Recent Survey Results Support that Mexico is a Safe Tourist Destination

MILWAUKEE, March 18 /PRNewswire/ — The recently updated Mexico Travel Alert has been broadly misinterpreted by media and consumers. The alert does not discourage U.S. citizens from traveling to Mexico, but instead encourages travelers to take common sense precautions to ensure that travel to Mexico is safe and enjoyable. To get a pulse on how vacationers who recently returned from Mexico felt about their safety and experience, The Mark Travel Corporation (parent company to Funjet Vacations) initiated and aggregated a consumer survey.

From March 6 – 15, 2009, more than 900 responses were received from travelers who took a vacation to Mexico between October 2008 and March 2009. The results were overwhelmingly positive with 97% of those surveyed indicating they would return to Mexico for another vacation and 90% of all respondents agreeing to the statement “I felt safe and secure.” Of the respondents who agreed to feeling safe and secure, 92% traveled in 2009 and 88% traveled in 2008, indicating that a growing number of travelers felt safe and secure in Mexico in 2009.

There were some travelers, only 9%, who indicated they felt unsafe at some time during their vacation in Mexico and less than 1% of respondents felt unsafe while on the resort property. The vast majority of reasons for feeling unsafe reflected isolated concerns that were not related to personal or physical safety.

The majority of respondents vacationed in Cancun/Riviera Maya, the most popular leisure destination in Mexico, which is more than 1,300 miles from the nearest U.S./Mexico border town referred to in the updated Mexico Travel Alert. Other respondents also vacationed in major tourist destinations including Puerto Vallarta, Cozumel, Los Cabos, Ixtapa, Acapulco and Mazatlan. These destinations are a minimum of 375 miles (the distance from Mazatlan to Chihuahua) from any U.S./Mexico border town. To view a map of Mexico that includes tourist destinations, border towns and mileage, visit Mexico-Update.com, a Web site recently launched by the Mexico Tourism Board to address travelers’ questions about travel and safety in Mexico.

“The survey respondents confirmed Funjet’s position that Mexico continues to be an amazing, safe and fun vacation destination. The results should give other travelers confidence to plan a Mexico vacation,” stated Mike Going, President of Funjet Vacations. “We encourage consumers to get the facts about the Mexico Travel Alert from their travel agent or Funjet.com/pressroom. The concentration of drug cartel violence that caused the U.S. Department of State to update the alert is hundreds, and in some cases thousands, of miles away from Cancun, Riviera Maya, Puerto Vallarta and other main tourist areas.”

There was no incentive or giveaway associated with the survey and travel agents were encouraged to send it to any of their clients who recently returned from Mexico and traveled with Funjet Vacations or another tour operator.

For more information on the Mexico Travel Alert consumers should contact a local travel agent, visit Funjet.com/pressroom or call 1-888-558-6654. To book a Funjet vacation to Mexico, travelers should contact their local travel agent or Funjet.com.

The Glorious Rains of Mexico

David Simmonds

It’s raining today where I live. Here in San Diego, we only get about nine inches a year, so the rain is good, unless you had a morning tee time.

I was just driving back from Costco in my Jeep Wrangler when I started thinking about the rainy season in Mexico – always my favorite time of the year there. It varies a little from place to place, but in all areas south of the northern deserts the rains usually start in early June and last until early October. If you want to know Mexico, go visit when it rains.

Most tourists don’t like to travel to Mexico during those months because, well, you know it’s kinda humid and you’ve got these huge bugs flying around. And just when you want to sunbathe in the late afternoon, here comes the thunder and damn rain clouds.

Exactly. Those are just two of the things that draw me to the coastal tropics when most gringos prefer more pleasing climes. And that brings up another side benefit…no crowds. And the prices are cheaper.

Unless a major storm is moving through, the daily rains don’t last long, and serve as a welcome respite, arriving later in the day after hours of blistering sun. The countryside turns from brown to green, the dust disappears from the rooftops and palm fronds, and the sunsets are beyond my descriptive abilities.

So, this summer, think about giving Mexico a try. Pack light, physically and mentally, and prepare yourself for a different vacation than you have ever had. My personal favorite spot for the experience: the Posada de Roger in Puerto Vallarta, sitting on the 3rd story roof-top deck looking out at the jungle-hills as the clouds start to appear in one direction, with lightening in the distance, out over the sea, in the other. Sipping a cold beer is suggested, but rarely required.

