The owner of Canadian leisure carrier Air Transat is to build a beachfront resort in Mexico at a cost of up to $57 million.

The move to acquire land and an adjacent property for development is the first step toward a goal of having 5,000 owned or managed hotel rooms at its main sun destinations by 2024.

The acquisition has been made in village of Puerto Morelos, located midway between Cancun and Playa del Carmen, some 20 kilometres from Cancun international airport.

The Montreal-based travel group operates to 60 destinations in 26 countries.

Transat president and CEO Jean-Marc Eustache said: “We are very pleased with these transactions in a prominent Mexican tourism market.

“This is just the beginning – we are continuing our exploratory work with the objective of finding attractive land or hotels that we can acquire or manage.

“Our company’s future growth will be built on hotel development and, obviously, the strength of our leisure travel business.”