivals last year.
South Korea continued to be Macau’s number one source of foreign visitors, rising 7.0% to 812,842 visitors, or 2.3% of all visitor arrivals.
A total of 201,810 US citizens visited Macau last year, up 8.3%. Each of the other foreign visitor segments remained under the 100,000 threshold.
Guangdong residents made up 41.6% of the total number of mainlanders who visited Macau last year.
Following the opening of the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Bridge bridge on October 24 last year, 1.05 million visitors entered Macau via the mega-bridge, the point of entry which received the second largest number of visitors during the period.
The Zhuhai-Macau Barrier Gate land-border checkpoint handled 18.2 million visitor arrivals last year, a year-on-year growth of 13.2%. In total, 22.15 million visitors arrived by land.
In the wake of the opening of the delta bridge, the number of visitor arrivals by sea fell 7.8% to 10.3 million last year.
Some 3.29 million visitors arrived by plane or helicopter, up 20.1%.
A total of 3.56 million visitors arrived last month, up 16.9% year-on-year and 9.3% month-to-month, hitting a new monthly record. On average, 115,155 visitors arrived in Macau in December.
A forecast of an increase in visitor arrivals of 5 or 6 percent was announced for 2019, or about 38 million visitors.
According to the Cayman Islands Department of Tourism, the Cayman Islands saw the volume of stopover arrivals increase by 5.3% in December 2018, growing from 49,403 arrivals in December 2017 to 52,017 arrivals in December 2018. Stopover arrivals from the USA grew by 6.8%, from 38,321 in December 2017 to 40,923 in December 2018. Cruise arrivals fell by 11.9%, from 221,634 cruise visitors in December 2017 to 195,338 cruise visitors in December 2018.
In calendar year 2018 the Cayman Islands saw a 10.6% increase in the volume of stopover arrivals, growing from 418,403 arrivals in 2017 to 463,001 arrivals in 2018. Arrivals from the USA increased by 13.0% in 2018, growing from 340,955 arrivals in 2017 to 385,319 arrivals in 2018. The number of cruise visitors increased by 11.1% in 2018, growing from 1,728,444 cruise visitors in 2017 to 1,920,967 visitors in 2018.
Sabre Corporation (NASDAQ: SABR), the leading technology provider to the global travel industry, today released a study in partnership with TrendWatching, global consumer trends and insights experts, which reveals the top consumer trends that will shape the hospitality industry in 2019 and beyond.
"The hospitality industry is always reinventing itself, constantly adapting to the changing expectations of travelers," said Clinton Anderson, president of Sabre Hospitality Solutions. "As a result, digital transformation has become a rising priority for hoteliers due to its ability to generate more targeted, personalized offers. Ultimately, shifts in how individuals interact with technology, brands and even space translate directly into new, untapped opportunities for hoteliers. As a trusted partner to the hospitality industry, Sabre is committed to providing hoteliers with the most innovative technology solutions that will drive revenue, and to identifying the trends that will influence consumer behavior in the future," he added.
While time-pressed travelers may wish to avoid other people during their stay, others will welcome companionship – even in virtual form. Travelers deeply accustomed to digital assistants, chatbots and more will look to the next evolution of artificial intelligence. They will seek out virtual personalities that have the power to entertain, educate and befriend. The presence of virtual digital assistants has grown incrementally since 2011 and shows no sign of stopping.
Traditional brick-and-mortar retailers are expanding into hospitality – building immersive brand experiences for their customers – providing an entirely new breed of competition for traditional players, while delighting loyal fans. Social media feeds have become saturated with picture-perfect travel snapshots of branded lifestyles, and as a result, consumers have ever-higher standards when shopping. Brands hold the capacity of reaching overstimulated customers by launching unique partnerships to cut through the noise in unexpected locations.
