News From Jimm Budd In D.F.

Volaris adds flights

While Interjet in five years has grown into Mexico’s second-largest airline, Volaris, which started about the same time, is much more international. The carrier now flies to Los Angeles, Fresno and San José in California, also Las Vegas, and has just inaugurated service to Chicago from Mexico City, with plans to add Chicago service from Zacatecas and Morelia. Most of its customers are what management calls ethnic, but anybody is welcome to buy a ticket.

Wyndham expansion

The Wyndham Group expects to open at least five more franchised properties in Mexico next year. Daniel del Olmo, managing director for Latin America, told a press group that Wyndham now has 32 hotels in the country, operating either as franchises or under management contracts. The group itself owns more than a dozen brands, including Ramada, Super 8, Days Inn, Howard Johnson and Travel Lodge. Del Olmo did not specify where the new ventures will be located.

Acapulco Film Festival

Sophia Loren and Alain Delon have promised to be on hand for the opening of the Acapulco Film Festival, which starts this week. The festival is an on and off event, first held in the 1960s. It is being revived in an attempt to revive Acapulco’s reputation as a glamorous hot spot. The resort has been overshadowed by Cancun, Los Cabos and others and been troubled by narcotics cartels battling for control of the area.

Los Cabos convention center

Work is scheduled to begin on a vast convention center that will house the annual G20 gathering next year. The Group of 20 takes in representatives of the top 20 economies in the world and Mexico is one of them. The center will cover 25,000 square meters and have seating for 9,000 people. Controversial, it is expected to change the profile of Los Cabos, a destination that until now has been regarded as exclusive and expensive.

Seeking the sick

Six million Americans spent 100 billion dollars obtaining health care abroad, according to Mexico City Mayor Marcelo Ebrard, who neglected to reveal the source of his statistics. What he did say is that Mexico City would like a bigger share of that market. Medical services, often provided by physicians and surgeons trained in the United States, cost anywhere from 30 to 50 percent less that in the United States.

Flying High

Air traffic grew by 18 percent during the third quarter, led by Interjet (117 %), Viva Aerobus (61 %) and Aeromar (21%), while Aeroméxico traffic was up by 15%.  Perhaps in recognition of its performance, Mexico was designated to coordinate the Tourism Group of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Forum (APEC). And Aeroméxico showed that it now carries more passengers to and from the United States than any other airline.  In other words, it beat out American and Continental/United for the first time.

Hotel Scene

Next year InterContinental Hotels plans to open Holiday Inns, Holiday Inns Express and Indigo hotels in Mexico City, Nogales, Guaymas, Puerto Vallarta and Acapulco.  These will be franchise operations with the buildings owned by Mexican investors who will operate their hotels according to Holiday Inn standards. At one time the master franchise belonged to Posadas de México, that is to say, Inns of Mexico. Posadas went on to develop its own brands and sold its rights to Holiday Inn. Posadas later bought Mexicana Airlines, which under its management sought bankruptcy protection. Now it is rumored that Posadas is up for sale.