Mexico Dealing Firmly with Economic and Security Challenges

calderon-banking-conventionAcapulco, Guerrero
During his inauguration of the 72nd Banking Convention in the Port of Acapulco, President Felipe Calderón declared that his government is dealing firmly with economic and security problems, adding that Mexico’s financial and banking system is in one of the best conditions worldwide.

“We do have problems in Mexico, but we are dealing with them firmly.” Yes, we have adversity, but the point in life is not to avoid adversity, which is impossible. The point is to have the determination to cope with it and to get to work,” he said.

He pointed out that the country has healthy public finances and solid institutions, such as Banco de México as well as a level of external debt that has considerably reduced the Mexican economy’s vulnerability to foreign countries.
In this respect, President Calderón said:

“Where finances are concerned, what counts is the discipline we have had for several years. Having maintained healthy public finances, achieved balance and a cero deficit, as we have done over the past two years, helps us now to exercise power, in this 1.8% of GDP, which we are doing, by implementing a contra-cyclical policy that will obviously help offset the effects of this international economic situation.

He added that the capitalization rate of Mexican banks is now 14% and in some cases, obviously much higher. “In Mexico, despite the brutal credit contraction there has been throughout the world, in January of this year, there were still positive flows of credit towards the country’s productive sector,” he said.

At the same time, he told members of the Association of Mexican Banks that his government has proposed the goal of ensuring that the rule of law is the golden rule of the country’s social and democratic coexistence.

He considered that constructing a Rule of Law should be an everyday, inevitable task of both government and society. It is a task that everyone should assume in his sphere of responsibility, which is obviously largely the responsibility of federal authorities but also of local authorities.

That is why, he added, the authorities are dealing with crime head on, in a determined fashion, adding that, “We must not make a mistake or create a false dilemma. Problems are solved by coping with them head on, rather than avoiding them.

At the 72nd Banking Convention, Mexico faced with the World Financial Crisis: Opportunities and Challenges, the President declared that sooner or later, avoiding solving problems, however serious, makes them worse.

He declared that in the specific case of security, determined action is required to deal with this issue. Neglecting the task of coping with crime will only lead, as indeed it did for many years, to a growth of crime and the deterioration of social life.

“That is why it must be dealt with in an integral fashion, and must be combated with a united front, with the full force of the state,” he declared.

In this respect, President Calderón declared: “Federal Government has never avoided or tried to minimize the problems we have. They are serious but we are the first to have acknowledged the severity of the problems we experience, as a result of which we have acted with determination and firmness since the very first day.”

Spring Break Update Parte 2

By Lola

I guess I was a little behind on announcing the Mexico Tourism Board’s email newsletter yesterday, because Parte Dos (Part Two, for you über gringos out there) is already out.

The first one focused on Cancún. Parte Dos focuses on Acapulco—a personal favorite. Apparently there are some 22,500 students already there or on their way… Sounds like a party to me.

I’ll be headed to Aca myself for the yearly Tianguis convention in late April. Truth be told, I can’t wait. I’ve been going for over a decade and many things have changed (let’s see: no Pluma or Lente de Plata awards—let’s hear it for the Nick Gallo Award!—, serious scrimpage on the press invitations—I know there were a LOT of freeloaders in years past, but c’mon! MEXICO NEEDS MORE POSITIVE PRESS!—etc. etc.) but it’s still the place to be to get all the scoop on Mexico’s tourism. And I mean ALL the scoop. Ahem.

Anywayyyyy, without further ado, please click here to enjoy the latest Spring Break 2009 Update from the Mexico Tourism Board. (BTW, the Baby’O is till high on my hit list for dance clubs, even though it’s been around since the dawn of time.)

Woooohooooooooo!!!!
Woooohooooooooo!!!!

Photo Courtesy Mexico Tourism Board

Spring Break Breakdown?

By Lola

We all know somebody who is or will be on Spring Break this month—that fun-filled time of the year that is usually synonymous with “Beach in Mexico.” But this time, things have been a bit rocky for our South of the Border neighbor, and that’s putting it mildly.

With all the news hitting the headlines about the dreadful violence inflicted on the country by the drug cartels, it’s hard for people to separate the border from the beach since it’s all being lumped under “Mexico.” And while no destination is perfect—yes, there have been incidents in beach destinations (and please show me one in the U.S. where nothing has happened, ever)—what’s occurring in Ciudad Juárez and Nogales, for example, cannot be compared to Cancún, Puerto Vallarta, Los Cabos or any other vacation spot.

