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High-speed train from Querétaro to Mexico City delayed

Mexico has unveiled plans to build its first high-speed railroad linking Mexico City with Querétaro as part of its broader plan to develop an industrial corridor between the two cities.

Querétaro, a booming industrial town about 120 miles north of the capital, is home to more than 150 IT and BPO firms. The high-speed train, capable of running at more than 180 miles per hour, is expected to boost Querétaro’s profile and prompt many Mexicans to emigrate to this relatively low-cost city.

According to reports, China’s state-run construction firm China Railway Construction Corp. was the only company to submit a bid, although some firms complained that the timeline for the bid was too short.

For now, the plans for construction are canceled in order to allow other firms to bid. The railway will ease the transportation of manufacturing goods, further bolstering the aerospace and auto industries that Querétaro is known for. Mexico’s tourism sector will also benefit because some of the country’s most popular tourist destinations, such as the colonial towns of Guanajuato and San Miguel de Allende, are located very close to Querétaro.

An international airport is also on the planning board for Querétaro, but it is not yet known when the airport will be ready for operation.

Mexico privatized its railroads in 1997 but failed to attract foreign investment into the sector. The high-speed train, it seems, will mark the beginning of such investments.

International News

N.Y. Marriott Marquis offers New Year’s package at US$50K

New Year’s Eve revelers with US$50,000 to spend can sign up for the New York Marriott Marquis package, a first-ever offer that includes limousine service, hair styling, and a stay in a presidential suite. The hotel says it was encouraged to create the splurge package by the strong demand for its US$3,500 New Year’s Eve gala tickets.


Medical tourism starts to flourish in Dubai

Dubai is starting to reap the results of initiatives to draw medical tourists to the emirate and is poised to become the top global destination for medical travel. Dubai welcomed 120,000 medical tourists last year and brought in US$200 million in revenue from medical tourism, according to the Dubai Health Authority. Cosmetic surgery, in particular, is a booming industry, with an estimated 52 plastic surgeons for every 1 million people in Dubai.

Cruise News

HAL gives ‘Dancing With the Stars’ another spin

Holland America Line has renewed its partnership that provides for “Dancing with the Stars” programming on its 15 ships. It will be the third year HAL will offer the program, which includes stars and choreography from the ABC television dance show.

Guests on each ship get free lessons based on dances from the show and a competition is held on each cruise. One winning contestant represents each ship in a champion’s contest on the cruise departing January 10, 2016.

There are also six theme cruises with celebrities and dancers from the show. The cruises in 2015-16 will occur on the Westerdam on January 3 and 10, 2015; the Veendam on June 6 and 13, 2015; and on the Nieuw Amsterdam on January 3 and 10, 2016.


Carnival returns to single-price beverage system

Carnival Cruise Lines has reinstated a single-price system for its “Cheers!” all-inclusive beverage package after testing a system that altered prices based on cruise duration. The package now costs US$49.95 per person, per day for all cruises regardless of length.

Celebrity to offer ocean-river cruises in Europe

Celebrity Cruises will offer 11 itineraries next year that combine an ocean cruise with a river cruise in Europe. The packages, which range from 16 to 24 nights, will offer sailings to four of Europe’s popular waterways: the Danube, Rhine, Rhone and Seine. Celebrity’s river cruise partner is Amras Cruises.

The deluxe packages will be sold with airfare, pre-cruise hotel stays, transfers and a beverage package, making them similar to a luxury cruise in concept.

Air News

Southwest begins San Antonio-Mexico City service

Dallas-based Southwest Airlines began nonstop service from San Antonio to Mexico City on November 2, taking over the route previously operated by Southwest subsidiary AirTran Airways. Southwest will operate a slightly larger 737-700 aircraft, with a capacity of 143 passengers, and daily service of one flight departing and another arriving.

Southwest will be the only US-based carrier with San Antonio-Mexico City service. Mexican carriers on the same route are Aeromexico and Interjet

Deal of the Week

Southeast Asian Dreamscapes

Bali is only the beginning of one of the most stunning beautiful areas in the world. Indonesia extends from tropical Southeast Asia all the way to the Pacific Ocean. Visit the two most spectacular area of Indonesia and add exciting Singapore into the mix.

Bali with the Ubud area and Yogyakarta are movie sets famous for rice terraced hills, Hindu temple complexes, colorfully dressed locals and perfect weather. Enjoy excellent hotels, restaurants with gourmet food and enough time for personal pursuits and Asian spa treatments.

March 16-18, 2015; land price on sharing basis US$3,820; land price in a single room US$5,150; internal airfare in Southeast Asia US$210. International airfare from 10 USA gateway cities from US$1,280.

Judy Newell heads the travel company Perfect Journeys which specializes in designing tours, cruises and independent travel for discerning travelers. Please contact Judy for reservations or further information on any of the Travel News topics; cell phone at 415-111-8765, email, or view the latest travel specials on the website where you can book your hotels, tours and cruises online.


Sources: Nearshore Americas, Crain’s New York Business, The Associated Press, Travel Weekly, San Antonio Express-News, SITA World Tours.


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