Sometimes it's easy to overlook some incentive travel destinations and perhaps Mexico is one of those at the moment. However, there are now some very good reasons why it, and the Mayan Riviera specifically, could, maybe should, appear on your radar ...
Following the swine flu outbreak, Mexico suffered as visitors of all types stayed away. Incentive travel options from the UK were always hampered by a lack of direct access and so it may have fallen off the radar. However, new access and a bid to rebuild business means there is good value to be had for groups of all types.
Incentive Travel – Mexican Style
Cancun, popular with honeymooners and the holiday market, is the entry point and not necessarily the destination. Along the coast, between Cancun and Carrillo Puerto, is the Mayan Riviera, 75km of gorgeous coastline that has all the ingredients to deliver a stunning programme that will live long in the memory of all delegates.
Located on the tip of the Yucatán peninsula in south-east Mexico, Cancun and the Riviera is within touching distance of Cuba. Historically the area had much to do with the Caribbean and, being the home of Mayan civilisation (a version of Mayan is still spoken in places), it has developed a rich culture all of its own. It is also geographically unique – it was once an enormous coral reef that became exposed during the ice age, since when enormous caves have formed and become partially flooded with the rise in sea levels.
Why the Mayan Riviera should go on your shortlist
Here are some quick facts about the area and why we reckon it is now a powerful contender again for incentive groups.
Is now greatly improved – BA now operate a 777 direct from Gatwick twice a week reaching Cancun in 11 hours, and with excellent transfer times of between 30 minutes and an hour, the Riviera and all that it offers is within very easy reach.
LATEST UPDATE - 20.6.11: Virgin Atlantic plan to operate twice a weekly service between London Gatwick and Cancun on Tuesdays and Saturdays. The service will begin on 12 June 2012 and flying Virgin's Boeing 747-400.
The Yucatán peninsula is the home of the Maya and the area is rich in historic sites and insights into an ancient civilisation. Set apart geographically from the rest of Mexico by tropical forest, the trading history has been primarily by sea and a diverse mix of cultures have influenced present day Yucatán.
Cancun and the Riviera have a wonderful selection of hotels, catering for almost every group type and budget. One's we particularly like are:
- The Ritz Carlton in Cancun – a perfect base to experience the wider Yucatán area and very convenient.
- The Banyan Tree Mayakoba – an idyllic, private pool, villa resort that will be reward enough for most top performers.
- Fairmont Mayakoba – on the Mayakoba resort as well this is Yucatán but in private!
Where to start! With beautiful beach and coastal areas, four eco-parks and backed by tropical forests and a remarkable underground cave system, the range of activities and excursions is very large indeed. Take your pick from: dolphins, turtles, diving, snorkelling, kayaking – sea, lagoon and river, cliff diving, horse-riding, forest trips, subterranean exploration (the Yucatán 'cenotes' can be explored on foot, by boat or diving), golf, silent boat trips, driving excursions, archaeology and much, much more.
If you have a corporate social responsibility policy then there is great scope to help out a unique area with a unique ecosystem.
With the recovery from the swine flu issues and a desire to attract more incentive groups back there are plenty of deals to done, plus the peso has currently gained around 10% in value compared to pre-Christmas levels.
And did you know?
One rather big thing you may not be aware of – Yucatán is where you'll find Chicxulub and the remains of an absolutely massive impact crater. One that resulted in the mass extinction of the dinosaurs!