Mexi-GO! Travel and Trade Expo 2012 in Vancouver

Canadians are flocking to Mexico

April 24th, 2012 │ VANCOUVER BC, CANADA.- Partnering with ProMexico, Mexico Tourism Board and the Mexican Consulate, Mexi-GO! (Mexi-Go Properties Inc. and Canadian Marketing Strategies S. de R.L de CV) will hold a two-day tradeshow in downtown Vancouver, BC that will showcase travel and business opportunities in Mexico to a 10,000 strong Canadian audience. Held during the Fourth Annual MexicoFest event (www.mexicofest.ca) the Mexi-Go! Travel & Trade Expo is a unique event that brings travel, art and craft, food, music, business and real estate opportunities to Canadians at home before they make their travel plans.

Held on September 7th and 8th, 2012 on the waterfront in downtown Vancouver in the new state-of-the-art Vancouver Convention Centre. Exhibitors and attendees will enjoy a spectacular setting and an informative, fun-filled two days.

Canada is Mexico’s second largest trading partner; sees over 1.7 million Canadian travelers each year and is Canada’s number one international retirement destination. With the coming of age of the Baby Boomer generation it is expected that over one million Canadians will retire to Mexico on a part-time or full-time basis in the next fifteen years. The Canadian traveler spends more time and more money in Mexico than any other nationality.

Mexi-Go! is a Canadian and Mexican partnership that offers comprehensive online marketing solutions to businesses looking to increase their Canadian market share through publications, direct marketing and events. For more information on the Mexi-GO! Travel & Trade Expo email joel@mexi-go.ca

Exhibitor, sponsorship and speaking opportunities are available. www.mexi-go.ca

Contact:
Veronica Rivas
Marketing and Public Relations
Veronica@mexi-go.ca, 778-996-2845

Yucatan Program Helps Maya Children Attend School

Maya Children in CholulBy Jeanine Kitchel — Most people come to Mexico for sun and sand.  But lately it seems there’s a fair share of both travelers and expats who are doing a whole lot more than soaking up the rays.  Take Jill Allison from Seattle, for instance.

She’d read Greg Mortenson’s Three Cups of Tea and wanted to give something back.  So after landing in Merida in 2010 where she’d planned to spend extended vacation time, she happened onto edúcaTE.  It’s a program that helps children in the Yucatan receive an education when their parents cannot afford to send them to school, and it was sorely in need of funding and on the verge of shutting down.  It had 19 students under its wing.

To save the program, she needed to find someone local to run it.  That person was visual and ceramic artist Katrin Schikora.  Schikora lives in Cholul, a pueblo near Merida, where edúcaTE is located.  Then Schikora called on her friend Cheri Pittillo for help.  The three formed a bond and decided they were good to go.  Allison returned to the US and started registering the program as a charitable organization and non-profit.  Schikora and Pittillo, local Yucatan residents, started tinkering with the charity to see how they could make it work.

The simplicity of the program and what it accomplishes is probably what hooked Allison in the first place.  While the Mexican government provides children a free public education, it does not cover expenses of mandatory uniforms, specific footwear, and school supplies, thus children living in poverty often can’t attend school because of the additional expenses.  EdúcaTE picks up these costs and now has 45 children in the program who couldn’t have gone to school before.

Now registered as a non-profit both in Mexico and the US, the current focus of edúcaTE’s work is in Cholul.  Katrin Schikora, executive director, explained how she was drawn into the budding organization.  She wanted to do something for the disadvantaged population in Cholul, which she said was a small pueblo when she moved to Mexico 20 years ago.  Of late, large houses are becoming more common, and in a town with many advantages, she knew there were also people who had nothing to eat.  This program was a beginning, a way to help the local people.

With a staff of eight volunteers Schikora set up headquarters in her ceramics studio.  Schikora said the main emphasis of the program is to pay for children’s school costs, to give tutorials in math and physics for secondary students, and to give all types of tutorials for the primary grades.

Many tutorials deal with learning English as a second language and one of her goals is to set up a more advanced language program that could be coordinated with volunteers.  She feels this would also help kids improve their academic levels.  She said often children will have little support from their parents as they want the children to go to work rather than school.  So it’s a struggle for many in the program to even be there.

Another part of edúcaTE’s emphasis it to give breakfasts to needy children in the group.  The charity realizes that kids cannot learn if they are hungry.  This part of the program is funded in part by the Merida Men’s Club, an informal group mostly comprised of expats that meets once a month.  Donations are made for the program whenever the club meets, but oftentimes those donations do not cover all breakfast costs.  EdúcaTE has 25 places for breakfasts and feeds kids in primary grades, four through six, as the government provides food for the lower grades.

