Travel Weeklys Mexico E-letter: August 17, 2005

ON THE UP AND UP: Tourism arrivals and revenue were up in the first half of 2005, according to Mexican tourism ministry Sectur. International arrivals came to 11.27 million from January to June, a 10% jump over the same period in 2004, while revenue totaled $6.47 billion, a 17% increase. Tourism secretary Rodolfo Elizondo said the figures demonstrate Mexico is enjoying a robust growth trend. In other figures, the tourism trade balance grew to $2.75 billion, a 21% jump; average spending by non-border international tourists was $730, up 2.9%; cruise arrivals grew nearly 18%, to more than 3.5 million; and cruise passenger spending rose 22.5%, to $235 million. For more on Mexican tourism, log onto www.visitmexico.com.

NEW DIGS, BIG SAVINGS: Gogo Worldwide Vacations is knocking more than $450 per couple off stays at the new GR Solaris Cancun all-inclusive resort in Cancun through Dec. 21. Under the deal, four-night, land-only packages start at $355 per person.  The 300-room GR Solaris Cancun opened in December 2004. Amenities include a full-service spa, a mini golf course and three restaurants, while complimentary activities include Spanish classes, Latin dance lessons, cooking classes and bicycle tours. To book, visit www.gogowwv.com or call (800) 229-4999.

THE PLANE, THE PLANE: Vallarta Adventures will offer scheduled flights from Puerto Vallarta to beaches and resorts along the Costa Alegre, from Nov. 1 through May 2006. The flights, aboard 14-person Cessna Caravan aircraft, can ferry clients to several Mexico Boutique Hotels properties, including El Tamarindo, El Careyes, Playa Rosa Hotel & Casitas and Las Alamandas. Flights will operate out of the private Aerotron facility adjacent to Puerto Vallarta International Airport, leaving for Careyes, Cuixmala and Las Alamandas Wednesdays through Sundays at 5 p.m. Return flights will operate Thursdays through Sundays at 9 a.m. Puerto Vallarta-Careyes flights are 35 minutes each way and cost $150 per person one-way, or $300 round-trip. Cuixmala and Las Alamandas are an additional 10 minutes each and can be booked for a supplement. For more, call (011) 52-322 297-1212; send and e-mail to [email protected] or visit www.vallarta-adventures.com.

UNITED TO MEXICO: United Vacations announced new and expanded service to popular beach destinations in Mexico from Chicago and Denver starting Dec. 16. From Chicago, United Vacations adds four departures a week to Los Cabos; vacations start as low as $524 per person, for Thursday departures Jan. 5 to 26, with roundtrip air fare, three nights accommodations at Calinda Cabo San Lucas; roundtrip hotel transfers and 24-hour traveler assistance. In Denver, United Vacations is adding one flight per week to Cozumel, as well as three new flights to Puerto Vallarta, bringing that weekly total to seven. Vacations to Cozumel begin at $779, for Saturday departures Jan. 7 to 28, and include air fare, seven nights at Hotel Cozumel and Resort, transfers and assistance. Travel agents can book via VAX VacationAccess at www.vaxvacationaccess.com; VAX VacationAccess technology at Amadeus AgentNet, Sabre Vacations and Vacation.com AgentNet; all four GDSs; or by calling (800) 328-6877.

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