Travel News You Can Use

By Judy Newell

Mexico Travel News

Mayakoba Golf Classic

In February the Mayakoba Golf Classic (MGC), Mexico’s only PGA Tour event, will celebrate its sixth anniversary with a one-day Pro-Am competition and a four-round Professional Tournament. The event will take place at the Mayakoba Resort in Playa del Carmen on February 22-26, with a purse of $3.7 million dollars. The 2012 champion will need to overcome 131 of the world’s top professionals in order to take the title from defending champion Johnson Wagner.

In addition to being a world-class competition in a unique setting, the MGC has also served to raise awareness and donations of more than a million dollars for a variety of charities over the past five years. The event will be broadcast to more than 200 countries worldwide, including the US via the Golf Channel.

Airline News

Huge savings to Turkey

Turkish Airlines is offering roundtrip airfare between Los Angeles and Istanbul on Comfort Class starting at US$812 per person. Roundtrip airfare from JFK to Istanbul begins at US$765 per person. Prices are applicable only on flights to Turkey operated by B777 aircraft. Blackout dates are from May 16 through August 20, 2012.

Replace Heathrow? London just might

London’s Heathrow Airport is the world’s busiest international airport, but it’s too full and it can’t grow any further. Protests by local residents have prevented an additional runway and terminal from being built. Rival airport Gatwick faces a similar problem. So, government officials have turned their eye south to the idea of building a brand new airport where no local residents can possibly protest it—in the middle of the Thames Estuary.

In December 2011 a plan for a new airport was unveiled to the public by famous British architect Norman Foster. The Thames Hub would be set on an island near the mouth of the Thames River. It would be connected to the city by a $10 billion “orbital shuttle train,” says the Times of London. The airport could be partly financed by private investment or international sovereign wealth funds, reported officials.

The Financial Times reported that the idea of building an alternative hub airport south of London has won support from key players including Boris Johnson, the mayor of London, who says the city’s economic future depends on such expansion.

Air passenger numbers are expected to double in the next 20 years, British officials worry that airlines may re-route their flights to rival, larger airports, such as Schiphol in Amsterdam, Charles de Gaulle in Paris, Frankfurt am Main, and Dubai International. Unlike these airports, Heathrow has not been expanded since it was first built in 1946. Its two runways already operate at 98 percent of capacity on the typical day.

Cruise News

Crystal deadline for 2012-13 “Book Now” fares

Crystal Cruises set a booking deadline of February 28 for 2012 and 2013 “Book Now” fares, which offer up to US$2,000 per person off of two-for-one fares. Since the “Book Now” pricing program was launched in September, Crystal has raised fares every 60 days on certain cruises.

“Book Now” fares offer the lowest pricing for 2012 and 2013 cruises, including two-for-one rates, savings, free air from many North American gateways or cruise-only credits, and spending credits until the line goes all-inclusive.

Starting this spring, Crystal Symphony and Crystal Serenity will include complimentary fine wines and premium spirits throughout the ship, open bar service in all lounges, and pre-paid gratuities for housekeeping, bar and dining staff. The kick-off date is March 19 for Crystal Symphony and May 8 for Crystal Serenity.

International News

Visit California releases 2012 State Visitor’s Guide

Visit California (, the official travel resource for the state, will release the 2012 California Official State Visitor’s Guide this month. The guide will feature articles, trip ideas, photography, maps and travel planners, and will be available for free.

Shakespeare Company to present trilogy of plays

The Royal Shakespeare Company is casting its trilogy of plays–“The Comedy of Errors,” “Twelfth Night” and “The Tempest”–as part of the World Shakespeare Festival. The first RSC productions in the World Shakespeare Festival are three plays cross-cast within one acting company and one shared environment, creating a world of shipwrecks, grief, laughter, love and reunion.

All three cross-cast productions share the same creative team and play in repertoire in the Royal Shakespeare Theatre. They will also perform at The Roundhouse in London during the summer of 2012. “The Comedy of Errors” will run at the Royal Shakespeare Theatre, March 16 to May 14 and July 16 to October and the Roundhouse from June 1 to July 14. “The Twelfth Night” will run at the Royal Shakespeare Theatre, March 8 to May 15 and July 12 to Oct. 6, and at the Roundhouse June 5 to July 5. “The Tempest” will run at the Royal Shakespeare Theatre, March 30 to May 19 and July 13 to Oct. 7 and at the Roundhouse from June 9 to July 5. For more information visit or

Deal of the Week

Black Sea & Gallipoli cruise

Cruise on the mv Discovery for 11 nights, departing April 15, with fares from US$1,599 per person for a 2-bed inside cabin. A 12-night package, including roundtrip air from US and Canada gateways and transfers, starts at US$2,699 per person. Cruise the dramatic shores of the Black Sea, with port calls in Turkey, Russsia and the Ukraine. The voyage starts, and ends, to the call from muezzin, mosque and minaret.


Sources: TravelAge West, Budget Travel, Travel Pulse, RSC, Voyages of Discovery


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

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