Schikora, who trained as an art therapist, said her goal is to be able to assimilate students into an integral development, and take them to exhibitions and on excursions.  She has lots of plans.

Presently the program is in need of new sponsors for next year and there is already a waiting list of 40 children.  The selection process is done by word of mouth, and children are vetted through home visits to see if they qualify for the program.  One of Schikora’s volunteers is her lifeline to the town, Doña Chula.  She knows the entire village, said Schikora, and with a questionnaire, figures out a socio-economic study on the basis of the home visit, the child’s grades and the family’s need.

More sponsors are needed to keep on track with what has already been accomplished.  A rather unique way they’ve upped sponsorship was started by some older expats who travel back and forth to the Yucatan each year from the US.  They’ve begun giving their grandchildren a sponsorship of a Cholul student as a gift rather than buying them presents for Christmas or birthdays. In this way the child plugs in early as to how to help others, and can see the progress made through edúcaTE’s website, or through notes written to them by the children in school.  Check out the website at  www.educateyucatan.org/ for info on how to sponsor children through the organization.  A $140/US donation will sponsor one student in grades one through six for one year.

Pyramids and Prophecies – A Closer Look at Uxmal and Other Mayan Mysteries

By: Lisa Coleman

Now that 2012 is upon us, it seems the Mayan culture has become more intriguing than ever. Mexico’s Yucatán Peninsula is known as the “Land of the Maya” and it stands as a tribute to one of the most prolific and fascinating civilizations the world has ever known. The ruins of complex ancient cities are scattered throughout dense jungles and lush rolling hillsides. But it’s here, in the state that shares its name with the region, the magic and enchantment of the Mayan world are at their most brilliant. If you have a week (or more), a trip to Yucatán to explore these treasures will be an adventure you’ll never forget.

Having seen a number of archeological sites throughout Mexico, I can honestly say that Uxmal (oosh-mahl) is my personal favorite.  There is a certain energy here that I’ve never felt at the sites that seem to get a bit more tourist traffic. There never seems to be much of a crowd here, which makes it all the more alluring.

Uxmal

Uxmal is located 58 miles south of Mérida, along what is called La Ruta Puuc.  “Puuc” means “hills” in Maya, so a fair translation would be “the hilly route.” The archeological sites found along this route include Uxmal, Kabáh, Labná, and Sayil. Puuc also defines the architectural style of these particular sites whose structures are characterized by elaborate and ornate façades quarried from stone in the region. Puuc architecture is also identified by the lower blocks of the buildings being plain while the upper levels are highly decorated and often have representations of the Mayan rain god, Chaac.

Architecturally speaking, Uxmal is said to be one of the most significant sites in the ancient world. Founded around 700 A.D., Uxmal (meaning “three times built”) was created in various stages and many of the buildings are stacked in layers of stone. The centerpiece is the extraordinary 115-foot tall “Pyramid of the Magician,” which is actually five temples layered on top of one another. This is absolutely one of the most breathtaking sites in all of Mexico. It’s almost surreal to stand in front of it and try to conceive of what it might have taken to construct. On the day we were there, a breeze rustled the trees and perfect, puffy clouds made every photograph look like a postcard.

Once you move past the awe of the pyramid, you’ll make your way to the “Nun’s Quadrangle.” This is a huge open plaza flanked by four (almost perfectly preserved) massive buildings with 74 rooms and carved stone doorways.  Given its name by Spanish explorers who thought it resembled a convent, the quadrangle is thought to have been a palace for one of Uxmal’s prominent kings.

The “Governor’s Palace” is another of this site’s many treasures and almost rivals the main pyramid on the “awe” scale. Some archeologists consider this structure the “most spectacular single building in all pre-Columbian America.” This enormous building (320 feet long) is situated on five terraced acres and is covered with some 20,000 intricate stone carvings.  If you stand far enough way, you can see stone masks of the rain god, Chaac (103 of them to be exact) woven into the design.  At the front of the building, a jaguar throne made of stone implies this may have been the home to chiefs or kings.

Just behind the palace, it’s worth the 260 foot climb to the top of the “Great Pyramid” to take a look at the Temple of the Macaws.  Not to mention incredible views of all Uxmal.

After leaving Uxmal, we had a chance to visit the Mayan village of Santa Elena. Seemingly lost in time, this village is still home to many Mayan families who practice the traditions of their culture. We went to the humble home of Azaria and Hernán. I am sure they have a last name, but their warm, welcoming smiles were all we really needed to know. She spoke in Mayan (which to me resembled something similar to Navajo or Apache) as they showed us around their single room palapa home.  Hammocks are strung across room for sleeping, and an altar sits in front of one of the walls. Their altar is a fascinating mixture of Mayan figurines and Catholic icons, something that is very common throughout the region.


