Travel Weekly's Mexico E-letter: Aug. 11, 2004

AMERICA WEST said it will begin nonstop service from Las vegas to Los Cabos and Puerto Vallarta on Oct. 31 and Nov. 1, respectively. America West said the Mexican destinations are part of its plan to fly to 15 new destinations from Las Vegas this year. Service to Puerto Vallarta will be offered on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays, while service to Los Cabos will be on Tuesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays. The service will be provided by America West Express, which is operated by subsidiary airlines of Mesa Air Group. The flights between Las Vegas and Los Cabos will be available from Oct. 31, 2004 to Feb. 15, 2005, while flights between Las Vegas and Puerto Vallarta will be available from Nov. 1, 2004 through Feb. 15, 2005.

AFTER A TWO-YEAR HIATUS, the "Magic of Mexico" travel agent seminars will return later this month with a new major sponsor: Aeromexico. Aeromexico said it will sponsor the series of 12 educational seminars in order to create "Mexico specialists" in its primary gateway markets. The seminars, conducted in partnership with Oregon-based Destination Ventures, were introduced in 1992 by the Mexico Tourism Board. Since then, the program has trained more than 20,000 agents on travel to Mexico. The new seminars will focus on the beach destinations of Loreto, La Paz, Mazatlan, Puerto Vallarta, Nuevo Vallarta, Ixtapa/Zihuatanejo, Acapulco, Huatulco, Cancun and the Riviera Maya. The states of Chihuahua, Guanajuato, Hidalgo, Oaxaca and the Yuctan will also be included. The 12 seminars are scheduled from Aug. 24 to Nov. 17. The registration fee is $19. Agents will receive a sales guide, three hours of classroom-style instruction, an opportunity to meet with more than 20 suppliers and CVBs, a sit-down dinner and prizes. Continuing education credits also will be available. For details, visit www.magicofmexico.com or call (800) 599-6633.

THE MARQUIS LOS CABOS Beach, Golf, Spa and Casitas Resort launched a "Loyalty Reward" rate of $90 a night, double, for travel agents. The rate is in effect through Dec. 15 and includes an oceanview Junior Suite with a balcony. Travel agents must provide a valid IATA number at booking and present a valid travel industry I.D. at check-in. The rate is subject to 12% tax and $25 service charge. For information and reservations, call (877) 238-9399 or visit www.marquisloscabos.com.

COZUMEL posted a 45.9% increase in air arrivals in second-quarter 2004 over the same period a year ago, according to a report covering  nine destinations in the southeastern region of Mexico issued by the Mexican airport operator ASUR. Cozumel's total air passenger arrivals from January through June grew 28% over the previous year, ASUR also reported.

IBEROSTAR HOTELS & RESORTS will add its seventh property in Mexico in November with the opening of the Iberostar Paraiso Maya complex in Playa Paraiso, Riviera Maya. The resort will feature five swimming pools with swim-up bars, whirlpools, fountains, a wave pool and a lazy river. Other facilities include a 1,000-guest conference center, and P.B. Dye-designed golf course as well as a par-three course and a driving range by early 2005. For details, visit www.iberostar.com.

STARWOOD HOTELS & RESORTS and CLASSIC CUSTOM VACATIONS offer the third or fourth night free and discounts on golf and spa treatments at four resorts in Mexico. Packages must be booked by Aug. 31 for travel from Aug. 21 through Dec. 22. The properties include the Westin Resort & Spa Puerto Vallarta, from $144 per person, double, for three nights; Westin Resort & Spa Cancun and Sheraton Cancun Resort and Towers, from $157 and $142 per person, double, respectively, for three nights; Westin Resort & Spa Los Cabos, from $422 for four nights; and Sheraton Hacienda del Mar Los Cabos, from $269 for three nights. For details, visit www.classicforagents.com.

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