MEXICO TOURISM BOARD AND TRAVELOCITY TO GIVE AWAY EIGHT VACATION PRIZES TO POPULAR MEXICO TOURISM DESTINATIONS

MIAMI, October 30, 2010 – The Mexico Tourism Board (MTB) and Travelocity have teamed up to offer their Facebook fans a chance to win one of eight Mexico vacation prizes that will be given away through “Travelocity/Mexico Hide & Seek,” an online Facebook sweepstakes.

The contest, taking place between Nov. 1, 2010 and Nov. 17, 2010, will follow the Travelocity Roaming Gnome® as he hides in seven popular Mexico destinations. To participate, contestants must “like” the Mexico Tourism Board’s Facebook page at www.facebook.com/wevisitmexico and the Travelocity Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/travelocity.

“With nearly eight million visitors from the U.S. reaching Mexico by air in 2009 and many of them choosing to use Travelocity to book their trips, the Mexico Tourism Board is pleased to be working with Travelocity to offer travelers a chance to win one of these fantastic vacation opportunities,” said Steve Austin, Chief Marketing Officer of the Mexico Tourism Board.

“Mexico is one of the most popular destinations with our customers, so we are extremely excited about this contest,” said Noreen Henry, Senior Vice President Global Partner Services, Travelocity. “We have a strong relationship with the Mexico Tourism Board and this contest is definitely a great way to use social media to showcase the unique aspects of the destination.”

Every two days, in an application appearing on both Facebook pages, the Roaming Gnome will post a photo of himself in a Mexico location, along with a clue as to his whereabouts. Fans will have 48 hours to guess where the Roaming Gnome is hiding before his location is revealed at 9:00 a.m. PT two days later. Any entrant who guessed the Roaming Gnome’s location correctly will be entered into a drawing for a chance to win a three-night premier hotel stay in the revealed location and winners will be notified immediately by e-mail.

At the end of the contest, all participants — regardless of whether or not they correctly guessed any locations — will be entered into a drawing to win the grand prize: two roundtrip business class tickets to Cabo San Lucas, Mexico on Aeromexico, from any of their United States or Canadian gateway cities and five-night accommodations for two at the all-inclusive Melia Cabo Real in Los Cabos, Mexico.

Mexico is one of the world’s leading tourist destinations ranking tenth worldwide in international tourist arrivals and the most popular international tourism destination for Americans.

For contest rules and regulations please visit www.facebook.com/travelocity or www.facebook.com/wevisitmexico and click on “Official Rules.”

About Travelocity Global

Travelocity® is committed to being the traveler’s champion — before, during and after the trip – and provides the most comprehensive and proactive guarantee in the industry (http://www.travelocity.com/guarantee). This customer-driven focus, backed by 24/7 live phone support, competitive prices and powerful shopping technology has made Travelocity one of the largest travel companies in the world. Travelocity also owns and operates: Travelocity Business® for corporate travel; igougo.com, a leading online travel community; lastminute.com, a leader in European online travel; and ZUJI, a leader in Asia-Pacific online travel. Travelocity is owned by Sabre Holdings Corporation, a world leader in travel marketing and distribution.

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 functions as an executive agency of Mexico’s Tourism Secretariat, with autonomous management and the broad participation of the private sector. The MTB has offices throughout North America, Europe, Asia and Latin America.

Southwest Airlines to Offer International Service to Five Mexico Cities With Launch of Volaris Partnership

Carrier Introduces New International Connect Product

DALLAS, Oct. 28 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ — Southwest Airlines is excited to launch a new product that allows Customers to book international flights by connecting with Volaris, Mexico’s second-largest airline. Starting Nov. 12, Customers can book service from 20 Southwest cities to five Volaris Mexican destinations (Cancun, Guadalajara, Morelia, Toluca/Mexico City, and Zacatecas), for travel starting Dec. 1. The new service will connect through Los Angeles International Airport, Oakland International Airport, and San Jose International Airport and will create up to 85 additional flight itineraries. For a complete list of possible routes, click here: http://swamedia.com/presskits/connecting-to-mexico-with-volaris
As Volaris grows, additional Southwest cities will open international destinations, continuing Southwest’s commitment to network expansion. To learn more about the carrier’s international connect product, check out Southwest’s blog at www.blogsouthwest.com.

