Travel Weeklys Mexico E-letter: March 22, 2006

TONY RYAN, founder of the wildly successful European low-cost carrier Ryanair, is investing in a new, low-cost airline in Mexico that hopes to take flight in September. Ryan, members of his family and Ireland-based Kite Investments set up a company called RyanMex to take a 49% stake in the airline, which will be called Viva AeroBus. The ventures majority shareholder will be Iamsa, Mexicos largest bus transportation company. Bus-airplane travel packages might be offered, and the airline plans service within Mexico and to U.S. cities such as Los Angeles and Houston.

BARCELO HOTELS & RESORTS, the Spain-based resort firm, paid $48.2 million for the Karmina Palace Hotel in Manzanillo. The 324-room all-inclusive resort will be marketed as a five-star property under Barcelos Premium Collection. The resort will be renamed the Barcelo Karmina Palace Hotel and brings to 10 the number of hotels and resorts that Barcelo operates in Mexico. For information or to book, call (800) BARCELO or visit

CONTINENTAL AIRLINES VACATIONS and Mexicos Palace Resorts teamed up for a Kings Ransom promotion for travel agents. Under the incentive, agents earn $50 for each booking of three nights or longer at a Palace property in Mexico. Bookings must be made by Dec. 15, and travel must be completed by the end of the year. The promotion can be combined with Continental Airlines Vacations increased commissions of up to 15% for Mexico bookings. For reservations, visit or call (800) 634-5555.

UNITED VACATIONS is offering savings between $50 and $200 on packages to Mexico. The promotion is valid for travel May 1 to Dec. 15, excluding Nov. 22 to 26. Bookings must be made by April 15. To qualify, bookings must total at least $1,000 for a minimum of three nights. Packages include roundtrip air fare and airport transfers. For reservations, visit or call (800) 328-6877.


HACIENDA XCANATUN, the 18-room luxury hotel on the outskirts of Merida, joined Virtuoso, the invitation-only luxury travel network. Opened in 2000, Xcanatun is currently the only privately owned and managed hotel in the Yucatan. The property features 13 suites and five regular rooms with 18-foot, beamed ceilings; skylights; marble bathrooms; a spa; and extensive gardens. The property dates to the 18th century, when it served as a sisal plantation. For information or to book, visit or call the Hacienda Xcanatun at (888) 883-3633.


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