TOURISM GENERATED a record $9.457 billion in
Mexico last year, a 6.8% increase compared with 2002, despite the
fact that fewer tourists visited the country, according to Mexico's
Ministry of Tourism. The number of visitors fell from 19.7 million
in 2002 to 18.6 million in 2003, but tourists spent more on average
last year than in 2002, up 13.8% to $100.50 per person, per day.
"These figures reflect the recovery of the world economy but also
Mexico's ability to provide diverse options for high-end
travelers," said Rodolfo Elizondo, Mexico's secretary of tourism.
One bright spot was cruises: Some 5.98 million passengers debarked
on Mexican shores from January to November in 2003, up from 4.54
million during the same period in 2002.
AEROMEXICO AND WESTERN UNION inked a deal that
allows Aeromexico's customers to pay for their reservations with
cash, a move aimed primarily at the airline's Latino clients. After
booking by phone, the customer is given a confirmation number to
take to any of the almost 45,000 Western Union locations
nationwide. Tickets must be paid in full within 24 hours of the
reservation. At Western Union, the customer fills out a Quick
Collect form and pays a service fee. Western Union sends the
payment to Aeromexico, which validates the payment and issues an
electronic ticket. According to statistics from the Pew Hispanic
Center and the Kaiser Family Foundation, about 40% of Hispanics who
qualify for credit cards actually have one. Of the U.S. Latin
households with annual incomes between $30,000 and $50,000, only
58% hold credit cards, compared with 78% of their Anglo
DESTINATION VENTURES, the meeting planning firm
based in Bend, Ore., revealed dates for its 2004 Mexico Travel
Marketplace program. Destination Ventures said this year's series
of presentations will feature "enhanced interactions with
exhibitors," allowing agents more time with Mexico suppliers.
Instead of the "taco bar tradeshow" format, Mexico Travel
Marketplace will include sit-down dinners and 90-minute
classroom-style seminars. Organizers have implemented new
enrollment guidelines, including a pre-event Mexico sales
questionnaire and mandatory IATAN/CLIA/NACOA/CTO identification.
There are 12 events planned so far, starting March 15 in Chicago.
For details, dates and registration information, visit www.mexicotravelmarket.com.
THE 287-ROOM HOTEL FINISTERRA in Los Cabos is
promoting a Cinco de Mayo package offering 20% off standard room
rates and a fourth night free for bookings made March 9 to 31 for
travel May 1 to Sept. 30. The promotion applies to standard rooms
with a rack rate of $125 a night and rooms in the new Palapa Beach
Suites section, which sell for $150 a night. For information or
reservations, call (800) 347-2252 or visit www.bajahotels.com.
PLEASANT HOLIDAYS is offering a summer
promotion at three Melia hotels in Los Cabos [Melia Cabo Real Beach
& Golf Resort, Melia Los Cabos and Melia San Lucas] for stays
between April 11 and Sept. 30. For example, at the all-inclusive
Melia Cabo Real Beach & Golf Resort, a five-night, land-only
package starts at $627 per person, double, including roundtrip
airport transfers, and all hotel taxes and surcharges. In addition,
children 12 and younger stay, play and eat for free. For
information or reservations, call (800) 448-3333 or visit www.PleasantAgent.com.