What do lifestyle guru Gwyneth Paltrow, actress Brooke Shields, Cirque du Soleil CEO Daniel Lamarre, and Ferran Adrià—considered by many to be the best chef in the world—have in common? They all believe in the transcendent beauty of Mexico.
From May 16th through 19th, these global luminaries gathered with Mexican government officials, academics, industry disruptors, and over 450 students to discuss the power of tourism at the highly anticipated Foro Vidanta. Produced by the Vidanta Foundation, this international symposium was held at Vidanta Nuevo Vallarta with the goal of facilitating an open dialogue identifying the ways the vacation industry can encourage economic and social development in Mexico. The idea was to use this meeting of great minds—including seasoned industry veterans and inspired and driven newcomers—to offer a strategic plan to further cement Mexico’s standing as one of the world’s premier tourist destinations, growing jobs and increasing opportunities along the way.
Over four days of keynote speeches by entertainment and hospitality’s biggest names, engaging roundtables, and practical workshops, a variety of trends and opportunities emerged as key avenues toward strategic growth. Daniel Houghton, former CEO of the travel site Lonely Planet, discussed how exciting new digital tools and platforms offer new opportunities in the industry. Brooke Shields and Gwyneth Paltrow both talked about the importance of sustainable tourism and raising their children with a curiosity and respect for the world. Ferran Adrià explored the role gastronomy and culinary vacations can play in establishing a country as a hot tourist destination. And Daniel Lamarre displayed his expertise as one of the entertainment industry’s top executives talking about how Mexico’s immense creativity and rich culture are its top assets in capturing the world’s attention.
“It’s so important that our children understand that it’s a big world.”
-Gwyneth Paltrow, discussing family travel
The various speakers and guests of the event also spoke at great length about the unique attributes Mexico brings to the table as a destination. From an incredibly vibrant food scene that is currently taking the rest of the world by storm to the innate generosity of spirit of its people to the immense natural beauty of the country’s jungles, deserts, cenotes, and beaches, Mexico offers a wealth of irresistible features, attendees noted. Many also remarked how Vidanta exemplified so many of those admirable qualities in all of its resorts.
“What impresses me the most… is when people [at Vidanta] put their hand over their heart. I think we should do that worldwide.”
-Brooke Shields on the instant warmth of the Saludo Vidanta
The momentous event generated buzz throughout Mexico and Latin America, with live television coverage on national networks and digital outlets resulting in millions of viewers. But that’s just the beginning of Foro Vidanta’s reach. The Vidanta Foundation will summarize the major takeaways and learnings from the symposium, then present a formal list of recommendations to Mexico’s incoming presidential administration. The hope is to give the government a clear path toward taking the country’s tourism industry into the future of innovation.
“I strongly believe that creativity is what makes a leader in every single industry.”
-Daniel Lamarre, on the importance of tapping into a fresh perspective