Mexico's Ministry of Tourism recently reported increases in hotel occupancy in three key regions. Riviera May occupancy grew by 3.1 percent, which was dwarfed by Cancun's 8.7 percent growth. And overshadowing both was Puerto Vallarta's 10.6 percent rise. The largest number of guests came from the United States, with Canada second. Perhaps the most instructive bit of news is that it is not just this hemisphere that has contributed in the expansion. Visitor growth was also seen coming out of Russia, the UK, China, France, Germany, Italy, Australia and Japan. To better make the point, consider this: The 2012 Conde Nast Gold List includes 33 properties in Mexico, the most ever for the country.
We've witnessed this ourselves at Greenberg Traurig. Last year, our hospitality and gaming teams had an opportunity to advise Hard Rock in multiple transactions that resulted in a new "brand" within the Hard Rock universe: The Hard Rock All Inclusive Resort. Having previously assisted with the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Punta Cana, we went on to document the agreements with Palace Resorts LLC to re-imagine Palace Resorts properties in Cancun, Puerto Vallarta and Riviera Maya into Hard Rock Hotels. To offer some idea of magnitude and scope, Hard Rock Cancun will feature 601 guestrooms, numerous restaurants, bars and lounges, a spa, and meeting facilities including a 16,408-sq.-ft. convention center. The Puerto Vallarta property will have 348 guestrooms and a full range of amenities. And the Riviera Maya destination, which combines two adjacent properties, will offer nearly 1,300 rooms.
Mexico remains a leading destination for travelers. The country's rich history, culture and reputation for quality hospitality -- i.e., its brand -- have proved vital in this time of social and economic unrest. We expect that hotel owners and operators will keep a keen eye on Mexican riches yet to be explored.