Travel Weekly's Mexico E-letter: January 18, 2006

RUNAWAY TOURS is ceasing operations after 37 years. The San Francisco-based tour wholesaler specializing in Mexico and Hawaii blamed three consecutive years of unprofitability for its decision to close up shop. Runaway said it will honor reservations paid in full through Feb. 28. Customers with bookings after Feb. 28 will receive full refunds. Runaway President Ed Jackson promised a smooth transition. No one, vendors or travel agents, will be financially hurt, Jackson said. A number of wholesalers have said they will honor Runaway pricing on transferred bookings.

MARRIOTT announced opening dates for two Cancun properties damaged by Hurricane Wilma. Marriott said the 448-room JW Marriott Cancun Resort & Spa will reopen on May 1, and the 452-room CasaMagna Marriott Cancun Resort will reopen on June 1. Both properties have been closed since Hurricane Wilma roared through the Mexican Caribbean last October and are in the midst of extensive renovations and upgrades, including the addition of flat-screen TVs in all guest rooms at both resorts. Both resorts are accepting reservations for the new opening dates. To book, call (800) 223-6388 or visit www.paradisebymarriott.com.

ANOTHER PROPERTY completing renovations following Hurricane Wilma is the 90-room Paraiso de la Bonita, which announced it will reopen on March 31. Located in Puerto Morelos, Paraiso did not sustain structural damage, and management is promising to reopen with a larger beach and in better condition than before the storm hit. A member of Leading Small Hotels, Paraiso de la Bonita is located in the Riviera Maya region, about 20 minutes south of Cancun Airport. For information or reservations, visit www.paraisodelabonita.com.

DELTA AIR LINES announced the largest expansion in Mexico in the airlines history after receiving U.S. Transportation Department approval for 12 new nonstop routes between the U.S. and Mexico by June, including the airlines first flights into Merida. The routes (and launch dates) are: Atlanta to Merida (Feb. 26), Acapulco (April 5) and Ixtapa/Zihuatanejo (April 12); Cincinnati to Los Cabos (Feb. 18) and Cancun (June 1); Los Angeles to Ixtapa/Zihuatanejo (April 15) and Cancun (June 3); New York (Kennedy) to Puerto Vallarta (March 4), Acapulco (March 11), Los Cabos (April 8) and Cozumel (June 3); and Salt Lake City to Mazatlan (March 8). The new routes are awaiting Mexican government approval. In addition, Delta said it is seeking DOT approval for three additional routes by summer: New York (Kennedy) to Cancun, and Los Angeles to Puerto Vallarta and Los Cabos. For specific schedules and fares, visit www.delta.com.

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