Using their devices to summon a "magic point-of-sale," travelers can engage with establishments, browse products, test and purchase in innovative new ways. Smart brands are using technology to gain rich data on consumer preferences and habits, and are leveraging innovative channels like these to reach them in the right place, at the right time. Globally, the augmented reality (AR) market hit $1.1 billion in 2018 and is expected to reach $7.9 billion by 2023. The maturing of virtual reality (VR) and AR revolutionizes how and where consumers shop and engage with brands.
The proliferation of on-demand services and co-working environments are transforming expectations around work and travel. A growing cohort of professionals are making travel their main priority by becoming digital nomads. The explosion in gig economy and freelancing platforms indicate that consumers are embracing alternative lifestyles that don't tie them down to a specific company, location, or even daily schedule.
Download the full report here: http://bit.ly/2QSuouB.
According to the Jamaica Tourist Board, Jamaica saw the volume of stopover arrivals increase by 5.1% in November 2018, growing from 187,062 arrivals in November 2017 to 196,546 arrivals in November 2018. Stopover arrivals from the USA grew by 9.0%, from 114,618 visitors in November 2017 to 124,886 visitors in November 2018. Cruise arrivals decreased by 26.1%, from 234,643 cruise visitors in November 2017 to 173,291 cruise visitors in November 2018.
Through the first eleven months of 2018 Jamaica saw a 5.3% increase in the volume of stopover arrivals, growing from 2,101,115 stopover arrivals in the first eleven months of 2017 to 2,211,580 arrivals in the same eleven months of 2018. Arrivals from the USA increased by 7.9% in the first eleven months of 2018, growing from 1,353,303 arrivals in 2017 to 1,460,039 arrivals in the same eleven months of 2018. The number of cruise visitors decreased by 5.6% in the first eleven months of 2018, falling from 1,715,062 cruise visitors in 2017 to 1,619,329 cruise visitors in 2018.
There was a time when the stigma of all-inclusive resorts was strong enough to hurt any destination that opened one up. After all, all-inclusive resorts were widely perceived as budget-friendly, cookie-cutter resorts in the mainstream, totally on-the-beaten-path destinations.
But now that most consumers have seen firsthand that “luxury” and “all-inclusive” can, in fact, be used in the same sentence, the presence of high-end, value-packed, all-inclusive hotels now helps a destination garner a reputation for being trendy and on the rise.
“As a Caribbean specialist, I'm asked all the time about all-inclusive resorts on islands that purposefully do not offer an all-inclusive property, like Grand Cayman, or those who only have all-inclusives that target a certain market, i.e. Turks and Caicos, which could really use an adults-only all-inclusive in the mix,” said Lindsey Epperly, owner of Epperly Travel in Atlanta, Georgia. “The collective response in destinations like this, from locals and those in the tourism industry alike, is that an all-inclusive would take away from the overall luxury aspect of the island and compete with the local restaurant economy.”
TravelPulse recently chatted with Epperly and other top-notch advisors about what destinations would benefit from an all-inclusive resort and which ones need to upgrade its current all-inclusive resort offerings. Here’s what they had to say.
“I’ve lately been seeing a trend where my clients want more exotic destinations like Barbados, St. Lucia, Antigua, Grenada, the U.S. Virgin Islandsand St. Kitts," said Emily Bertsch, a Caribbean specialist with VIP Vacations, Inc. in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. “A well-known, all-inclusive brand can really help drive business to an island. Most of those exotic destinations have some all-inclusive resorts, like the Sandals brand, but not everyone can afford a Sandals budget. I think another well-known resort brand, like a Secrets [Resorts & Spas], Dreams [Resorts & Spas], Riu [Hotels], Iberostar [Hotels & Resorts] or Barcelo [Hotels & Resorts], could really benefit from looking into some property in these destinations."
“Puerto Rico is also another destination where a lot of my clients are looking for an all-inclusive," added Bertsch, "so I’m very excited for the Dreams resort that will be opening there as I think it will be a very popular option once it opens.”
