IBEROSTAR HOTELS & RESORTS OPENS NEW HOTEL IN CANCUN
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.
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.
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