Cancun and the Riviera Maya have been among the world's top vacation destinations for several decades now, with travelers flocking to the white sand shores to leave all cares behind in a tropical paradise. Recently, however, the region has begun to diversify its market by catering to groups, events and conventions. The country of Mexico hosts over 2,000 events every year, with just over 30% of those events occurring in the Cancun and Riviera Maya area.

Cancun and the Riviera Maya Among the World's Top Travel Destinations 

Since 2010, the groups, events and conventions market has grown at least 30% and counting, mostly in the Riviera Maya. In addition to many smaller private events, our little corner of the world has also seen immense public events, festivals and more.

In April, Cancun hosted the 12th Mexico Showcase and Travel Expo 2013 for over 100 meeting planners from the US, Canada and Mexico. This summer, more than 3,000 travel agents from all over the world will be in town for the Flight Center Global Gathering. The huge Tianguis Turistico, a coveted event among every Mexico tourist destination, will finally make its way to the beaches of Cancun in 2014.

Taste of Playa, Playa del Carmen, Mexico
 

Mexico's Caribbean coast was once criticized as an area with little culture, but several recent culinary expos have locals and visitors quickly changing their minds, turning Cancun and the Riviera Maya into a top foodie destination thanks to incredible dishes and chefs from all over the world. Taste of Playa is held every fall since 2009 in the heart of Playa del Carmen, right between 5th Avenue and the beach. Dozens of the Riviera Maya's favorite bars and restaurants serve samples of their favorite recipes to thousands of attendees who walk in from off the street. Check it out again this year on November 24, 2013!

 CRM Wine and Food Festival

The Cancun - Riviera Maya Wine and Food Festival drew in renowned international chefs for tastings and demonstrations at top area resorts and restaurants two years in a row, with solid plans to continue for a third year in 2014.

 Riviera Maya Film Festival

Adding to the region's cultural mix is the Riviera Maya Film Festival, which offered hundreds of free film showings in beautiful indoor and outdoor venues in Cancun, Holbox, Puerto Morelos, Tulum and Playa del Carmen. Plans are already being made for a third film festival in 2014. The Ritz Carlton Cancun has been home to several annual Summer of Sony events, with the world's top celebrities stopping by to promote their upcoming movies.

Mexico is currently ranked as the number 20 destination by the International Congress and Convention Association, and over the next year aims to climb to the 16th spot. The increase in festivals, events and conferences in Cancun and the Riviera Maya have made the area an impressively diverse and exciting place to be, adding to the unique local culture with the stunning natural beauty as an incredible backdrop.

 

 

 

 

Laura WinfreeOriginally from Virginia, Laura Winfree moved south of the border in 2005 to major in tourism at La Salle University Cancun. Today, she works as a copy writer for a local travel agency in addition to freelance blogging, writing and translating. Laura writes about her life as an expat in Mexico at http://gringationcancun.com and http://www.facebook.com/gringationcancun. Nightclubs and weekly beach trips are her favorite part of living in Cancun! 

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