Travel News You Can Use

By Judy Newell

Mexico Travel News:

Mazatlan Shares Mexico’s Magellan Awards

Travel Weekly’s Magellan Awards honors hotels, destinations, airports and travel agencies. This year, Mexico itself was an award winner in recognition for the Mexico Tourism Board’s efforts to promote Mazatlan, Cancun, Puerto Vallarta and the 2011 Mexico Travel Summit.

“I am deeply committed to tourism,” said President Calderon. “I am convinced that we have everything it takes to be in the top five tourism destinations in the world.” Mexico is currently the tenth most visited country according to the World Tourism Organization.

The campaign that won the award aims to project the positive things that Mexico represents including people, sights and destinations. Among other initiatives, TV spots focus on the unique attributes of each featured destination. “Beyond culture, natural resources, infrastructure and unique experiences, we have something, my friends, that is our greatest competitive advantage: the warmth of the Mexican people,” Calderon added.

Hard Rock to open three all-inclusive properties

Palace Resorts properties in Cancun, Puerto Vallarta and Riviera Maya will transform into Hard Rock Hotels. The process will begin in the coming months, with the first Hard Rock-rebranded hotel in Cancun scheduled to launch in winter 2012, Puerto Vallarta in spring 2012, followed by a fall 2012 first-phase debut of Hard Rock Hotel Riviera Maya.

Each hotel will remain fully operational as an existing Palace Resorts property during the conversion process. Each Hard Rock Mexico location is a beachfront property that will feature all-inclusive luxury accommodations including in-room double Jacuzzis, dining, top-shelf drinks, 24-hour room service, live entertainment and more.

All three will offer Hard Rock’s signature Rock Star Suites and will showcase an extensive collection of authentic memorabilia from international and local music artists, while incorporating diverse music genres throughout. Additionally, in keeping with the Hard Rock tradition, each property will host an ongoing schedule of live concerts, celebrity-driven soirees and other on-site events.

Airline News:

Chicago to Tokyo in two hours?

Royal Dutch Airlines (KLM) is investing in a new technology for supersonic flight, the first such effort since British Airways shut down the Concorde in 2003. An outside investor has chipped in US$164 million to kick-start the project, Space Tourism Curacao, which could theoretically connect any two cities on Earth within two hours’ flight.

A test model of the space jet is set to debut next spring, and its owners aim to start commercial flights from the Caribbean island of Curacao in 2014. But regularly scheduled flights from major cities may take another two decades to appear.

The craft is essentially a spaceship, with the breakthrough technology of a reusable engine.

Passengers will be required to pass physical tests to fly on the craft just as a flight attendant must for today’s ordinary planes. Passengers must be prepared to travel at speeds of up to 13,750 mph.

The new craft—called the Lynx—hasn’t even been built yet, but about 40 people have already bought US$90,000 tickets for rides on an early version. One of them, Anton Kriel, explained to British papers, “I will no longer have to listen to people who brag about their new Aston Martin.”

One of the problems that the Concorde faced was its sonic “boom” whenever it broke the sound barrier, which tended to scare the heck out of residents down on earth. New technology could minimize the sound of the boom, allowing this new craft to fly above populated areas without frightening locals. The Concorde flew 2.5 million passengers in its years of service.

International News:

Russian Revival

Peeling plaster and an unstable foundation are things of the past at the Bolshoi Theater, which recently reopened in Moscow after a painstaking six-year renovation. A major player in the rise of Russia’s dance tradition, the nineteenth-century, 1,750-seat Bolshoi–which translates as “grand”—is once again fit for a czar. The word also applies to the project’s price tag, in excess of US$600 million.

No expense was spared to recapture its former splendor (embroidered silk from the foyers was rewoven thread by thread) or to enhance the theater with up-to-the-minute technology.

New Viennese museum focuses on contemporary art

Vienna has gained a new exhibition space for contemporary Austrian art, which is housed in an architectural masterpiece completed in 1958. The Austrian Pavilion, created by Karl Schwanzer for the 1958 Brussels World Exhibition, became the city’s first museum of modern art when it was re-erected in Vienna. From 1962 to 2001, the 20er Haus, or museum of twentieth-century art, focused on key movements in international contemporary art.

The building was acquired by the Belvedere in 2002 and refurbishing work began in 2008. In November 2011, the new 21er Haus reopened presenting Austrian art from 1945 to the present day in its international context. A series of light-filled and clearly structured exhibition halls, event spaces, and cinema make it the perfect space for contemporary interdisciplinary work of all kinds.

The Belvedere collection will provide the backbone of research and exhibition activities at the venue, which will also house the Wotruba foundation collection and the Austrian government’s contemporary art holdings.

Sources: Travel Industry Wire, Travel Pulse, Budget travel, Travel+Leisure, IsramWorld

Judy Newell heads the travel company Perfect Journeys, named the #1 tour company by “Best of San Miguel de Allende 2011.” Contact Judy at email

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