The kitchen is in a detached palapa located a few steps from the “main house,” and Azaria is happy to cook us up some incredible fresh corn tortillas. Hernán shows us the rest of the homestead, careful to explain all the plants and what they are used for. They have some henequén plants on the property and he makes fast work of the fibers to show us how he makes rope by hand. It was a humbling and beautiful experience to be at their home.

Azaria in the kitchen
Hernan making rope

Our last stop of the day was to meet with Mr. Don Gaspar Xiu –a local celebrity, author, professor and former President of the Supreme Maya Council. He is the descendent of a dynasty of Mayan kings and is a notable authority the culture.  Mr. Xiu’s lineage links him to the last Xiu king that governed Uxmal and he has spoken about Mayas both in and outside of Mexico. Mr. Xiu has been a huge force behind the resurgence of Mayan culture in his native state of Yucatán and has become a well known speaker and presenter as well.

Don Gaspar Xiu

I am very interested in all the press and speculation about the meaning of 2012…and Mr. Xiu was more than happy to explain and to assure me the world is not ending. The Maya were very complex people, as is their calendar, which consists of symbolic and symmetrically grouped time-periods.  December 21, 2012 signifies the end long count calendar and a unit of time known as a “katún.” So in actuality, the end of 2012 is a new beginning… the beginning of a new katún.  The Mayan katún predictions are cyclic and each new katún brings a new idea and a new energy for the world. As this katún begins, the prediction is for a new awareness and a brand new path for humanity.

Even through a translator, it was fascinating to listen to Mr. Xiu. He talked gently about the cycle of life that is so important to the Mayas. He says the culture is intricately tied to “warnings about both good and bad things” – what we call prophecies. The Mayan people could see disasters coming and so could predict what would happen to Earth during the change of cycles. Mr. Xiu feels this “new beginning” is a chance for people of the world to have a fresh start.   “Our message to the world is to live a peaceful coexistence, to respect the rights of others, to love one another without bearing grudges and hatred in order to prepare ourselves for the world of tomorrow that will come in the next 2012 cycle registered in the Mayan prophecies. Hatred, power supremacy, human exploitation, envy and grudges must end. Humans are not a product of power, but of humans.”

We could all benefit from this Mayan wisdom. If you have a chance to visit the Yucatán during this magical year, indulge yourself in the pyramids, prophecies and all the energy that is a part of this extraordinary culture.

 

ACAPULCO PARTNERS WITH TOP TRAVEL PROVIDERS FOLLOWING TIANGUIS TURISTICO

Joint-Partnerships to Increase Package Offerings, Deals and More to Mexico’s Most Renowned Beach Destination

Acapulco, Mexico – Following a successful showing at the annual Tianguis Turistico trade show in Puerto Vallarta this past March, the Acapulco Destination Marketing Office is pleased to announce partnerships with the following airlines, wholesalers and service provides in the US, Canada and abroad: MLT Vacations, Sunwing, Nolitours, GoGo, Total Vacations, Travelocity, Expedia, Best Day, Viajes Orizonia (Spain), Euroandino (Chile), Aviatur (Colombia), Aeromar (Mexico), and Palacio de Hierro (Mexico).

“We are very excited to move forward in 2012 with the partnerships formed as a result of this year’s Tianguis tradeshow as well as our efforts through Acapulco’s new revitalization program, which aims to educate the consumer on the great strides being make within the destination,” said Pedro Haces Sordo, President of the Acapulco Destination Marketing Office. “Acapulco is on the rise. In addition to new investments being made, hotel occupancy levels for the  Easter holiday weekend – also known as Semana Santa in Mexico – were at 100% throughout the destination from Thursday through Sunday. This further proves that travelers are keeping Acapulco top of mind and that the destination continues to improve and increase our average hotel occupancy level on a daily basis.”

The partnerships are a direct result of Acapulco’s new consumer, tourism campaign that combines digital communications, social media and on-the-ground efforts to change the overall perception of Acapulco. The destination’s new English language website – rememberacapulco.com – commenced the launch of the campaign, rebranded to reflect the timeless glamour of Acapulco captured in the new guidebook, Acuérdate de Acapulco (Remember Acapulco).
A magical combination of incredible beauty and hypnotic charm, Acapulco is Mexico’s largest and most dazzling seaside resort attracting over nine million visitors annually.  Acapulco is exotic yet easily accessible by direct or convenient connections via all major airline carriers from gateway cities across the U.S. For more information about Acapulco, visit rememberacapulco.com.