“In 2008, we announced our intent to offer Customers international service by utilizing a partnership with Volaris. Today, we are proud to introduce our one-of-a-kind connecting product that will foster Southwest’s growth by providing Customers the ability to book international destinations to Volaris’ expanded network,” said Bob Jordan, Executive Vice President of Strategy and Planning for Southwest Airlines.  “This is an important day for Southwest and Volaris Employees; we have worked diligently to create a unique product that will uphold our high levels of Customer Service, stimulate additional revenue for both carriers, and offer great new destinations for both airlines’ Customers.”

The connecting service will provide Southwest and Volaris Customers a convenient transaction and travel experience. Southwest’s international connect portal will conduct two separate transactions, one with Southwest’s reservations system and one with Volaris’ reservations system. The newly developed technology will connect the two transactions and provide Customers with an easy booking experience and one low fare. Customers traveling on an international connection will be required to check in with each carrier, but luggage will be transferred by the airlines and delivered to the final destination. Southwest Customers can book travel and learn more about Volaris’ service, policies, and procedures at www.southwest.com/Mexico.

“We are proud of the great work both airlines have completed in the past two years.  This partnership will strengthen our growth strategy and will solidify our service in the United States,” said Enrique Beltranena, CEO of Volaris.  “The objective of this partnership is to provide a convenient and affordable itinerary for our Customers, while offering a higher level of service on both sides of the border.” 

Southwest has created an international desk staffed with bilingual Customer Service Agents to support this effort. Customers can call 1-888-329-8776 for assistance with their travel.  If calling internationally, Customers can use 011-888-829-8776.

About Volaris
Volaris is a Mexican high-efficiency airline aimed at offering customers a unique travel experience—starting with the easy ticket purchasing process right through the On-Time Guarantee on all flights. With 21 Airbus A320 family aircraft, Volaris has the youngest and most modern fleet in Mexico reaching 24 airports and 35 routes across the country. From the start of operations in March 2006, the airline guarantees travelers comfort and reliability delivered by more than 1,500 employees making up the Volaris family and dedicated to strengthening the airline’s commitment to excellent service and single-class treatment in a human way.

About Southwest Airlines
After nearly 40 years of service, Southwest Airlines (NYSE: LUV) continues to differentiate itself from other low fare carriers—offering a reliable product with exemplary Customer Service.  Southwest Airlines is the nation’s largest carrier in terms of originating domestic passengers boarded, now serving 69 cities in 35 states. Beginning March 13, 2011, the airline will initiate service in Charleston and Greenville/Spartanburg, South Carolina. Southwest also is one of the most honored airlines in the world known for its commitment to the triple bottom line of Performance, People, and Planet.  To read more about how Southwest is doing its part to be a good citizen, visit southwest.com/cares to read the Southwest Airlines One Report™.  Based in Dallas, Southwest currently operates more than 3,200 flights a day and has nearly 35,000 Employees systemwide.

American Airlines to Begin Seasonal Saturday Service Between Chicago and Cozumel, Mexico

New Flight Will Take Away Cold Winter Chill for Chicagoans and fellow Midwesterners

CHICAGO /PRNewswire/ — American Airlines is launching new service from Chicago to Cozumel, Mexico. The Saturday-only service will begin on Saturday, Feb. 12, and will run through April 2. The flight will return to American’s schedule for the winter season in November 2011.

“We’re very excited to be offering this new flight from Chicago O’Hare to Cozumel,” said Tom Aichele, American’s Vice President – Central Division Passenger Sales. “Midwesterners enjoy traveling to Mexico and other sunny, warm destinations during the cold winter months and this new flight will give them yet another location to enjoy.”