Travel Weekly, the national newspaper of the travel industry, recently hosted a topical virtual forum presented by Funjet Vacations and Travel Impressions. The 35 minute Webcast was held exclusively for travel agents and addressed travel agent and consumer concerns and their misconceptions about the Mexico Travel Alert and drug violence in Mexico.

Travel Weekly Editor in Chief Arnie Weissmann moderated the panel, which included Mike Going, president of Funjet Vacations; Steve Gorga, president of Travel Impressions; Mandy Chomat, vice president of sales and marketing for Karisma Hotels & Resorts; Carlos Behnsen, executive director of the Mexico Tourism Board; and Sal Ramos vice president of sales and marketing at Marival Resorts & Suites.

Because it’s a topic that affects all of us who love Mexico, whether we’re in the travel business or not, we wanted to share some of their thoughts:

“The U.S. Department of State’s Mexico Travel Alert has been broadly misinterpreted. The misinterpretation of the alert, not the actual violence in U.S./Mexico border towns, is what is affecting tourism to Mexico,” said Mike Going President of Funjet Vacations during yesterday’s discussion. “The intent of the alert is to advise travelers to use common sense precautions when in Mexico; it does not discourage people from vacationing in the destination.”

The U.S. State Department reassured on Friday, March 6, 2009, that despite previous warnings of Mexico’s ongoing drug violence, much of the country remains unscathed by running battles between security forces and rival drug cartels. Spokesman Gordon Duguid said violent activities are relatively confined. “We notice that many of the violent activities are localized in several different places. They are not general across the north of Mexico, let alone through… the entire country,” he said.

The panelists agreed that the concentration of violence in Mexico is hundreds, and in some cases thousands, of miles from main tourist destinations and that Mexico continues to be a fun, safe and amazing place to go on vacation.

Although the success of Funjet Vacations’ business relies on sending thousands of Americans to Mexico each year, Going stated that “We all have commercial interests, but this panel is representative and reflective of an industry that puts customer safety ahead of the bottom line.”

The Mexican government is also working to undo the damage of the negative press, sending out to subscribers of its VisitMexico.com website a series of newsletters with updates on popular destination spots, as well as details on the travel alerts, weather, safe travel tips, testimonials from travelers and more. I’m not quite sure I like the testimonial from Mr. Wallace, who focused on the lower drinking age, but hey, I was in college once. Now I’m a mom and I totally sound like one. Yikes!

Click here to take a look and send me your thoughts…

Recent Survey Results Support that Mexico is a Safe Tourist Destination

Results are contrary to media and consumers’ misconceptions
 March 17/PRNewswire/ — The recently updated Mexico Travel Alert has been broadly misinterpreted by media and consumers. The alert does not discourage U.S. citizens from traveling to Mexico, but instead encourages travelers to take common sense precautions to ensure that travel to Mexico is safe and enjoyable. To get a pulse on how vacationers who recently returned from Mexico felt about their safety and experience, The Mark Travel Corporation (parent company to Funjet Vacations) initiated and aggregated a consumer survey.

From March 6 – 15, 2009, more than 900 responses were received from travelers who took a vacation to Mexico between October 2008 and March 2009. The results were overwhelmingly positive with 97% of those surveyed indicating they would return to Mexico for another vacation and 90% of all respondents agreeing to the statement “I felt safe and secure.” Of the respondents who agreed to feeling safe and secure, 92% traveled in 2009 and 88% traveled in 2008, indicating that a growing number of travelers felt safe and secure in Mexico in 2009.

There were some travelers, only 9%, who indicated they felt unsafe at some time during their vacation in Mexico and less than 1% of respondents felt unsafe while on the resort property. The vast majority of reasons for feeling unsafe reflected isolated concerns that were not related to personal or physical safety.

The majority of respondents vacationed in Cancun/Riviera Maya, the most popular leisure destination in Mexico, which is more than 1,300 miles from the nearest U.S./Mexico border town referred to in the updated Mexico Travel Alert. Other respondents also vacationed in major tourist destinations including Puerto Vallarta, Cozumel, Los Cabos, Ixtapa, Acapulco and Mazatlan. These destinations are a minimum of 375 miles (the distance from Mazatlan to Chihuahua) from any U.S./Mexico border town. To view a map of Mexico that includes tourist destinations, border towns and mileage, visit Mexico-Update.com, a Web site recently launched by the Mexico Tourism Board to address travelers’ questions about travel and safety in Mexico.