ROYAL CARIBBEAN WILL DOCK IN PUERTO VALLARTA WITH THE VISION OF THE SEAS

Royal Caribbean International today announced the opening of Vision of the Seas’ winter 2012-13 Caribbean season for sale. Vacationers can choose among 19 Caribbean and Panama Canal cruise vacations, ranging from 10 to 15 nights and sailing roundtrip from Port Everglades in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. Vision of the Seas’ new seasonal itineraries are destination rich and visit smaller Caribbean islands less traveled by the cruise line’s larger ships.
In response to customer demand, Royal Caribbean is offering Panama Canal-transit sailings aboard Vision of the Seas, all of which will dock in two very important Mexican ports, Puerto Vallarta in Jalisco and Cabo San Lucas in Baja California Sur. The Vision of the Seas can carry up to 2,000 passengers and 750 employees, which represents an important economic impact for said destinations.

The four itineraries will sail through the Panama Canal, one of the largest and most difficult engineering projects ever undertaken, allowing for quicker and safer passage of ships between the Atlantic and Pacific oceans. Two 14-night Panama Canal itineraries will sail from Port Everglades and San Diego on Oct. 5 and 19, 2012 respectively. Two 15-night sailings on March 18 and April 2, 2013 also depart Port Everglades and San Diego, respectively.
10-night Eastern Caribbean itineraries features calls at Tortola, St. Maarten, Dominica, Antigua, St. Kitts, St. Croix and Martinique. Vacationers also can choose variations of an 11-night Southern Caribbean itinerary aboard Vision of the Seas, calling at Antigua, St. Lucia, Barbados, Grenada, Bonaire, Aruba, St. Kitts, Dominica, and St. Vincent – a maiden port for Royal Caribbean. On a very special holidays and New Year’s cruise, departing Dec. 24, 2012, guests will visit St. Kitts, St. Lucia, Barbados, St. Vincent, Martinique and Labadee, Royal Caribbean’s private beach destination in Haiti.

VISION OF THE SEAS TRANSATLANTIC
Additionally, vacationers can experience the grand tradition of a trans-Atlantic crossing between the ‘old’ and ‘new worlds’ on two sailings aboard Vision of the Seas. A 14-night westbound itinerary sails on September 21, 2012, from Southampton, England, to Port Everglades, calling at Gijon and Vigo, Spain; Lisbon, Portugal; and Ponta Delgada, Azores. The 13-night eastbound itinerary sails on April 17, 2013, from Port Everglades to Southampton, England, calling at Lisbon; Vigo, Spain; and Normandy (Le Havre), a French gateway to Paris.

 

ENJOY THE VISION OF THE SEAS TO THE MAX
Vision of the Seas features two acres of dazzling glass walls, offering guests sweeping vistas of the Caribbean and the landscapes surrounding the Panama Canal.

 

Guests can try their hand at the ships’ iconic rock-climbing walls for an even more thrilling view from the ship’s highest point and choose a rejuvenating spa treatment in the Vision Day Spa. Younger guests will be entertained and enlightened in the cruise line’s award-winning Adventure Ocean and teen programming, with scheduled activities led by college-graduate counselors from 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 a.m. or later.
In the evenings, guests can enjoy the cruise lines award-winning Broadway-style musical revues from Royal Caribbean Productions shows; try their hand in the Casino Royale; and reflect on the day’s experiences in multiple onboard bars and lounges over cocktails. Throughout, all guests enjoy Royal Caribbean’s friendly and engaging Gold Anchor Service 24 hours a day.

 

Royal Caribbean International is a global cruise brand with 22 innovative ships, calling on more than 270 destinations in 72 countries across six continents. The line also offers unique cruise tour land packages in Alaska, Canada, Dubai, Europe, and Australia and New Zealand.

 

Royal Caribbean provides a world-class vacation experience with a wide range of signature onboard amenities, entertainment, and award-winning family programming. The cruise line has a 40-year history of giving guests the Royal Advantage – the most innovative cruise ships, exciting itineraries to popular destinations, and world-renowned friendly and engaging Gold Anchor Service. Royal Caribbean has been voted “Best Cruise Line Overall” for nine consecutive years in the Travel Weekly Readers’ Choice Awards. For additional information or to make reservations, call your travel agent, visit www.RoyalCaribbean.com or call (800) ROYAL-CARIBBEAN. Follow Royal Caribbean on Facebook at www.Facebook.com/RoyalCaribbean or on Twitter, @RoyalCaribbean. Travel professionals should visit www.cruisingpower.com or call (800) 327-2056.

