Travel Weekly's Mexico E-letter: Dec. 20, 2006

THE 213-ROOM LE MERIDIEN CANCUN RESORT & SPA was sold for $100 million to American Properties Hospitality Management in San Diego. American Properties plans to improve the resort, which was developed in 2000 and has already received $5 million in upgrades during the past year. The property was sold by its developer, a private investor based in Mexico. American Properties said the acquisition is part of a larger plan to purchase "several additional four- and five-star hotels and resorts in Mexico."

THE 96-SUITE AZUL BLUE HOTEL & SPA officially opened on Dec. 15 on the Riviera Maya. Rates start around $740 a night, per couple. To mark the opening, the resort is marketing a Fifth Night Free promotion for arrivals from Jan. 1 to 31 (check out by Feb. 5). Guests who pay for and stay four nights within this period will receive a fifth night for free. For information or reservations, call (866) 527-4762 or visit www.karismahotels.com.

DESTINATION VENTURES, the Oregon-based event-planning firm, announced dates for next year's Mexico Travel Marketplace seminars. Next year's events will carry the theme, "Sustainable Tourism: Our Shared Legacy" and will be held in 12 U.S. cities from March 12 to May 10. Destination Ventures said a number of new enrollment guidelines will be implemented next year, including a pre-event Mexico sales questionnaire and mandatory IATAN/CLIA/NACOA/TRUE/CTO identification. Attendance will be limited to between 75 and 125 attendees per event. Full details and online registration will be available at www.mexicotravelmarket.com beginning Jan. 15. For information, call (800) 599-6633.

HUNDREDS OF MILLIONS OF MONARCH BUTTERFLIES are making their yearly migration from the U.S. and Canada to central Mexico for the winter, making the winged creatures one of the main attractions in the colonial towns of Angangueo, Ocampo, Zitacuaro and Maravatio. These towns, in fact, hold a Monarch Butterfly Festival in February featuring traditional dances, music and artisan markets. From November to March, more than 250 million of the brightly colored insects make the journey of more than 3,000 miles to winter in the state of Michoacan. Two monarch butterfly sanctuaries are open to the public: Sierra Chincua, a 30-minute drive north of Angangueo, and El Campanario, about an hour's drive from Ocampo. For information about lodging in these towns and tours to the butterfly sanctuaries, visit www.visitmexico.com.

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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