IBEROSTAR HO­TELS & RE­SORTS OPENS NEW HO­TEL IN CAN­CUN

Business Traveller - - ADVERTISEMENT FEATURE - More info: Iberostar.com

The new five-star adults-only Iberostar Cancún Star Pres­tige is a sleek, mod­ern 13-storey ocean­front prop­erty, which guar­an­tees stun­ning views of the Caribbean, su­pe­rior ser­vice, all-in­clu­sive ameni­ties and VIP fa­cil­i­ties.

The 156 lux­ury suites, all dec­o­rated in a stylish pal­ette, are cre­ated for max­i­mum re­lax­ation and have a pri­vate bal­cony with whirlpool hot tub and su­pe­rior ameni­ties, in­clud­ing 24-hour concierge and room ser­vice, nightly turn­down, Blue­tooth sound sys­tem and Smart TV.

The re­sort has an out­door pool with a swim-up bar and a pri­vate beach area with Ba­li­nese daybeds, sun loungers and beach­side concierge ser­vice. The Star Pres­tige Lounge, with its gi­ant flatscreen TV, al­lows guests to en­joy so­cial events with pre­mium bev­er­ages and com­pli­men­tary hors d’oeu­vres.

The ho­tel’s restau­rant serves de­li­cious break­fast and lunch buf­fets, of­fers evening Ital­ian à-la-carte din­ing, and there is a new lobby bar and snack bar. Guests also have ac­cess to all the ser­vices and fa­cil­i­ties of the neigh­bour­ing Iberostar Cancún, so can en­joy five restau­rants spe­cial­is­ing in in­ter­na­tional gourmet fare, such as Mex­i­can, Ja­panese and French cuisines, among oth­ers.

Throw in wine tast­ings, food-pair­ing ex­pe­ri­ences and spe­cial so­cials, as well as the on-site 18-hole championship Iberostar Cancún Golf Club, and guests will be as­sured of a top-qual­ity ex­pe­ri­ence in an un­for­get­table set­ting.

busy bor­ders such as Ti­juana-San Diego, but with a 12 per cent in­crease on 2016 fig­ures, Mex­ico was among those coun­tries record­ing the great­est in­crease.

Growth has taken place in spite of crime and se­cu­rity prob­lems in states such as Du­rango and Mi­choa­can and, above all, in cities close to the US fron­tier. May 2018 was widely re­ported as “the dead­li­est month” recorded in Mex­ico since the gov­ern­ment be­gan re­leas­ing homi­cide data in 1998.

Tourists to Chi­a­pas, Oax­aca, Yu­catan and the sil­ver-min­ing cities of Gua­na­ju­ato, San Miguel de Al­lende and Za­cate­cas may be blithely un­aware of the ten­sions of the mar­ginal zones even of the cities they are vis­it­ing. Quan­ti­fy­ing the im­pact of se­cu­rity is­sues on com­merce is dif­fi­cult, to say the least. Who stays away? Which coun­tries with­hold in­vest­ment? How prob­lem­atic are per­cep­tions as com­pared with hard facts?

“Se­cu­rity and crime costs are im­mense from a so­cial and busi­ness per­spec­tive,” ob­serves En­rique Dus­sel Peters, eco­nom­ics pro­fes­sor at the Univer­si­dad Na­cional Au­tonoma de Mex­ico (UNAM).

“Or­gan­ised crime in Mex­ico and most of Latin Amer­ica, how­ever, is a re­gional prob­lem and par­tic­u­larly re­lated to the US. Un­less the re­gion as a whole, in­clud­ing the US, ac­knowl­edges it as such, there are few changes for start­ing to solve it in the long term. Or­gan­ised crime in­cludes not only money and drugs, but also arms, per­sons and body parts, and it’s a two-way street mainly with the US.”

In Au­gust, US and Mex­i­can law en­force­ment au­thor­i­ties an­nounced a joint ven­ture, set­ting up a team based in Chicago tar­get­ing the lead­ers and fi­nances of drug car­tels that ship opi­oids into the United States. But, ear­lier in the year, busi­ness lead­ers in Mex­ico’s pow­er­ful Con­sejo Co­or­di­nador Em­pre­sar­ial (CCE) busi­ness lobby is­sued a state­ment that “the high lev­els of vi­o­lence have be­come the great­est ob­sta­cle to (eco­nomic) ac­tiv­ity.” This came on the back of Mex­i­can dairy pro­ducer Grupo Lala shut­ting a dis­tri­bu­tion cen­tre in the north­ern state of Ta­mauli­pas and the world’s big­gest Coke bot­tler, Coca-Cola Femsa, in­def­i­nitely clos­ing a 160-em­ployee dis­tri­bu­tion cen­tre in south-western Guer­rero state.

