Another Day in Paradise magazine

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Archives: Volume 5 - Issue 32 - March 2004
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Business in Paradise
by Lee Kraft

Most of Mexico’s tourism destinations cater to massive market wholesalers and the hotel managers end up giving away their allotments at rates so low, its just about impossible to make a decent profit. Increasingly, the discussions at board, marketing and sales meetings revolve around the question whom to cater to, the charter, FIT or group segments. A good mix, of course, is the solution. Getting the perfect combination of different segments, however, is easier said than done. It requires vision, long term commitment to the strategy – whatever this strategy might be – creativity and, of course, constant public relations and sales efforts. Not to forget: the right product.

A destination that has the right product in Mexico, without doubt, is Ixtapa-Zihuatanejo. Blending into the lush green backdrop of the Sierra Madre, our tranquil resort lies along a hilly tropical coastline with dozens of white sandy beaches: a paradise that blends two very unique destinations into one. Zihuatanejo, the ancient fishing village, hiding place for pirates, adventurers and the rich and famous throughout history, with the folklore and appeal of a traditional Mexican coastal town, its harbor, market, town square, beaches and charming hotels. Joined by a highway, only 4 miles away is Ixtapa, a modern beach resort with perfectly maintained landscaping, hotels with capacity for incentives, groups and conventions, a luxurious Marina with yachts from all over the world, exclusive residential areas and two fabulous, world-class golf courses. The new Marina Ixtapa Club de Golf, designed by Robert von Hagge, opened in January 1994 to complete the multi-million-dollar Marina Ixtapa project. The Palma Real, was designed by Robert Trent Jones Jr in 1977. This course was a key element in the master plan of FONATUR (the National Fund for Tourism Development) which originally developed Ixtapa as a resort destination. The courses are located at opposite ends of Ixtapa’s hotel zone, reachable by walking, or just a 3-minute taxi ride from any of the beachfront hotels. Annual professional PGA tournaments include the Corona Ixtapa Classic, part of the Canadian Tour.

Other sporting activities that have made the destination famous are it’s surfing and world-class sportfishing tournaments. Committed to conservation, the local CVB is devoting major efforts to educate local captains and to achieve higher percentages of catch-and-release. Recently ranked by Sportfishing Magazine as the second most popular sailfish destination in the world, as evaluated according to 11 separate criteria, Ixtapa-Zihuatanejo has achieved recognition as a truly unique sportfishing destination.

It’s no wonder that our resort appeals to a wide range of companies and interests. It offers perennial favorites plus never-done-before adventures: luxury yachting, amazing scuba diving and snorkeling and adventure excursions. Imagine having a butler-served dinner in the privacy of a presidential-suite terrace where the swimming pool has underwater barstools, the ocean and sunset views are awesome, and private musicians play romantic ballads or hot salsa. Add clifftop aerobics or rappelling into a cave, participate in the sea turtle release at one of the many beaches, go swimming with dolphins, climb a mountain with a keen-sighted birdwatcher, or simply sway in a hammock under the coconut palms before horseback riding or after a spa treatment. There is inspiring shopping for Mexican crafts, tropic-chic fashions and top-quality folk décor and designer pieces for home or office. Families have plenty to do, with separate and memorable activities for the kids.

Organizing meetings is a pleasure in Ixtapa which is one of the most modern and upmarket destinations on the Mexican Pacific. Five-star hotels have high-tech convention centers, meeting, seminar and banquet facilities and the finest haute European cuisine and “alta cocina Mexicana” — and the best service you will find anywhere. For a delightful contrast, the fishing town of Zihuatanejo with its quaint streets, shops and palapa-lined beaches offer a true “sense of Mexican charm”.
Friendly gourmet dine-arounds can be arranged to combine the best of the two. Tranquil, uncrowded, comfortably small and walkable, this “twofold destination” is described by the Ixtapa-Zihuatanejo CVB as Twice as Pleasing.

Two of the hotels best prepared to cater to different size groups and events in the conventions and incentive segments are the Meliá Azul Ixtapa which has invested more than 22 million USD into the construction of a new tower and Conventions Center and the Las Brisas Resort, formerly known as Westin Las Brisas.

But back once more to Ixtapa-Zihuatanejo and the activities and the excursions you may enjoy here: How about the fulfilling experience of creating an exquisite Mexican meal? This includes shopping at the local market, the preparation and, of course, the delight of savoring it. Or maybe some exercise to burn those extra calories? Chose between a bicycle picnic tour through the ecological reserve or a journey on horseback along the beach. For your seafaring pleasures, you may charter the most beautiful sailboat. Relish the barefoot sophistication, look at some of the inspired landscaping and architecture for your investment or spark your imagination for the design of your next vacation home. You and your clients will find plenty that suits your interests and if you are still looking for something different, in Ixtapa-Zihuatanejo you will find the infrastructure, service and variety for the right program “a la Carte”.

Lee Kraft, together with his wife Carmen, organizes private excursions and operates small VIP groups with an office at hotel Villa del Sol and the “Los Patios” shopping mall in Ixtapa. He also acts as a consultant for aviation, airports, logistics and tourism marketing related projects, representing Frankfurt Airport in Latin America. Lee writes regularly for two Mexican travel trade publications and can be reached vía his webpage

March 2004

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