News From Jimm Budd In Mexico City

Mexican President in Vegas

Addressing the World Travel and Tourism Council in Las Vegas, Mexican President Felipe Calderon said that cities like Washington, Atlanta and New Orleans are more dangerous than any place in his own country. While nearly 35,000 people have died as drug smugglers battle each other, the Mexican military and police, the number of tourists caught up in such battles can be counted on the fingers of one hand, Calderon added.

Two for Cozumel

Cozumel Mayor Joaquin Gonzalez has announced that a firm headed by Donald Trump will invest 60 million dollars to build a 1,000-room resort with a golf course and a marina on Mexico’s largest Caribbean island. Hilton, he added, also will be coming in with a 200-room resort being built at a cost of five million dollars. This may be a major change for Cozumel, which was attracting tourists long before anyone had heard of Cancun. Once a favorite with scuba divers, Cozumel lately has become better known as a prime port of call for cruise ships. Almost all resorts on the island now are all-inclusive. What precisely are the plans of The Donald have yet to be announced, but apparently the project will keep him so busy that he cannot run for president.

Airport fees

Passengers may soon be required to pay airport use fees directly, one more step in the check-in process. This will also drive home what few notice: the fee is 14.90 dollars for domestic flights and 18.34 dollars for international travel. How these odd sums are set and why payment is in dollars, not pesos, has yet to be explained. At the moment, airlines collect these fees when selling tickets, but they have not been passing on what they collect to airport management. Aeroméxico is said to owe 130 million pesos. Financially troubled and grounded Aviacsa, which planned to return to the skies earlier tis month, was told that first it must pay the 90 million pesos it collected in fees but ever passed on to the Mexico City airport

Preclearance issue

Once again, the question is being raised about allowing the U.S. Border Protection Service to formally admit to the United States passengers still at Mexican airports. Preclearance, as it is called, is allowed in Canada and several Caribbean countries. It would facilitate direct flights to U. S. cities lacking international airports. Opponents, however, argue that the concept would trample on Mexican sovereignty and that authorization from Congress would be required. Although international travel to Mexico has been declining, observers doubt that Congress – in which no party holds a majority – will do anything to make the current administration look good. However, the airport at Los Cabos announced that next week it will be installing Global Entry kiosks to speed the processing of U. S. passengers who have paid a 100 dollar fee to demonstrate that they are not security risks.

Bidding for the Tianguis

Although Acapulco is still struggling to get back the annual Tianguis Turistico trade show, plans to stage it in different destinations have won wide approval. Acapulco had been the host city since the inception of the event in 1976. Now at least 22 potential hosts have announced their bids. And the winner is…?

More hotels planned

According to the Mexican Hotel Association, 665 million dolars will be invested in the construction of 63 hotels during the next pair of years. This takes into account plans announced by AMResorts, Quinta Inns, City Express, Starwood, the PosadasGroup and Hilton. The Tourism Ministry has announced that more than 900 million dollars were invested in tourism-related projects during the first quarter of 20111. This was an increase of 127 percent over last year.