Travel Weekly's Mexico E-Letter:Aug. 27, 2003

INTERCONTINENTAL HOTELS GROUP opened the 333-room Crowne Plaza-Los Cabos Beach Resort in San Jose del Cabo. Formerly the Faro del Cabo resort, the property underwent a $40 million renovation. It features contemporary Mexican decor in rooms and public spaces, five swimming pools, two lighted tennis courts, a racquetball court, a fitness center and 18,000 square feet of meeting space. The hotel has five dining facilities, including Las Jicamas for Mexican cuisine and La Gondola for Italian fare. The Crowne Plaza-Los Cabos is owned by Hola Hotels & Resorts and managed by Promociones Turisticas Azteca, S.A. de C.V., under a license agreement with a company in the InterContinental Hotels Group.

SPEAKING OF LOS CABOS, the region -- comprising the areas of Cabo San Lucas, San Jose del Cabo and the tourist corridor in between, announced today that the destination, its airport and all hotels are operating as usual and all visitor services are available following Hurricane Ignacio's passing Aug. 25. "Los Cabos luckily suffered nothing more than a good rain," said Los Cabos Tourism Board president Javier Aluni. According to airport director Javier Martinez de Escobar, the airport is functioning at "99% normalcy."

FUNJET VACATIONS added service to Mexico from Denver in response to Frontier Airlines' new service from that city. Frontier will launch nonstop service between Denver and Cabo San Lucas and Puerto Vallarta Nov. 1, and Denver and Puerto Vallarta Nov. 22. Packages include roundtrip air from Denver, hotel accommodations, roundtrip airport transfers and hotel taxes. In Mazatlan, a five-night package at the El Cid Castilla costs $439.99 per person, double, from Dec. 4 to 20. In Puerto Vallarta, a three-night package at the Buenaventura Hotel & Beach Club costs $379.99 from Nov. 22 to Dec. 16. And in San Jose del Cabo, a four-night package at the all-inclusive Royal Solaris costs $614.99 from Nov. 22 to Dec. 20. Call (800) 558-3050 or book via www.vaxvacationaccess.com or the major GDS's.

APPLE VACATIONS launched the Take off to the Sun promotion Aug. 24, offering savings up to 50% on select air and hotel packages to Mexico and Caribbean destinations for specific dates in September and October. Travel must be booked by Sept. 6. Sample rates from Denver, including charter air, seven nights at the all-inclusive RIU Jalisco in Nuevo Vallarta, Mexico, and transfers are $499.99 per person, double (reduced from $999.99). To book or for details, visit www.applevacations.com.

PLEASANT HOLIDAYS launched its Mexico product brochure for 2004. The new brochure features a number of additions designed to generate interest among Pleasant's customers and stimulate sales for travel agents. The brochure includes 11 new properties in Cancun, one of Pleasant's top destinations, a new property in Cozumel and a new property in Puerto Vallarta. The new brochure includes a separate section for the Riviera Maya and a new hotel category: Superior. In addition, special icons highlight condominiums suitable for couples or families, as well as all-inclusive properties. The brochure also highlights resorts that offer children's activities and honeymoon and spa packages. To order brochures, call (800) 448-3333 or visit www.pleasantagent.com.

THE MARK TRAVEL CORP. was awarded the Keys to the City of Cancun by Cancun mayor Juan Ignacio Garcia Zalvidea at a ceremony held Aug. 18. It was the first time a tour operator was so honored. Bill La Macchia Jr., CEO of The Mark Travel Corp., accepted the key on behalf of the Milwaukee-based company. "This is a tremendous honor for The Mark Travel Corporation and for all of our employees," said La Macchia. "The Keys to the City recognize our long-standing partnership with Cancun. We fully intend to build on this relationship and continue to market Cancun as one of the premier leisure destinations in the world." The Mark Travel Corp. began offering Mexico vacations in 1979 under Funway Holidays International. Funjet Vacations, the company's flagship brand, began charters to Mexico in 1987. The other Mark Travel companies offering vacations to Mexico are Adventure Tours, TransGlobal Vacations, AeroMexico Vacations, MexSeaSun, US Airways Vacations and Town & Country Tours.

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