However, Bertsch might have to be a bit patient. Back in June, after years of waiting for Puerto Rico to open its first all-inclusive resort, it was announced that the traveling public will have to wait a little longer.
AMResorts planned a Dreams Resorts & Spas property that was supposed to open sometime this year in Puerto Rico joins the long list of hotels to suffer a setback due to last year’s hurricane season.
Javier Coll, executive vice president and chief strategy officer of Apple Leisure Group (ALG), the parent company of AMResorts, told TravelPulse back in June that the “project is facing a significant delay due to some permits that haven’t been approved yet.”
Coll said at the time that Hurricane Maria hitting the island in 2017 made this process more challenging because the involved government offices were closed for a long time. While ALG waited for them to reopen, one of the permits ALG already had expired and had to be renewed, said Coll. When the hotel opens, it will represent the destination’s only all-inclusive.
Although agents are excited to see an all-inclusive hotel in Puerto Rico, the Cayman Islands is arguably the Caribbean destination without an all-inclusive that can use one the most.
After all, the destination, specifically Grand Cayman, is home to some of the hottest resorts in the region from the Kimpton Seafire Resort + Spa to Margaritaville Beach Resort Grand Cayman to The Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman.
This has long been a destination for the client who is willing to pay up for quality accommodations and service, so a luxury all-inclusive here would make perfect sense. Millennial brands like Karisma Hotels & Resorts and AMResorts would certainly make a nice fit.
In fact, Rosa Harris, director of tourism for the Cayman Islands, has told media in the past that the destination is actively pursuing an all-inclusive resort.
However, Harris also said at the time that the ultimate plan would be to have an all-inclusive resort on the destination’s lesser-known Cayman Brac. She also said she would like to see one on the more mainstream island of Grand Cayman.
When it comes to the U.S., Hawaii tourism officials have always taken the stance that an all-inclusive product in the destination would keep many tourists from dining around the island. In fact, this is a common concern amongst destinations that don’t have an all-inclusive and was actually Puerto Rico’s reason for not having any all-inclusive resorts before it eventually decided to go forward with the Dreams plans.
“I have seen very well-done, four-star all-inclusive properties, like the Excellence [Resorts] brand, and impeccable five-star all-inclusive properties, like Grand Velas Resorts throughout Mexico, or high-end, boutique all-inclusive hotels, like Curtain Bluff or Hermitage Bay in Antigua, that require additional education and evidence to convince a traveler that they will not be among the masses of a party scene and tainted alcohol, which I believe has now become synonymous with all-inclusives,” said Epperly.
However, as far as Hawaii goes, there are still a host of agents like Anthony Tucker, vice president and general manager at the All Inclusive Outlet in Georgetown, Kentucky, who think the all-inclusive model doesn’t fit in Hawaii or the U.S. mainland.
“I think that for the U.S. market, in general, all-inclusives work where the destination is beautiful, but also where travelers do not have a strong desire to go out of their way to explore. For example, most people are not going to rent a car in Cancun, Dominican Republic or Jamaica,” said Tucker. “That is not a commentary on safety, but with familiarity and confidence in their travels. In general, most of the time travelers going off-property are to the pre-arranged excursions such as shopping, adventure parks, dolphin swimming, etc.
“However, in a place like Florida or Hawaii, the all-inclusive concept has been tried and we've had a hard time moving considerable business, in my opinion, due to two factors: one, the price, of course, is higher for U.S. based properties, but also two, how familiar Americans are with getting out and do things elsewhere on their own.”
As far as U.S. territories go, the U.S. Virgin Islands has an all-inclusive presence on the island, but many agents are clamoring for a more high-end, all-inclusive experience.
“We always get asked for the [U.S.] Virgin Islands, but many times, when the client hears they don’t have [many] all-inclusive resorts, we look elsewhere,” said Michael McHugh, co-owner of Dream Makers Vacation Services.
