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Travel News

By Judy Newell

Mexico Travel News

President Peña Nieto unveils National Tourism Policy

“We will open Mexico to the world, and the world will visit Mexico,” President Peña Nieto said. “Tourism is a fundamental component of our economy and a key driver of national development.”

The President announced the formation of a committee that will coordinate a multi-sector effort to grow the tourism industry in Mexico. According to Mexico Tourism Board, tourism is responsible for close to nine percent of Mexico’s gross domestic product. Mexico will achieve a competitive edge by providing diverse offerings in such categories as culture, health, meetings and conventions and eco-tourism.

“Growth of the tourism sector is important for tourists and Mexicans alike,” the President continued. “The opportunity to explore Mexico should be attainable by all Mexicans.”

Investor group buys large share of Aeromexico

A group of Mexican businessmen, led by Eduardo Tricio and Valentin Diez-Morodo, purchased shares representing 20.19 percent of the outstanding shares of Aeromexico. Tricio is head of dairy producer Grupo Lala and Diez-Morodo is president of Grupo Nevadi International. Tricio will become chairman of the board and Diez-Morodo will serve as vice chairman.

The news about the purchase of shares came on the same day Aeromexico released its financial earnings for all of 2012 and the fourth quarter. The carrier reported record revenues of US$3.1 billion in 2012, representing 10.5 percent growth year-over-year for the full year.

A volcano is born

On February 20, 1943 Dionisio Pulido, a farmer in the Mexican state of of Michoacán, was working in his cornfield along with his wife and son. From the center of the field, a hissing noise began. Suddenly a plume of smoke and ash began spewing from the ground from a fissure that opened. Pulido and his family were witnessing the birth of Volcán de Parícutin.

The farmer and his family fled the area and the town of Parícutin was soon covered in ash.

Twelve months later, the volcano was a thousand feet tall. For the next eight years, the eruptions continued. Lava poured out of the volcano, scorching more than 14 square miles of surrounding land. In 1952 the eruptions ended and Parícutin went quiet, attaining a height of 1,275 feet. Scientists believe it to be a “monogenetic” volcano, meaning it will most likely never erupt again.

Cruise News

Windstar purchases three Seabourn ships

Windstar Cruises made headlines when it announced that it was buying three 208-passenger ships from Seabourn. By 2015, Windstar will double its fleet by adding the more-traditional cruise ships to its trio of motor-sail vessels.

Seabourn Pride will move over to the Windstar fleet in May 2014, with Seabourn Legend and Seabourn Spirit following a year later. The ships will undergo a renovation and their names will be changed. When complete, Windstar will have a total of 1,230 berths.

Baseball Legends voyages

American Queen Steamboat Company is offering two “Baseball Legends” voyages this summer. The July 19-27 cruise from St. Louis to Cincinnati will feature veteran umpire Al Clark, New York Yankee Ron Blomberg and 1969 World Champion Art Shamsky, who played for the Mets from 1968 to 1972.

The July 26-Aug. 1 cruise from Cincinnati to Pittsburgh will feature former Texas Rangers, New York Yankees and Atlanta Braves outfielder Billy Sample, Jay Johnstone, who played for seven teams including the Los Angeles Dodgers twice, and Al Clark again.

Fares begin at US$1,820 per guest and include a one-night pre-voyage hotel stay, shore tours in every port and complimentary wine and beer with dinner.

International News

Indian Arts and Culture Festival

The 13th annual Indian Arts and Culture Festival will take place May 25-June 2, in southwest Colorado’s Mesa Verde Country. Featured as a “must-attend festival” in Patricia Schultz’s best seller, 1,000 Places to See Before You Die, the celebration takes place amid ancient cliff dwellings, pinion pines, and sandstone canyon walls. A juried Indian art market, featuring artists from Pueblo, Zuni, Hopi, Navajo, Ute and Apache tribes, and a Navajo rug seminar and auction highlight the weekend.

Where bin Laden went down, a theme park to rise up

Move over Orlando, here comes Abbottabad. Pakistan’s tourism officials have announced plans to build a US$30 million amusement park on the outskirts of the Himalayan foothills town that gained worldwide attention as the place where US Navy SEALs killed Osama bin Laden. The 50-acre site will include a zoo, restaurants, water sports, miniature golf as well as rock climbing and paragliding, officials said.

The project will take five years to complete, with work beginning in late February or early March. According to the Pakistan tourism ministry’s website, Abbottabad is a popular summer resort area and a gateway to mountain adventures. “It is a charming town spread out over several low, refreshingly cool and green hills,” the site reads.


Deal of the Week

Free gratuities and upgrades on Celebrity

Celebrity Cruises’ “Summer Sizzle” sale offers free gratuities, upgrades and discounts on 2013 cruises in Alaska, Bermuda and Europe. Booking dates are through March 10. Europe cruises bookings offer receive free gratuities, free upgrades from ocean-view to veranda staterooms or a US$99 upgrade from ConciergeClass to AquaClass staterooms. Deposits are also reduced by 50 percent. Captain’s Club members will receive a US$500 onboard credit when booking a suite.

Those who book an Alaska or Bermuda cruise through March 10 will receive free gratuities and 50 percent reduced deposits. Captain’s Club members will receive a US$400 onboard credit when booking a suite.


Judy Newell heads the travel company Perfect Journeys which specializes in tour and cruise travel for everyone. She also conducts private tours from San Miguel de Allende. She announces here her two small group tours for 2013: Luxury Turkey with a Private Gulet Cruise, a 14-day tour July 8-21; and Celebrate Ireland at The Gathering, an 18-day tour September 21 to October 8. Contact her at


Sources: Travel Pulse, Travel Research Online, Media Kitty, NBC New


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