Travel Weekly's Mexico E-letter: Oct. 17, 2007

MEXICO'S FEDERAL COMPETITION COMMISSION said it would not allow Mexicana to buy Aeromexico, arguing that the combined company would control too large a share of the domestic airline market. Mexicana said it disagreed with the commission's decision and vowed to forge ahead with its bid for rival Aeromexico, the country's largest airline. Mexicana argued that its $200 million offer for Aeromexico was by far the largest of the three current offers, including one for $166 million from two local businessmen. Mexicana also argued that the combined companies would control less than 50% of the domestic market by the end of the year due to growing competition from low-cost carriers within the country. But the anti-monopoly commission said the combined airlines would have an overwhelming presence in the country's major gateway, leading to fewer options and higher prices for customers.

THE FINANCE COMMITTEE of Mexico's lower house of Congress has reportedly approved a $5 fee for cruise passengers who visit Mexican ports. The fee still needs to be approved by the full house and the Senate. The committee said such a fee would generate approximately $30 million a year, with some 80% of the money going towards infrastructure and maintenance in municipalities that receive cruise ships. In 2006, Mexico received 6.5 million cruise passengers who spent on average $70 each, according to the Mexico Tourism Board. Costa Maya's port, meanwhile, does not support the proposal, according to the port's president, Teofilo Hamui. Hamui, president of the Port of Costa Maya on Mexico's Southern Yucatan Peninsula, said he did not approve of the per-passenger cruise tax that was proposed by the government, noting that "Costa Maya is committed" to continuing to serve the cruise industry. "Our main focus right now is rebuilding [following damage from Hurricane Dean in August] and raising the standards we previously set for ourselves," Hamui said.

DURING LAST WEEK'S ANNOUNCEMENT by the Trump Organization of its newly created Trump Hotel Collection, the company shed some more light on its previously announced project in the northern Baja peninsula. The company said the Trump Ocean Resort Baja, which was announced late last year, would be part of the new Trump Hotel Collection of luxury properties. The 392-room condominium-hotel is scheduled to open in 2010 on a cliffside location in Punta Bandera. The mixed-use property will include the signature Trump Attache service and the Spa at Trump facilities as well as several restaurants, pools, a fitness center and a tennis complex. Units in the two high-rise towers will be priced from the mid-$200,000s to more than $1 million and will be available for rent when the owners are away. Trump Ocean Resort Baja will be one of a dozen Trump Hotel Collection properties with more than 5,400 rooms slated to open worldwide by the end of 2010. The property is being built in conjunction with Los Angeles-based Irongate Development.

CONTINENTAL AIRLINES VACATIONS teamed with Mexico's Palace Resorts on a new booking incentive that includes 10,000 Continental OnePass Miles. Under the promotion, customers who book a minimum five-night stay at a participating Palace property in Mexico by Dec. 5 will earn the 10,000 OnePass Miles in addition to a Palace Passport with up to $400 in resort discounts. The promotion is exclusively for OnePass members, and customers must enter promotion code COV10000 and their OnePass account number when booking. The Palace Passport includes discounts such as $50 per person toward the purchase of a round of golf, a $25 car rental credit and $15 off a spa treatment or massage. Participating properties are the Cancun Palace, Le Blanc Spa Resort, Moon Palace Golf & Spa Resort and Sun Palace in Cancun; Cozumel Palace; Aventura Spa Palace, Playacar Palace and Xpu-Ha Palace in the Riviera Maya; and Vallarta Palace in Vallarta Nayarit. To book, call (800) 634-5555 or visit www.vaxvacationaccess.com.

OASIS HOTELS & RESORTS is offering discounts of up to 45% off traditional fall prices at six of its all-inclusive properties in Mexico. The rates are in effect through Dec. 20. Prices start at $50 a night per person, double, at the Oasis America in downtown Cancun.  Prices at the Grand Oasis Cancun start at $99 a night. For information or reservations, call (800) 44OASIS or visit www.oasishotels.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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