Here is the schedule:
From Chicago to Cozumel:
AA 1867 Departs 9:50 a.m. Arrives 1:40 p.m.
From Cozumel to Chicago:
AA 1870 Departs 2:45 p.m. Arrives 6:35 p.m.

The new route will be flown using American’s 160-seat 737-800 aircraft, which offers 16 First Class Seats and 144 Economy Class seats.  The airline’s Next-Gen 737s offer new slimline seats in the Economy cabin, featuring adjustable headrests and additional leg and knee room.  The aircraft also have additional power ports and digital entertainment systems.

From Chicago, American also offers service to other destinations in Mexico – Acapulco, Cancun, San Jose del Cabo, Puerto Vallarta and, starting Dec. 16, daily nonstop service to Mexico City.

About American Airlines

American Airlines, American Eagle and AmericanConnection® serve 250 cities in 40 countries with, on average, more than 3,400 daily flights. The combined network fleet numbers more than 900 aircraft. American’s award-winning website, AA.com®, provides users with easy access to check and book fares, plus personalized news, information and travel offers. American Airlines is a founding member of the oneworld® Alliance, which brings together some of the best and biggest names in the airline business, enabling them to offer their customers more services and benefits than any airline can provide on its own. Together, its members serve nearly 700 destinations in more than 130 countries and territories. American Airlines, Inc. and American Eagle Airlines, Inc. are subsidiaries of AMR Corporation. AmericanAirlines, American Eagle, AmericanConnection, AA.com, We know why you fly and AAdvantage are trademarks of American Airlines, Inc. (NYSE: AMR)

CANCUN CELEBRATES THE DAY OF THE DEAD

Cancun, Quintana Roo, October 25th, 2010 – The Caribbean paradise of Cancun attracts tourists year-round with its sunshine and breathtaking turquoise waters. But during November, the destination lights up with vibrant colors, music and mysticism to celebrate the traditional Day of the Dead, “Día de Muertos”, or as it is known within the Mayan tradition, “Hanal Pixán”.

While the popular holiday of Halloween is celebrated on October 31st, with costume parties and haunted houses, Mexico celebrates the Day of the Dead on November 1st and the 2nd. The tradition suggests the belief that between October 31st and the day of the celebration, the souls of the dearly departed roam the earth to enjoy the pleasures they had in their earthly life. The holiday is meant to honor those who have passed, and celebrate their life.

As a result of the mixing of cultures and their Catholic and Mayan antecedents, the days of the dead are a time of great family togetherness in which the whole family take part and everyone is involved.

Throughout the state of Quintana Roo, “Hanal Pixan” -as the Day of the Dead is known within the Mayan tradition- is one of the most significant traditions, due to all the preparations involved: the building of beautiful altars, adorned with palm crosses, candles, drinks, pictures and the “deceased’s”  favorite food comes to life. During “Hanal Pixan”, people pray and sing, sweep the yards and paint the walls to receive the dead with full honors.

Gastronomically, “Hanal Pixan” is a celebration that bursts with flavor. Large portions of the best dishes are prepared, with the idea that the souls enjoy earthly pleasures such as food. Proof of this is the Mucbipollo, from the Mayan “Pib” which means “buried” and is a tamale or corn cake stuffed with chicken, sauce, broth and spices, cooked in a hole in the ground and covered with banana leaves. All the food is arranged on the altars for the souls to have their feast. The belief dictates that the offered food looses its flavor and nutrients by the next day.

All these customs and traditions can be experienced in Cancun throughout the 5th Festival of Life and Death Tradition, created by Xcaret Park. This Year, the state of Chiapas will be added to the event as a special guest, offering a display of their artwork, music and crafts used to celebrate this holiday.

The 33 communities participating in the event, share with tourists their traditions and beliefs from a first hand experience through theatrical performances, concerts, gatherings, games and more than 200 activities in 13 different forums. The 685 artists performing have gathered a wealth of stories, tales and legends under the theme “200 years of life and death” as part of the bicentennial year of Mexico’s independence.

