Vacationing in the southernmost reaches of Mexico’s Riviera Maya is about to get a lot easier with the addition of a new airport in Tulum… That is, if President Lopez Obrador has anything to say about it! He announced a few weeks ago that the new Tulum airport is currently slated to open in 2023 and will be constructed by Mexican Army and military engineers, similar to a new airport that is currently under construction just north of Mexico City.
“Located on the Caribbean coastline of Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula, Tulum is one of the most popular destinations for the rich and famous, but the long drive from Cancun was always a sore spot for travelers,” writes Forbes of the new Tulum airport project announcement.
Lopez Obrador told The Riviera Maya Times that the decision to build the new facility was spurred by the knowledge that a new airport in Tulum will help stimulate the economy in one of Mexico’s hottest tourist destinations.
“I anticipate that the new Tulum airport will be built, and the section from Tulum to Escarcega will be completed to serve as transportation from Paneque to the Gulf,” the President said in a statement. “The project is moving forward.”
Plans include a luxury terminal for visitors arriving via private jet, as well as a standard terminal for the rest of us. The new airport will have a positive impact on tourism in the Riviera Maya, attracting travelers who have previously been turned off by the prospect of trekking an additional two hours south by car after landing in Cancun. Its construction is happening in tandem with a variety of other new developments in Tulum, including more than 12 new residential properties, condos and resorts that are currently in the works for the area, which stretches south from downtown Tulum all the way to the million-acre Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve.
Although no start date has yet been revealed, Raul Bermudez – a representative from Mexico’s National Tourism Development Fund (Fonatur), who represents the state of Quintana Roo where Tulum is located – previously announced that federal authorities are preparing to build two new international airports in the region as part of the ongoing Maya Train project, which is also slated to begin operations in 2023.
Why Does Tulum Need a New Airport?
First of all, it’s important to point out that this idea is not totally new. In fact, it was initially floated nearly 10 years ago by former president Felipe Calderon, when he also announced a desire to one day build a new airport in Tulum.
The reason is clear cut: Currently, travelers who wish to vacation in Tulum must fly into the Cancun International Airport, then drive over an hour south along the Mexican Caribbean coast to reach the southern end of the Riviera Maya region. Although the highway is modern and the trip is generally an easy one, it’s also easy to see why a new Tulum airport would make the region even more appealing to vacationers from around the world.
According to Lopez Obrador, a large tract of land was already set aside for the new airport in Tulum when the former president first started the planning process back in 2010. It will span two lots owned by the Mexican government near the town of Tulum proper, not far from the Hotel Zone along the beach road.
Finally, the President added that there is more than enough traffic to the region to support the new Tulum airport, downplaying fears that it could take business away from the much larger Cancun International.
“The truth is that there is room for two airports,” Lopez Obrador told Forbes. “There’s still plenty of room for the Cancun airport to continue having a large influx of passengers.”
The ease of a new airport in Tulum and the exciting Maya Train project are expected to generate even greater demand for flights into the Riviera Maya region, which is already one of the world’s most popular beach vacation destinations. Travelers and expats alike love the Riviera Maya, which is a safe place to visit and buy real estate in Mexico that also offers a wide variety of authentic experiences.
Would you like to know more about how the new Tulum airport will impact Mexico’s Riviera Maya? Tell us in the comments section below!