Like the U.S. Virgin Islands, Aruba also has some all-inclusive resorts but the experts we spoke to would like to see more.
“As a honeymoon specialist, I would love to see Aruba step up their all-inclusive game. There are a few all-inclusives on the island, but I’d love to see a Sandals or Excellence property break ground over there," said Bailie White, owner of BE The Travel in Lansing Michigan.
And as Epperly previously mentioned, Turks and Caicos is home to arguably the Caribbean’s best family all-inclusive resort in the form of Beaches Turks and Caicos, but other advisors like her would love to see this luxury island open up a five-star, adults-only, all-inclusive hotel or even a budget-friendly, all-inclusive option for couples.
“Turks and Caicos could use more all-inclusive resorts. Families and singles who want to stay in an all-inclusive are looking for value,” said Ashley Hughes of TravelSmiths in Point Pleasant, New Jersey. “Beaches offers a ton of value, but not everyone needs all the bells and whistles that Beaches offers and has the budget for Beaches. They need something more mid-tier that singles, families and couples can enjoy.”
According to Visit Orlando, Orlando saw the volume of air visitors increase by 10.0% in November 2018, growing from 3,904,940 air visitors in November 2017 to 4,297,301 air visitors in November 2018.
According to STR Orlando had 128,000 hotel rooms in November 2018 and achieved an average city-wide room occupancy of 73.3% (down 5.2 percentage points compared with November 2017), and an ADR of $120.71, (up 2.5% compared with November 2017).
Through the first eleven months of 2018 Orlando saw a 6.8% increase in the volume of air visitors, growing from 43,276,630 air arrivals in the first eleven months of 2017 to 46,240,720 air visitors in the same eleven months of 2018.
Orlando achieved an average city-wide room occupancy of 77.9% in the first eleven months of 2018 (down 1.6 percentage points compared with the first eleven months of 2017), and an ADR of $127.08, (up 5.1% compared with the same eleven months of 2017).
In the Caribbean, an area of the world that’s more dependent on tourism than any other region across the globe, coral reef-adjacent tourism generates a staggering $7.9 billion annually.
That translates into about 23 percent of all tourism spending in the region and is equivalent to more than 10 percent of the Caribbean’s gross domestic product, according to a new report from JetBlue created in partnership with The Nature Conservancy, an organization focused on conserving the lands and waters on which all life depends.
Concerningly, however, coral reef health is diminishing from impacts such as pollution and climate change.
“Scientific evidence shows that living corals in the Caribbean have declined over 60 percent in just the last three decades alone,” stated Dr. Luis Solórzano, executive director of The Nature Conservancy in the Caribbean, as part of the new report, entitled “Estimating Reef-Adjacent Tourism Value in the Caribbean.”
Created with the support of Microsoft and the World Travel & Tourism Council, the newly issued study focuses on the connection between natural resources and tourism. The innovative study used machine learning and artificial intelligence to quantify the significant value that reefs contribute to the Caribbean economy through reef-adjacent activities such as sailing, diving and snorkeling.
“This study proves the relationship between healthy coral reefs and tourism, and the overall financial stability of the Caribbean. It’s time for conservation organizations like The Nature Conservancy and the tourism industry to work together on solutions to conserve the region’s resources,” said Sophia Mendelsohn, head of sustainability and environmental, social governance, JetBlue.
This is the second such study funded by JetBlue to measure the correlation between Caribbean ecosystems and travel industry revenue. The first report EcoEarnings: A Shore Thing, was issued in 2015.
The airline has a vested interest in ensuring the long-term health of the region and its tourism economy. The Caribbean and Latin America account for one-third of JetBlue’s flying operations.
The Nature Conservancy has begun deploying innovative solutions to protect and restore coral reefs throughout the region, but its executive director stressed that efforts must move faster if they are to outpace the current rate of degradation and increasing threats to coral reefs.