NEIGHBOURLY RE­LA­TIONS

To out­siders, it can ap­pear bizarre that the rich­est coun­try in the world can­not work closely with its neigh­bour to re­solve crime – and drug-re­lated mat­ters. But Mex­ico’s re­la­tion­ship with the US has been trou­bled since even be­fore the Mex­i­can War of 1847, which saw Mex­ico lose about one-third of its ter­ri­tory to the US. When Don­ald Trump took over in Wash­ing­ton DC, there was a no­tice­able cool­ing-off in diplo­matic re­la­tions and the lan­guage, at least from the US side, hit a new low.

In prin­ci­ple, of course, Mex­ico’s prox­im­ity to the US rep­re­sents an enor­mous op­por­tu­nity in terms of value-added em­ploy­ment, learn­ing pro­cesses and gen­eral de­vel­op­ment. The prob­lem, says Pro­fes­sor Dus­sel Peters, is that the North Amer­i­can Free Trade Agree­ment (NAFTA), signed in 1994 by the US, Canada and Mex­ico, has been at best un­even and, in some sec­tors, to­tally in­ef­fec­tual.

“NAFTA has sub­stan­tially po­larised Mex­ico’s econ­omy, in that only a small group of house­holds, firms, re­gions and global value chains have in­te­grated through ex­ports to the US, the vast ma­jor­ity not.”

Ac­cord­ing to Peters, the newly rene­go­ti­ated NAFTA, now known as the United States-Mex­ico-Canada

There is cau­tious op­ti­mism that pri­vate cap­i­tal and tech­ni­cal ex­per­tise will re­build the en­ergy in­dus­try

Agree­ment, or USMCA, which was for­mally agreed on Oc­to­ber 1, has few new and rel­e­vant top­ics. In fact, the most sig­nif­i­cant as­pect of the agree­ment is that that it was signed at all.

The most sur­pris­ing is­sue of the USMCA, Peters says, “is that it does not counter the in­creas­ing dis­in­te­gra­tion within NAFTA”. Ac­cord­ing to Peters, in­tra-NAFTA trade in­creased from 42 per cent in 1994 to 46 per cent in 2001, but dropped to 39 per cent in 2017, a fall par­tic­u­larly no­tice­able in global value chains, such as auto parts and au­to­mo­biles. He con­cludes: “The main chal­lenges for NAFTA are not in­tra-NAFTA is­sues, but those that lie be­yond NAFTA mem­bers, par­tic­u­larly with Asia and China.”

Sur­pris­ing no one, Trump claimed a US vic­tory on the deal, but some ob­servers be­lieve it will be good for Mex­ico and will lead to in­creased trade vol­umes within the three coun­tries. USMCA also ended months of un­cer­tainty that com­pelled Mex­ico’s cen­tral bank to main­tain high in­ter­est rates in case of a run on the peso. The coun­try is now able to loosen mone­tary pol­icy, giv­ing a short-term boost to GDP that’s al­ready ex­pected to grow by 3 per cent in 2018.

FRESH THINK­ING

On July 1, 2018, Mex­ico elected a new pres­i­dent, An­dres Manuel Lopez Obrador, a for­mer mayor of Mex­ico City, stand­ing for Jun­tos Hare­mos His­to­ria, a coali­tion of the left-wing Labour Party, right-wing So­cial En­counter Party, and so­cial demo­cratic Na­tional Re­gen­er­a­tion Move­ment. Nick­named “AMLO” in the lo­cal and in­ter­na­tional press, → CON­TIN­UED ON PAGE 76

ABOVE: The strik­ing ar­chi­tec­ture of Mex­ico City’s Museo Soumaya houses an im­pres­sive art col­lec­tion that spans al­most ten cen­turies RIGHT: The vi­brantly coloured em­broi­dery of a tra­di­tional huipil gar­ment ABOVE, FAR RIGHT: Monte Al­ban, a pre-Columbian ar­chae­o­log­i­cal site near Oax­aca, flour­ished from 500BC to 850AD

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