Cancun, already well-known as a particularly enticing meetings location and the most-popular leisure destination in Mexico, is expanding into the exhibition and medical markets with the opening of CancunMesse convention center.

Located 10 miles from Cancun International Airport, CancunMesse offers 200,000 square feet of indoor exhibition space and 10,000 square feet of outdoor space that can be used for gatherings.

The new facility will augment Cancun’s reputation as a resort destination by adding some serious space targeting two lucrative segments of the meetings industry.

“This is a great opportunity for us to diversify,” says Fernando Cervantes, director of groups and conventions for the Cancun CVB.

Plans for CancunMesse include adding additional meeting space in the coming months, making it the largest convention center in Latin America upon completion.

CancunMesse was designed with large fairs, congresses, exhibits and cultural events exclusively in mind, and will significantly increase flexibility and provide a more optimal ceiling height for expos and trade shows.

“We are already well positioned in the incentive and corporate markets, and now the sky is the limit with the new exhibition center,” Cervantes says.

The Cancun CVB hopes the new center will attract a growing number of international trade shows and medical conferences.

Cancun, Mexico

Getting there: The Cancun International Airport handles the second-largest volume of air traffic in the nation after Mexico City. Flights are available from most major U.S. cities. Visitors must go through international customs upon arrival, with a variety of secure transportation to hotels and meetings venues available on-site.


These additional visitors will be able to enjoy the renowned historic sites and growing number of attractions in Cancun, followed by some relaxation on the sun-bathed product of the city’s $71 million beach restoration project, which replenished sand and added width to beaches throughout the hotel zone.

Offshore, Jason deCaires Taylor’s impressive underwater sculpture project, which began in 2009, has already proven very popular with groups. An easy 10-minute boat ride from the mainland and hotel zone, excursions to the underwater museum can be arranged by any of the professional DMCs in Cancun.

Cervantes also touted the emergence of Cancun as a prominent golf destination, and with 13 signature courses the city offers more golfing opportunities than Cabo San Lucas. Two additional courses will be ready for play by the end of 2012, bringing the total to 15 and further establishing Cancun as a haven for golfers.

The only hotel property with an 18-hole golf course on-site, the former Hilton Cancun, was purchased earlier this year by Spanish hotelier Iberostar and is undergoing an extensive property remodel. Planned to re-open in December 2011, Iberostar Cancun will be all-inclusive and is the brand’s ninth Mexican property.

The 426-room waterfront hotel complex houses a 49,000-square-foot convention center, which is divisible into 22 different meeting space configurations.