“The survey respondents confirmed Funjet’s position that Mexico continues to be an amazing, safe and fun vacation destination. The results should give other travelers confidence to plan a Mexico vacation,” stated Mike Going, President of Funjet Vacations. “We encourage consumers to get the facts about the Mexico Travel Alert from their travel agent or Funjet.com/pressroom. The concentration of drug cartel violence that caused the U.S. Department of State to update the alert is hundreds, and in some cases thousands, of miles away from Cancun, Riviera Maya, Puerto Vallarta and other main tourist areas.”

There was no incentive or giveaway associated with the survey and travel agents were encouraged to send it to any of their clients who recently returned from Mexico and traveled with Funjet Vacations or another tour operator.

For more information on the Mexico Travel Alert consumers should contact a local travel agent, visit Funjet.com/pressroom or call 1-888-558-6654. To book a Funjet vacation to Mexico, travelers should contact their local travel agent.

 

MEXICO’S INNOVATIVE AND SCENIC PORTS UNITE AT THE 25TH ANNUAL CRUISE SHIPPING MIAMI CONVENTION (SEATRADE)

Miami Beach, FL, March 16TH, 2008 – Starting today, the Mexico Tourism Board is participating in the 25th annual Cruise Shipping Miami Convention. The event is taking place at the Miami Beach Convention Center until March 19th. Mexico’s pavilion will feature the most important Mexican Ports.

Members of the cruise industry will have the opportunity to learn about the variety and unique ports that Mexico has to offer, among them: Ensenada, Guaymas, Loreto / Santa Rosalía, Cabo San Lucas, Puerto Vallarta, Manzanillo, Chiapas, Huatulco, Tampico, Progreso, Mazatlán, Acapulco, Cozumel, Veracruz, Campeche, Tabasco and Costa Maya. Representatives from the respective ports will be on hand to discuss the latest news and improvements. A variety of dignitaries and secretaries of tourism from Mexico’s seaports will be present including: Javier Villarreal Teran, from Tamaulipas, Ivan Hillman from Veracruz, Paloma Rives from Tabasco, Juan Jose Martin from Yucatan, Juan Carlos Cal from Chiapas, Alberto Trevino from Baja California Sur, Sergio Marcelino Bravo from Colima, Aurelio Lopez Rocha from Jalisco and Hector Perez from Guerrero.

Promising and Exciting Panorama in the Mexican Cruise Industry

A very optimistic future is on its way for the Mexican Cruise industry with a grand infrastructure plan that includes building 13 new cruise installations in both established and newcomer destinations: Puerto Cortes, Cabo San Lucas, Loreto, Guaymas, Mazatlan, Puerto Vallarta, Manzanillo, Cozumel, Playa del Carmen and Punta Brava. Two of the installations, one in Puerto Vallarta, were inaugurated last year. Cruise ships started arriving at Guaymas’ new pier and terminal in October of 2008. Another development in Mazatlan is under construction, as well as in Manzanillo, which is in the bidding stages and a new terminal for Acapulco is also scheduled for 2009.

During 2008 Mexican ports received around 3 thousand cruises and welcomed an estimated of 6 million passengers.   Mexico has an incredible potential for exponential growth; the richness and diversity of the country plays a key role in the uniqueness of each destination.

The Ministry of Tourism, the port authorities in conjunction with the destinations are uniting strategies to maximize the potential of the Mexican ports. Their main goal is to highlight the unique features of each destination including their music, history, culture, gastronomy and the variety of activities found in each port.  Another important step is the collaboration and communication initiatives established among the Ministry of Tourism and local and state authorities in an effort to maintain every port informed of innovations, strategies and new developments.

A Sea of Cortes Route on its Way

The Sea of Cortes’ undeveloped coastlines offer an array of possibilities for a unique and exhilarating Cruise Route. Most of the 13 ports are expected to be located in: Puerto Cortes on the Pacific of Baja California, Cabo San Lucas, Loreto in the Sea of Cortes and Guaymas on the other side of the body of water. This year, the port of Topolobampo, on its 3rd cruise season south of Guaymas, is planning on receiving 12 visits from the Holland Americas Ryndam and 4 from the NCL’s Norwegian Sun.