Day of the dead was declared in 2003 as a World’s Cultural Heritage Site by UNESCO, due to the importance it has on Mexican indigenous communities’ everyday lives regarding the different dimensions and perceptions of death.

The Cancun Convention and Visitors Bureau invites visitors to take part in the tradition that surrounds “Hanal Pixan” “Feast of Souls”, from the number one tourist destination in Mexico.

Mazatlán Applauds The Arts With Eclectic 2010 Cultural Series

MAZATLÁN, Mexico (Oct. 20, 2010) – Mazatlán kicks off its travel season with music, art and dance, as city and state cultural organizations join forces to present an arts extravaganza that runs October through December 2010. The three-month-long series takes travelers and locals on a cultural journey – showcasing opera, ballet, folkloric and contemporary dance, film, concerts, art exhibits, poetry, plays, children’s shows, and more – in unique historical venues.

“Mazatlán is proud of its rich cultural heritage,” says Carlos Berdegué, vice president of the Mazatlán Hotel Association. “We continually strive to provide world-class entertainment filled with color and joy. Travelers and locals here are treated to an eclectic calendar of performances, with most events taking place in Old Mazatlán, the city’s charming historic district.”

Located in the heart of Old Mazatlán, Teatro Angela Peralta (Angela Peralta Theater) is the city’s cultural hub. This landmark theater, built in the 19th-century, has been lovingly restored to its original grandeur by the city and its residents. With its fanciful neo-classical architecture and 21st-century comforts, the Angela Peralta treats audiences to all kinds of performances: ballets, operas, musicals, films, art exhibits, comedies, and concerts from classical to jazz and pop, among others.

The destination’s 2010 cultural series premiered this month at the Angela Peralta with a tango show, “Milonguera,” sponsored by the Sociedad Artistica Sinaloense (Artistic Sinaloa Society). At center stage was Mora Godoy, the acclaimed Argentine dancer who has performed alongside legends, from Israeli conductor and pianist Daniel Baremboim to the Rolling Stones. Mora maintains the tango’s beauty and power, while adding a modern twist with her dramatic original dance form, tango-ballet.

Also this month, the Angela Peralta was filled with the music of local choral groups, Guillermo Sarabia’s Choir and the City’s Arts and Center Children’s Choir, comprised of talented young singers, ages of 8 – 17. In a performance promoted by the Institute of Culture, Tourism and Art of Mazatlán, the singers wowed the crowd with songs from Latin American folklore and traditional Mexican hits.

The enchantment continues throughout the fall and winter at the Angela Peralta, home to Delfos Contemporary Dance Company, one of Latin America’s most significant contemporary dance companies. Fluency and poetry are the keynotes of a dance signature that has won over international audiences and earned the company commissions for opera, television and video. Delfos treats travelers and locals to frequent performances at the Angela Peralta throughout the travel season.

Lovers of fine art will find much to explore Fridays throughout November, when Old Mazatlán’s art galleries open their doors for free tours, exhibit debuts, and lectures by visiting and local artists. These art walks feature dynamic displays of photography, paintings and sculptures in neoclassical buildings refurbished to house the city’s art galleries.

Music and art spill onto the cobblestone streets of Old Mazatlán as well, with picturesque Republic Plaza and Machado Plaza as the sites for free outdoor concerts and jazz performances, all part of Mazatlán’s standing ovation for the arts. To find out more about this vibrant destination, visit http://www.gomazatlan.com/ .

EXPERTS SHARE EXPERIENCES ON CLIMATE CHANGE AND TOURISM

Cancun, Quintana Roo. October 18, 2010- As part of the activities to support COP 16, members of the Initiative for a Low Carbon Tourism for Quintana Roo invited members of the tourism sector to participate in the state’s seminar on updated climate change issues entitled “Low Carbon Tourism.”

The seminar, which took place at the Fiarmont Mayakoba on Friday, October 8th, 2010, included the participation of international and national speakers that presented information about climate change and the actions taken by organizations.

