The idea of experiential travel has taken a hold on the general tourism industry as well as the meetings and incentives market, as planners aim to engage meeting and incentive groups. In step with that trend, Mexico offers a wide range of options for memorable group experiences, whether at a coastal beach destination or an inland city or town.
“Mexico is a great destination for meeting planners looking to treat their groups to immersive and unique experiential programs,” said Selene Salas Gonzalez, meetings and conventions director for Guerrero’s state tourism office. “In addition to offering top-notch facilities that cater to meetings of all different sizes, it is a destination brimming with culture, folklore, gastronomy, nature, history and a plethora of added values that have been developed for groups, making each event an extraordinary experience.”
Ella Messerli, general manager of Hotel El Ganzo in Los Cabos, agrees about the value of immersive and experiential group activities.
“A new generation of groups are arriving to Mexico, and they are now more curious than ever about our heritage, community and traditions,” she said. “Mexico is a place of great cultural value, and Mexicans are proud to share these customs with visitors.”
Maile Johnston, destination marketing manager of Mayakoba, the resort complex on the Caribbean coast, praised the wide diversity of options available for planners.
“The destination as a whole is extremely diverse, with no shortage of dynamic locations to choose from,” she said. “From big cities to sugar-sand beaches, lush mangrove forests, jungle-clad mountains and ancient ruins, Mexico continues to be a hot spot for personal and business travel.”
Planners should make the most of the diverse possibilities, according to David Manzella, senior vice president of sales and marketing at Fiesta Americana Hotels and Resorts.
Around Mexico, he said, “Each area offers distinctive immersive options that allow attendees to connect with the setting they are in. It may be interacting with the local community who share their historic traditions with the group, or an activity that allows participants to connect with the natural landscape. Mexico offers numerous options.”
Arts and Culture
Mexico offers a wealth of opportunities for groups to dive deep into the nation’s rich culture and artistic traditions. As the nation’s largest city and cultural hub, Mexico City is a logical choice for planners looking to expose groups to unique activities.
Among the local companies that cater to groups is Street Art Chilango, which offers customized private art walks in the trendy Roma and Condesa districts. Mexico Cultural Travel, meanwhile, specializes in group tours focused on modern and contemporary art, history, architecture and design-focused tours in the capital and other cities, including Guadalajara, Oaxaca, San Miguel de Allende and Merida.
Also noteworthy are the options from a company called Context Travel, which offers a private guided tour in Mexico City called Frida and Diego: A Lover’s Story, during which groups are joined by an art historian or artist as they learn about the lives of the destination’s most world-famous artists, Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera. Included are guided visits to the Frida Kahlo Museum and Casa Estudio Diego Rivera y Frida Kahlo, the former home of both artists.
The historic and industrial city of Puebla is another rewarding place for groups to meet and enjoy culture.
“In addition to a well-developed tourism infrastructure, Puebla has activities for people who want to know more about culture and traditions,” said Alejandro Canedo Priesca, secretary of municipal tourism for the city of Puebla. “You can find workshops, customized visits and classes led by teachers and local artisans in their own work spaces.”
Among the options: visits to a Talavera tile factory, a workshop to make Day of the Dead “catrina” skeleton decorations, as well as glassblowing demonstrations and classes.