By Judy Newell
Mexico Travel News
Mexico investing in tourism
Mexico plans to invest 180 billion pesos (US$13.8 billion) in tourism infrastructure, President Enrique Peña Nieto announced recently during the Tianguis Turístico Cancún 2014. This would be done through Nieto’s tenure until 2018 through the National Infrastructure Program.
“Mexico has everything necessary to become a tourism power at the global level,” the president said. The plan is to use the money to improve infrastructure to boost the competitiveness of Mexico as an attractive tourist destination through upgrades to airports, roads and cruise ship terminals.
The government plans to follow a precise three-pronged strategy and extend it over 25-plus major tourist destinations. The first objective is to add renovations to Mexico’s beach destinations, colonial towns, and extend the Pueblos Mágicos (Magic Towns) program.
Next, new offerings are to be developed at Meso-American heritage and archaeological sites as well as areas of sustainability at some of Mexico’s most visited sites like Chichen Itza, Palenque, Calakmul, and Teotihuacan.
Finally, the third element in the strategy is to modernize and refurbish several of Mexico’s ports and airports including Mexico City, Cancun, Guadalajara, Los Cabos, Monterrey, Puerto Vallarta and Mazatlan.
Tourism is recognized as a crucial economic activity and engine for development in Mexico; it is one of the nation’s biggest sources of revenue and directly employs some 2.5 million people. This year, Mexico has welcomed 3.7 million foreign tourists in the first quarter, a figure that is up 10.1 percent from the same period in 2013, according to the Tourism Secretariat.
Washington’s Old Post Office getting a new lease on life
The Trump Organization’s plans to renovate the Old Post Office building in Washington, DC into a 271-room luxury hotel is allowing the 115-year-old landmark to remain a part of the Washington landscape and preserve its classic architecture, instead of being torn down under previous plans by the government. Plans call for two presidential suites, a 4,000-square-foot spa, meeting space and an atrium with a fitness center.
Disneyland hikes one-day ‘park hopper’ tickets to US$150
Planning to take the family to Disneyland this summer? You might consider taking out a second mortgage. In what has become a true harbinger of the season, Disney has again hiked entry fees.
One-day, dual admission to its Southern California parks, Disneyland and Disney California Adventure, will set you back US$150. That’s an almost 10% boost over previous prices. And there’s not much of a break for the little ones, either. Two-park daily admission for ages three to nine is US$144.
Single-day admission to just one of the parks now costs US$96 for ages 10 and up and US$90 for kids.
In February, Disney’s Florida parks announced the second admission hike in eight months, bringing the cost of single-day entry to the Magic Kingdom to US$99 for adults and children ages 10 and older. Rate hikes for other Walt Disney World parks − Epcot, Animal Kingdom and Hollywood Studios − rose to US$94 for single-day admissions.
The price changes could have the greatest impact on Disney-loving Southern California residents. Disney will suspend sales of its popular Southern California Annual Passport to area residents who haven’t previously purchased one.
Mazatlán welcomes cruise ships back
Mazatlán is back! The port of call made famous by The Love Boat TV show fell from favor in 2011 due to growing reports of crime, including a fatal shooting, in the tourist areas. Now, five cruise lines that erased Mazatlán from their routes have all returned or announced plans to again visit the town on Mexico’s west coast, commonly called the Mexican Riviera.
Carnival Cruise Lines recently announced plans to resume year-round weekly Mexican Riviera cruises from Long Beach, California, starting October 4. It will operate three different week-long itineraries, including a new three-port cruise featuring a full day at Mazatlán, as well as Cabo San Lucas and Puerto Vallarta.
Holland America Line, Norwegian Cruise Line and Azamara Club Cruises resumed calls to Mazatlán in 2013.
Princess Cruises earlier this year announced its return beginning this fall with additional trips in 2015 as part of the 50th Anniversary celebration of the line’s first voyage to Mexico. Princess is including Mazatlán on seven-day cruises from Los Angeles on the Crown Princess, Grand Princess and Ruby Princess.
The 50th anniversary cruise on the 670-passenger Pacific Princess, scheduled to depart December 3, 2015, will include several ports that were on the company’s very first voyage, including Mazatlán, Puerto Vallarta and Manzanillo. The 14-day cruise sails round-trip from Los Angeles and is already sold out of interior cabins, mini-suites and suites. Oceanview staterooms are available starting at US$2,149 per person while balcony cabins are priced from US$2,849.
Deal of the Week
Europa 2 two-for-one offer
The world’s highest-rated cruise ship by Berlitz Cruise Guide 2014, the Europa 2, features 11 decks, all-suites with their own outdoor verandas, and the largest space per passenger ratio in the cruise industry.
Europa 2 is capable of calling at small, rarely visited ports. Just 500 guests are served by 370 crew members. Flexibility and individuality are found in every detail from entertainment to gourmet cuisine, with seven restaurants and flexible meal times.
The Colorful Caribbean, from New York to Miami, December 6-21, 2014, starts from US$8,610 per person in a suite category 1. Here’s the 2-for-1 offer: Second person travels free in category 1 to 4; no surcharge for single travelers in category 1 to 4 (Limited offers.)
Judy Newell heads the travel company Perfect Journeys, which specializes in custom-designed tours, cruises and travel for couples, singles, and groups of friends. Contact Judy by cell phone at 415-111-8765, by email at firstname.lastname@example.org, or view the latest travel specials on the website www.perfectjourneys.net.
Sources: Journey Mexico, New York Times, USA Today, Travel Pulse, Hapag-Lloyd Cruises