 

AirTran Airways Awarded Route Approval for Flights Between Chicago Midway and Cancun

Southwest Airlines (NYSE: LUV) today announced that its wholly owned subsidiary AirTran Airways received route authority from the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) to operate new international flights between Chicago Midway International Airport and Cancun International Airport.  AirTran will offer one daily nonstop flight between the two cities beginning on June 3, 2012, subject to Mexican government approval.  The flights can be booked today at www.airtran.com.

“We are excited to offer all AirTran Airways Customers this new opportunity to travel to Mexico,” said Bob Jordan, Southwest Airlines’ Executive Vice President and Chief Commercial Officer and AirTran Airways President. “The additional international service to Cancun is a great example of how Customers are already realizing the benefits of Southwest’s acquisition of  AirTran.”

With a current average of 246 daily departures at Chicago Midway, the combined AirTran/Southwest is the second largest carrier in the Chicago region. AirTran and Southwest currently operate nonstop service between Chicago Midway and a total of 58 cities.

Southwest and AirTran express their sincere gratitude to the DOT for awarding this authority to AirTran, and to the City of Chicago for its enthusiastic support of the new service.

ABOUT SOUTHWEST
Southwest Airlines 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 and has acquired AirTran Airways, now a wholly owned subsidiary of Southwest Airlines Co. Southwest serves 73 cities in 38 states and remains 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 more than 37,000 Employees.

ABOUT AIRTRAN
Southwest’s acquisition of AirTran, which closed on May 2, 2011, significantly expanded Southwest’s low-fare service to more Customers in more domestic markets, creating hundreds of additional low-fare itineraries for the traveling public.   AirTran Airways, a wholly owned subsidiary of Southwest Airlines Co., has been ranked the top airline in the Airline Quality Rating study three times in the past five years. The airline’s low-cost, high-quality product also includes assigned seating and Business Class. To book a flight, visit airtran.com.

About.com Readers Name The ROYAL Playa del Carmen the Best All-Inclusive Resort

CANCUN, RIVIERA MAYA, Mexico, April 4, 2012 /PRNewswire/ — The readers of About.com have spoken and the results are in:  The ROYAL Playa del Carmen is voted as The Best All-Inclusive Resort in Mexico, beating out all other competitors.

The About.com Readers’ Choice Awards showcases the best in hundreds of categories across About.com, from technology to hobbies to travel. About.com asks its readers to nominate their favorites in seven different categories in Mexico Travel. From the many nominations five finalists were selected in each category. Readers then voted for their favorites among the finalists. Thousands of votes were cast, and the winners were determined.

In naming The ROYAL Playa del Carmen as Mexico’s Best All-Inclusive Resort About.com reported, “”The ROYAL Playa del Carmen is a beautiful resort. The second you step into the main lobby, you know that you are in paradise. The resort has the most breathtaking views, provides excellent service 24/7 and has the friendliest staff ready to fulfill your every need. This is truly a 5 star resort.”

The luxury-gourmet, all-inclusive all-suite, all-adult ROYAL Playa del Carmen is located on a beautiful stretch of Mexico’s Riviera Maya beach.  The hotel is one hour south of Cancun and is the only five-star all-inclusive resort that is beachfront yet steps from the quaint town of Playa del Carmen and its famous 5th Avenue shopping and nightlife.  It is designed for the most discerning guests seeking a truly romantic experience and offers service from the heart.  Guests may choose from an array of warmly appointed suites with features that include ROYAL® bedding, double Jacuzzi tubs, in-room adult beverage bars with premium liquors, a choice of aromatherapy candles, a flat screen TV and a Bose sound system equipped for an iPod.

Guests enjoy signature touches including private butlers to help unpack and press a few items of clothing; complimentary room service; a Romance Concierge who will assist with the special planning of private events such as a moonlight beach dinner for two; Beach Butlers to keep you cool and comfortable; and gourmet dining at a selection of international a la carte and buffet restaurants that feature show cooking stations and nouvelle cuisine.

For relaxation the resort recommends its signature SPAzul, with holistic services including a traditional Mayan Temezcal ceremony.  For more information and reservations please see a travel agent or online at www.RealResorts.com

Real Resorts is a privately owned hotel company in Mexico.  It owns and operates four all-inclusive resorts in Cancun and Playa del Carmen under “THE ROYAL”, and Gran brands, which appeal to a wide range of lifestyles. THE ROYAL in Cancun and THE ROYAL Playa del Carmen offer luxury-gourmet, all-inclusive, all-suite accommodations and attentive service for adults only.  Reservations can be made through a travel agent or by calling 800-800-760-0944. For more information visit online at: www.RealResorts.com.