Travel Weekly's Mexico E-letter: Aug. 29, 2007

ALTHOUGH CANCUNS TOURISM INFRASTRUCTURE was mostly spared by Hurricane Dean when it roared over the Yucatan Peninsula last week, the storm washed away significant amounts of sand from its beaches, exposing rocks and shortening the distance between resorts and the sea in certain areas. Authorities are still evaluating the extent of the damage to Cancuns beaches, although its nowhere near as bad as when Hurricane Wilma made a direct hit on the area in October 2005, leading to a $21 million beach restoration project.

ONE OF THE HARDEST HIT AREAS was the town of Majahual and the cruise ship port of Costa Maya, where Dean made landfall as a Category 5 hurricane. Waves washed away parts of Costa Mayas concrete dock, which can accommodate up to three cruise ships at a time and includes a 70,000-square-foot pavilion with restaurants, entertainment and shops. Cesar Lizarraga, Costa Mayas director of sales and marketing, said that about 50% of the ports infrastructure was damaged by the storm. He said the port could remain closed for up to eight months while its facilities are rebuilt. He said the cost could be in the millions. Meanwhile, cruise lines are scrambling to substitute calls at other ports in Mexico and elsewhere. Carnival Cruise Lines, for example, scratched Costa Maya for Progreso, Mexico, during the Carnival Fantasys Aug. 25 five-day cruise out of New Orleans.

EXPECT TO SEE SOME PRICES DROP and special package offerings as resorts try to bring tourists back to the Yucatan Peninsula in the wake of Hurricane Dean. AMResorts, for example, is offering a Mexican Riviera Celebration package that includes $100 worth of spa coupons per booking plus one room category upgrade at any of the companys four properties in the region: Secrets Capri Riviera Cancun, Dreams Cancun Resort & Spa, Sunscape Puerto Aventuras Riviera Maya and Dreams Tulum Resort & Spa. The package is available for four-night bookings made by Sept. 30 for travel Sept. 1 to Dec. 21. Visit www.amresorts.com.

DELTA VACATIONS launched packages to Loreto. The packages, commissionable to agents at up to 15%, offer four hotels: Posada de Las Flores, Hacienda Suites Loreto, La Pinta at Loreto and the Inn at Loreto Bay. In announcing its expansion into Loreto, Doug Knapp, general manager of Delta Vacations, said the destination offers sportfishing, diving, golf, nightlife, beaches, culture and history. For information or reservations, call (800) 221-6666.

Mexico E-Letter Editor: Jorge Sidron

Phone: (973) 898-0011

[email protected]

For promotional opportunities in the E-letters, contact [email protected].

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