Most recently, the 2018 opening of the International Convention Center (CIC) Powered by Samsung with its 10,000 m² (107,670 ft²) of state-of-the-art space, as well as a spate of new hotel openings nearby, including an NH Collection property on the Paseo de Montejo, have put the city top-of-mind with international meeting planners. And this year’s $11.5-million, top-to-bottom renovation and expansion of the Yucatan Siglo XXI Convention Center was the icing on the cake: The investment makes it the ninth-largest venue in the country at 23,000 m² (247,570 ft²). When paired with the ICC, there’s no doubt Yucatan is more than ready to compete for any large-scale international event.
Another key component that is placing the state on the world map as a meetings powerhouse is the Yucatan Meetings project, responsible for managing the two centers and marketing the state as a meetings destination around the globe. Part of that project was the definition of a Distrito de Congresos, or Conventions District, located just 20 minutes from the Merida International Airport near the iconic Paso de Montejo. The district is comprised of the CIC and encompasses over 2,000 hotel rooms within a radius of 600 m (approx. .5 mi) as well as the main corridor of the city’s Historical Center, giving attendees access to an ample program of cultural activities year-round, restaurants, bars, museums, and other historical sites.
Cutting-edge venues, excellent accommodations, and unique cultural and culinary offerings are only part of Yucatan’s appeal: experts also point to the state’s strategic geographic location, superb connectivity by land and air, and extraordinary archaeological and natural attractions. It’s clearly a winning mix that was been reflected in the notable growth of the state’s meetings segment: In 2019, the meetings sector reported a total of 228 meetings and conventions held in Merida, and a total of 122,733 industry participants across the state, an increase of 46.9% over the number registered for 2018. Most recently, the city made headlines as the host of top international events such as the 17th World Summit of the Nobel Peace Prize Laureates in 2019 and will continue to be at the forefront of the international meetings industry as the host of the massive 45 th Tianguis Turístico tourism trade show in March of this year, to be held in the renovated Yucatán Siglo XXI Convention Center.
According to SEFOTUR, the state’s Ministry of Tourism Development, all indications are that the meetings segment will continue to grow, bolstered by the venues and infrastructure, the professionalization of its service providers, and the continued targeted marketing of the destination.