The opening statement was given by Mr. Jose Luis Funes, representative in the Northern Zone of Quintana Roo from the Ministry of Urban Development and Environment of the State Government, who mentioned that Quintana Roo is vulnerable to the effects of the climate change and also mentioned some actions from the state government, like the creation of the State Plan of Climate Action, together with Quintana Roo University.

During the series of lectures, the necessity to confront this global challenge was evident, due to the effects already shown in the region. David Zarate, regional expert on Climate Change, shared some thoughts about these impacts “The sea level will arise up to 70 cm. towards the end of the century in the Gulf of Mexico and the Mexican Caribbean. This situation puts the human infrastructure and coastal ecosystem to great danger. The shrinking effect of the coastal line will be critical in the plains as well as in the lower coastal zones” mentioned Zarate.

The climate change also had effects on important ecosystems, such as the coral reefs.  Nadia Blood, from the WWF office in Belize mentioned the urgency to diminish the emission of greenhouse gases to the atmosphere, because with a raise of 2° C in the global temperature, this ecosystem could be close to extinction.

Facing urgency to act, the seminar discussed concrete actions that companies and other dependencies are taking in order to stop the emission of greenhouse gas effect and adapt themselves to the effects of the climate change; Carolina Chavez Oropeza, From the Federal Tourism Secretary, showed the goals to which this sector has committed in the Special Program of Climate Change, pointing out the need to create an inventory of greenhouse effect gasses and develop vulnerability studies for tourism destinations.

Participation of businesses is vital in the process of diminishing greenhouse gas effect in the sector, which generates 5% of the global emission. That’s why companies should assume their leadership in this subject.  Matt Blanks, Officer from the Climate Change Program of the World Fund for Nature, WWF-US showed the work that leader companies have done throughout the program Climate Savers from WWF, and mentioned that thanks to improvements in the processes of the companies enrolled in the program, they diminished up to 14 million of tons of CO2 a year in 2010. Banks added that the companies have two options: evade their responsibilities and assume the upcoming consequences, or take responsibilities now and make a quick transformation towards a future lower in carbon while experiencing the benefits of having taken leadership in the subject.

After that, three tourism companies that operate in the state, showed their leadership in the subject from the past couple of years; Sara Dayboll, from Fairmont pointed out the commitment assumed when becoming partners with the WWF Climate Savers Program, in order to reduce their greenhouse effect gasses emissions in a 20% to 2013. Maximillian Lenkh, from Banyan Tree, also showed his corporate commitment to reduce annual consumption of water and energy in 10% from the Hotel Chain, and gave examples of social projects like scholarship programs being developed in their different destinations; Finally, Elizabeth Lugo, from Parque Xel-Há,  was very proud to be the first eco-touristic park in the world to have an Earth Check (one of the most well-known environmental certifications in the tourism industry) and to have their carbon trail measured, which is of 0.5 tons of CO2 per visitor a year. “It is very important for us to show what we have accomplished in the past 15 years of operation in the park, we doing trying to motivate and show other companies the right way to sustainability.” He said.

On the other hand, Vicente Ferreyra Acosta, Sustainable Tourism Coordinator for WWF in Cancún, created the presentation of the Initiative for a Low Carbon Tourism for the State of Quintana Roo, a multifaceted effort with the objective of providing information and solutions in the matter of diminishing greenhouse gas effects and adaptation to the climate change effects; to finalize the event, the open dialogue table started with a preliminary  discussion about the challenges of the tourism sector in Quintana Roo facing the climate change. The conclusions of the Tourism and Climate Change Seminary, point out that a joint effort is very important, together with private companies, government and society organizations and advance towards low carbon tourism, with clear action in matters of diminishing, with concrete propositions regarding adaptation to this phenomena.

With the completion of this seminar, the tourism industry in Cancun and Riviera Maya has more information to meet the challenges of climate change and prepare to establish clear commitments towards COP 16 and then continue to lead the way to a Low Carbon Tourism.