“Millions of people in the Caribbean depend on coral reefs as a source of livelihood, and the region is known as paradise to so many travelers from around the globe,” said Solórzano. “It is our responsibility to protect the natural wonders, like coral reefs, that sustain both the Caribbean economy and tourism alike.”
Solórzano is not alone in his concerns.
“A more sustainable future depends upon our ability to better model, monitor and manage natural resources like coral reefs, and that will require human ingenuity paired with AI,” said Dr. Lucas Joppa, chief environmental officer at Microsoft.
The study’s additional key findings include:
—The Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico, where JetBlue is the largest airline to both islands, benefit from tourist spending of more than $1 billion per year. This tourism revenue is directly linked to reefs.
--The Bahamas , Cayman Islands and Puerto Rico receive more than one million visitors per year whose visits are directly linked to coral reefs.
—The top 10 percent highest-value reef areas each generate more than $5.7 million and 7,000 visitors per square kilometer per year. These reefs are scattered in almost every country and territory in the region and have a large proportion of high-value reefs, each with an average spend value equal to over $3 million per square kilometer per year.
—The countries most dependent on reef-adjacent tourism include many small island nations and JetBlue destinations, like Antigua and Barbuda, Bermuda and St. Maarten, where there may be relatively few alternative sources of income outside of reef-associated tourism.
—Only 35 percent of Caribbean reefs are positioned where they do not draw revenue for the region’s tourism sector, indicating that there are little to no options to expand reef-associated activities to new areas. Most of the reefs not used for tourism are in remote locations.
The new report also outlines a variety of potential threats to tourism in the Caribbean including climate change. As for coral reefs, they face additional threats as well including overfishing, pollution, and coastal development.
With tourism being an essential pillar of all Caribbean economies, depletion of the region's natural resources could lead to economic and social risks, states the report.
With that in mind, the report suggests tourism-associated businesses, including cruise lines, airlines, and hotels seize the opportunity to work together and continue to invest in protecting the region’s environmental health.
In response to the study, JetBlue is donating 50 flights to The Nature Conservancy for scientists to travel to the region to further research and help conserve coral reefs.
Cuba intends to close 2019 with 5.1 million foreign visitors, representing its twelfth year of growth, predicted Tourism Minister Manuel Marrero.
According to the Minister, 2018 will close with 4.75 million tourists, 850,000 of whom will have traveled on regular cruises.
In December 2018, Marrero said there was an accumulated growth of six percent in the number of visitors, which reversed the decrease experienced after Hurricane Irma early in the high season of 2017.
Although an effort had been made to have hotel facilities ready to receive vacationers, impressions of damage caused by the weather event continued, he said.
Besides, measures taken by President Donald Trump's administration to tighten the U.S. blockade against Cuba and some inefficiencies in the sector also contributed to the lower visitor arrivals, he added.
U.S. tourism stopped its decline in November 2018 and is currently up 47 percent, much of which is the result of increased cruise activity.
Marrero also considered that though 2019 could be a serious challenge for the sector, the more than five million tourists will represent a growth of 7.4 percent.
He also emphasized, for the first time, it is estimated that tourism incomes exceed three billion dollars, an increase of 17 percent. Regarding investments, the Minister said that thanks to the introduction of a new business modality in hotel management and marketing contracts, including financing, the emblematic Riviera and Habana Libre hotels in Havana could be revived.
The official acknowledged that for Havana, the development of high standard tourism is being boosted with five-star facilities such as the recently opened Iberostar Grand Packard and the Prado y Malecon, scheduled to open in late 2019.
Havana has 12,000 rooms, with 44 percent in the two and three-star categories, and there is an associated market for those businesspeople needing more comfort, he remarked.
Regarding the upcoming May celebration of the International Tourism Fair, FitCuba 2019, industry authorities in Havana expect to recover 1,121 rooms currently out of service and the opening of 12 new accommodation facilities.