Port of Cabo San Lucas

The Port of Cabo San Lucas has recently invested more than $204,582,439 dollars and has concluded an important remodeling of Tender Docks 1 and 2 for the reception of cruise passengers as well as a renovation of the wharf Pier.  Thanks to the enlargement of Tender Dock 5, they are now in position to receive the M.S. Mariner of the Seas.

Cruises Discover the Gulf of Mexico

Veracruz, Dos Bocas and Progreso, are new ports of call on the Gulf of Mexico for Holland America itineraries. On the 21st of April the major biodiversity region of Mexico will be open to the cruise passengers of the Zuiderdam. Among some of the main attractions visitors will encounter are Mayan and Olmec archeological sites and visits to the cocoa plantations.

Port of Progreso

Progreso is one of the fastest growing cruise ports of Mexico and in 2008 became the 6th largest cruise port in Mexico receiving 343,899 passengers in 2008, a shocking 43.5% more than the previous year. The unparalleled wonders that the state of Yucatan has to offer their guests include Mérida, an amazing colonial city; the archaeological sites of Dzibichaltun, Uxmal and Chichen Itza, the mystical capital of the Mayan civilization; incredible food and the warm hospitality of its citizens are attracting the interest of cruise travelers. The port is located on the northern shore of the Yucatan Peninsula in the heart of the Gulf of Mexico.

Mexican Caribbean Ports Working at Full Capacity

Once again the Mexican Caribbean cruise terminals and ports are operating at their full capacity.  Last October, the ports of Puerta Maya in Cozumel and Costa Maya in mainland Quintana Roo, began operations, offering two distinctive options to the cruise industry in the Caribbean.  Puerto Maya emerged as the first terminal in Mexico for the new generations of cruise ships.

Costa Maya

Costa Maya, one of Mexico’s largest cruise ports and an emerging destination, recently announced that Norwegian Cruise Line’s new ship, Epic, will make a maiden call to its shores beginning in the summer of 2010. After recovering from Hurricane Dean the Port reopened with several improvements to its infrastructure, and the neighboring fishing village of Mahahual.  Costa Maya’s new berthing station makes it one of only 4 ports worldwide with the capability to accommodate the next generation of cruise ships such as F3 and Genesis class types.

With acres of unspoiled coastal land and strong historic and cultural influences, Costa Maya offers visitors a true insight into the essence of Mayan culture and the colonial heritage of the Mexican Caribbean with all of today’s conveniences. Set against the deep turquoise sea, Costa Maya is comprised of three grand pavilions, artisan and luxury shopping areas, a beach club, saltwater pools, fine restaurants and bars, and all the resources necessary to explore the area’s surrounding jungle and coral reefs. Costa Maya introduces new and exciting tours from snorkeling at different levels, zip-lining, to jeep adventures, bike tours, to the more cultural activities that include visits to the ruins of Kohunlich & Dzibanche and tropical parks like Uchben Kah where history and nature meet.

The Mexican Riviera and the South Pacific welcome more cruises and passengers

The “Pacific Dream” of Pullmantur will depart on May 17th from Acapulco, visiting the exciting ports of Cabo San Lucas, Manzanillo, Ixtapa-Zihuatanejo and Puerto Vallarta. Attractive 7-day packages will be available for passengers to experience the spectacular coastline and unique attractions that each destination has to offer on the Pacific Coast.

Port of Chiapas Adventure, Ecotourism and Culture

Puerto Chiapas, on the border line with Guatemala, has become a very appealing cruise destination and expects its arrivals to increase in 2009 with 22 cruises.  The port is developing interesting routes to explore the coffee plantations and haciendas, the exotic flowers, the mangrove jungle, the ecological reserve of Izapa as well as the amber. With attractions that range from culture, to adventure and ecotourism, Chiapas is positioning itself as one of a kind.

About the Mexico Tourism Board

The Mexico Tourism Board (MTB) brings together the resources of federal and state governments, municipalities and private companies to promote Mexico’s tourism attractions and destinations internationally. Created in 1999, the MTB  is  Mexico’s  tourism  promotion  agency, and its participants include members  of  both  the  private  and  public  sectors.  The MTB has offices throughout    North    America,    Europe,   Japan    and   Latin   America.  For more information on destinations and online trip bookings please go to www.visitmexico.com .