Travel Weekly's Mexico E-Letter June 18, 2003

VIVA RESORTS, which operates three all-inclusive properties in Mexico, is paying 12% commission plus a $10 bonus for each direct booking on stays of four or more nights through Dec. 23. The 12% commission is valid for new bookings only, made directly through Viva's reservation center at (800) 898-9968 or via E-mail at [email protected]. To receive the extra $10 per booking, agents must complete a Commission Bonus tracking form, available from the reservations center or via E-mail. All commissions and bonuses will be paid after clients return home. Viva's Mexico properties are the Viva Maya and Viva Azteca, both in the Riviera Maya, and the Viva Vallarta in Puerto Vallarta. The bonus commission offer also applies at Viva's resorts in the Bahamas and the Dominican Republic.

SPEAKING OF PUERTO VALLARTA, Vallarta Adventures this spring introduced a day trip from Puerto Vallarta to Talpa and Mascota, a pair of towns nestled in the Sierra Madre mountains. Passengers board a Cessna Caravan or 402 aircraft for a 15-minute flight to Talpa, a town that hosts a vibrant religious festival five times a year. During festivals, pilgrims from all over Mexico and dozens of vendors converge on the town, and indigenous performers promenade outside a cathedral. Ten minutes by air from Talpa is the village of Mascota, where visitors are offered lunch, a visit to a distillery where the agave beverage is produced and a walking tour of the town. The 25-minute return flight gives passengers a sweeping view of Puerto Vallarta's coast. The Talpa/Mascota excursion costs $142 per person, including lunch. For more information, contact Vallarta Adventures at (866) 256-2739 or visit www.vallarta-adventures.com.

AEROMEXICO has a new U.S. gateway: Fort Lauderdale, Fla. AeroMexico, Mexico's largest airline, said it will launch nonstop service between Fort Lauderdale and Mexico City on July 7. The service will be operated four times a week on Mondays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. Fort Lauderdale is AeroMexico's 17th U.S. gateway. In the process, AeroMexico will be the first carrier to provide transborder service from Fort Lauderdale Airport to Mexico. The airline said the new service is in response to demand from the expanding business, leisure and ethnic markets north of Miami looking for a more convenient gateway to Mexico. "We have monitored the growth of the international and Latin American market in Broward County and neighboring Palm Beach County and believe the area is ready for us to introduce direct service into Mexico," said Rolf Hoehn, AeroMexico's vice president, U.S. division.

MEANWHILE, also on July 7, AeroMexico will add a second daily nonstop from Chicago's O'Hare Airport to Mexico City. "Chicago is a very strong market for AeroMexico," said Hoehn. "Our growth there has been steady and we are happy to introduce additional flights that will be appealing to both business and leisure travelers as well as the ethnic market." The afternoon flight will depart Chicago at 3:55 p.m. and arrive in Mexico City at 8 p.m. On the return, the flight will depart Mexico City at 10 a.m. and arrive in Chicago at 1:55 p.m. For information and reservations for either flight, call AeroMexico at (800) 237-6639 or visit www.aeromexico.com.

CONTINENTAL AIRLINES on June 12 launched daily nonstop service between George Bush Airport in Houston and the International Airport in Morelia, Mexico. With the addition of Morelia, capital of the state of Michoacan, Continental flies to 21 cities in Mexico. Continental claims that it serves more Mexican destinations than any other U.S. airline, with approximately 350 departures each week. Continental is using a 50-passenger jet for its service to Morelia. The flight departs Houston at 5:40 p.m. and arrives in Morelia at 8:05 p.m. On the return, the flight leaves Morelia at 7:50 a.m. and arrives in Houston at 10:14 a.m.

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