The minister stressed that 36 hotels are being built throughout the country, adding, in the mid-term, some 18,000 new rooms to the more than 65,000 already existing in the island.
Another year means a spate of new hotels opening across the globe. South of the border, Mexico remains a popular destination for visitors looking for everything from a sun-soaked, relaxing beach getaway on either coast, to the gastronomic delights to be found in Mexico City’s sprawl, and cultural excursions galore in towns like San Miguel de Allende. In short, planning a trip to Mexico is going to be more exciting than ever in 2019, and these gorgeous new hotels are a major part of that.
Hotel Amparo, San Miguel de Allende: January 2019
Though tiny, the mountain town of San Miguel de Allende has quietly become Mexico’s cultural capital thanks to breathtaking colonial architecture, a mouthwatering restaurant scene and its collection of over 100 museums and galleries. This January, the city will also profit from the opening of a luxury five-suite inn called Hotel Amparo from the owners of Hibiscus Linens, Taylor Goodall and Mariana Barran de Goodall. The hotel was designed to be a residential-style getaway, yet is tucked away in the heart of the city near the central square of El Jardín. The building itself dates back over three centuries and was, at one time, the mayor’s private residence. The colorful redecoration by Texas-based designer Aaron Rambo highlights the colonial-era elements of the edifice while incorporating a mix of internationally sourced mid-century furnishings. Guests can also expect custom-made bedding, towels and linens from Hibiscus Linens. The hotel will feature a high-end coffee bar and a rooftop wine bar with an emphasis on natural wines. Rates will start at $325 per night including accommodation, breakfast, happy hour and an evening dessert hour.
Zadún, A Ritz-Carlton Reserve: Spring 2019
Los Cabos, on the southern tip of Mexico’s Baja Peninsula, is experiencing a hotel boom of its own lately, with high-profile resorts opening right and left, including the Montage Los Cabos. Perhaps most exciting, Ritz-Carlton will open only its fourth Reserve Collection location on the shore of the Sea of Cortez this spring. The resort will have just 115 rooms, suites, and villas starting at a spacious 807 square feet, all with dedicated butler service, ocean-view terraces and desert-inspired décor with beachy elements thrown in. Some will also offer private plunge pools. Though details are still scarce, the hotel will also field several high-end restaurants, a spa with a menu of locally inspired, customizable treatments, and access to a 27-hole golf resort with three courses designed by Greg Norman and Jack Nicklaus.
Nobu Hotel Los Cabos: April 2019
Partners Robert De Niro and celebrity chef Nobu Matsuhisa have been rapidly expanding their hospitality empire of restaurants and hotels lately, including the expected spring debut of this luxury hotel in Cabo. The beachfront resort will be just west of the town of Cabo San Lucas, but insulated from its party scene by a long stretch of beach and a golf course. It will comprise 200 rooms in all, with a look that is equal parts Baja desert and Japanese elegance – think wooden soaking tubs, teak furnishings and stone floors as well as Japanese lantern-like lighting fixtures. The guiding aesthetic is described as “Japanese beach house.” Of course, the dining outlets will be helmed by Chef Nobu, and signature dishes like yellowtail sashimi with jalapeno, and miso black cod are sure to be on hand. The resort’s Asian-inspired spa will include a unique outdoor hydrotherapy garden with a water circuit and a Watsu pool plus treatments incorporating Natura Bissé products. Opening rates start at around $500 per night.
Atelier and Estudio Playa Mujeres: Mid-2019
This all-suite resort is a dual project. The Estudio component is a luxury all-inclusive family resort while the Atelier portion is for adults only (guests must be over 16 years old). The look blends contemporary sleekness with a colorful Caribbean vibe. Suites feature garden, golf course, pool or ocean views, while some swim-up categories include direct pool access. Atelier specifically will have 431 suites and six restaurants, including María Dolores for seven-course tasting menus, Takeshi for Asian cuisine, and El Trompo by the pool for snacks and tacos. Estudio’s restaurants will include a buffet at El Consentido, upscale Italian at Cala di Luna, and Japanese at Kobai. Guests at both resorts can access an 18-hole golf course and the on-property Nuup Spa for treatments inspired by the healing power of water and traditional, local techniques.
Four Seasons Resort Los Cabos at Costa Palmas: Mid-2019
Cabo can expect a third luxury resort to open on its shores toward the middle of the year. Set along two miles of shoreline on the Sea of Cortez, the Four Seasons Resort Los Cabos at Costa Palmas will have 145 guest accommodations, including 35 suites, all of which will offer sea views. There will be three bars and restaurants at the resort, four swimming pools, a Four Seasons Spa with 14 treatment rooms including two couple’s suites and an expansive fitness complex. The property will also boast a 250-slip marina and an 18-hole golf course designed by Robert Trent Jones II.
Perhaps most attractive of all, the beach here is swimmable – a rarity in Cabo – thanks to its location on the eastern cape. During stays, guests can explore the UNIESCO-listed Cabo Pulmo national Marine Park, visit the on-property organic farm, and take cultural tours to nearby villages.
La Casa de la Playa, Riviera Maya: Summer 2019
Following up on the success of Xcaret Hotel, which opened in 2017, Grupo Experiencias Xcaret plans to open a second boutique property at Destino Xcaret on the Mexico’s Riviera Maya this summer. The new, all-adult Casa de la Playa will comprise just 63 suites with private plunge pools. The hotel will also have four restaurants, two pools, a spa, a mezcaleria for tastings and gifts, a chocolate shop, a wine cellar, and a library. The new resort is expected to expand on Xcaret’s All-Fun Inclusive program, which includes extras like airport transfers, unique culinary experiences, area tours and access to the five parks on the property. The Destino Xcaret development encompasses 915 acres and will eventually include 6,000 hotel rooms, a stadium and arena, a convention center and a 1.2-mile river promenade with shops, entertainment and dining spaces.
And for a 2020 bonus…
Nickelodeon Resort, Riviera Maya: 2020
Families looking for laidback fun in the sun should enjoy this wacky entertainment brand’s first Mexico property (in partnership with Karisma Hotels & Resorts), which is scheduled to open toward the middle of the year on the lush shores of the Riviera Maya. It will have 276 swim-up oceanfront suites and four themed Penthouses on the six-tory building’s top floors. One will be designed around a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles motif, while another will take SpongeBob SquarePants as its inspiration. All four will have private infinity pools and ocean views. Overall, the anchor of the resort will be a 500,000-square-foot activity area called Aqua Nick, which will include a lazy river, splash park, waterslide and a watery playground for toddlers and young children. Beloved Nickelodeon characters including those turtles and SpongeBob as well as Dora the Explorer will make appearances throughout the day, while families can also enjoy entertainment extravaganzas at the Mainstage theater. The hotel will have a fitness center and spa offering treatments for adults and kids alike. Among the dining options will be a Mexican cantina called Espadin, the seafood-focused Yacht Club, and two swim-up bars, among others.
According to the Central Bank of the Dominican Republic, the Dominican Republic saw the volume of non-resident stopover arrivals increase by 5.1% in December, growing from 626,755 arrivals in December 2017 to 659,008 arrivals in December 2018. Stopover arrivals from the USA grew by 7.7%, from 181,141 arrivals in December 2017 to 195,173 arrivals in December 2018.
During calendar year 2018 the Dominican Republic saw a 6.2% increase in the volume of stopover arrivals, growing from 6,187,542 arrivals in 2017 to 6,568,888 arrivals in calendar year 2018. Arrivals from the USA increased by 8.8% in 2018, growing from 2,146,448 arrivals in 2017 to 2,334,987 arrivals in calendar year 2018.
Jim Hepple is an Assistant Professor at the University of Aruba and is Managing Director of Tourism Analytics.