Airlines Continue to Spread Wings Over Mexico

Airlines are responding to increasing U.S. and Canadian demand for service to Mexico by widening service options to the country’s many destinations. With greater air access, the airlines contribute to boosting international tourist arrivals.

During the past six months, a mix of major airlines and low-cost carriers in the United States and Canada have enhanced service schedules to different parts of Mexico through additional frequencies of existing routes and the launch of new services.

“That airlines across the board are increasing flight options to Mexico demonstrates the high degree of confidence the travel industry has in our country, and the interest travelers have in discovering Mexico for themselves. Mexicans are known around the world for their warmth and hospitality, and North American travelers will be welcomed with open arms,” said Magdalena Carral, CEO of the Mexico Tourism Board.

Expansion of air transportation inbound to Mexico is aligned with the goal of the Mexican government’s comprehensive, long-term tourism plan to increase the number of international visitors. With 21.9 million visitors in 2005, the country is ranked seventh as an international tourism destination according to World Tourism Organization figures released in June.

Among the airlines increasing flights is Delta Air Lines. In recent months, the Atlanta-based carrier initiated new non-stop service to Mexico destinations such as Acapulco, Merida, and Ixtapa from Atlanta; Mazatlan from Salt Lake City; and Puerto Vallarta and Acapulco from New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport.

Frontier Airlines another carrier on the forefront to expand service to Mexico, has announced plans to launch round-trip service between Denver and Guadalajara. The service will mark the eighth Mexican city to be served by Frontier. The four weekly flights to Guadalajara, slated to begin Dec. 22, are part of Denver-based Frontier’s plans to increase its Mexican service by 30 percent during the peak winter holiday season; Frontier will add flight frequencies from Denver to Cancun, Puerto Vallarta and Cabo San Lucas. Frontier announced that it will begin new, non-stop service between San Diego and Cancun with one flight weekly starting Dec. 16.

Adding three new Mexico routes this year, United Airlines’ most recent launch was in July connecting Chicago and Cancun. The carrier had initiated its Los Angeles-Cancun and Chicago’s-Puerto Vallarta routes in March. Together, United serves 16 routes between the United States and Mexico excluding two seasonal routes, Denver-Mexico City and Denver-Ixtapa, which run during the winter months. The new flights to Mexico are offered via the United and the airline’s low-cost counterpart, Ted.

Seasonal flight services to be added during the winter months will include American Airlines’ announced plans to start one round-trip, non-stop service weekly from JFK to Mexico’s San Jose del Cabo in the Baja California region, effective Dec. 16 through April 9, 2007. The legacy airline, which has been operating flights to the Mexico market since 1941, currently serves San Jose del Cabo with three flights daily from Dallas/Fort Worth, two daily from Los Angeles, and three weekly flights from Chicago.

Other flight additions to existing …

Is Vacation Travel to Mexico Safe?

With all the recent bad press regarding drug traffic related gang crimes in Mexico, one has to wonder if that Mexico vacation is still safe.

Peter Diaz, President of VoyageMonkey.com Online Travel, compares travel to Mexico with any travel within the United States.  Simply stated, “We all generally don’t take vacations to bad parts of Oakland California or South Central Los Angeles, yet we regularly hear about drug related crimes, gang violence and murders taking place right here in our own backyards.”  Yet we don’t question if travel in the United States is safe.

The facts are that travel to such popular Mexican destinations as Puerto Vallarta, Cabo San Lucas, Cancun and other tourist spots in Mexico is generally safe.  Most of the Mexican crimes in the press have been in the border towns and some of the larger cities.  Victims are generally other gang members and authorities.  Statistically this is not unusual when compared to the United States.  The press has capitalized on these stories, as is expected.  The event becomes a story and every news network puts their own spin on it, for days, or weeks, or months.

Several years ago a young woman named Natalee Holloway was murdered in Aruba and the press capitalized on it.  Diaz says “Aruba is one on the safest places to travel to in the Caribbean.  I would not think twice about vacationing in Aruba.”  The Natalee Holloway story was rare to Aruba, but travel to Aruba was affected.  The Natalle Holloway story still receives some press.

Another recent story involved a young girl on a cruise ship that was sexually assaulted.  Unfortunately, the young girl was allowed to wander the ship alone, unsupervised, in this floating city of 3,000 people.  Something parents generally don’t allow back at home.  The event turned into stories about how United States laws don’t protect cruise ship passenger and how cruise lines will not properly investigate and report crimes.  The cruise industry was attacked by the press and the safety of all cruise ships was questioned.  Travelers were asking if cruise ships were safe.

These stories should remind us as travelers that we should always be alert and stay out of risks way at home and abroad.   When traveling anywhere, using good common sense will keep you safe.  Always keep your children in your sight.  Stay in resort hotels and keep to the tourist areas.  Don’t walk alone at night (take a cab), don’t accept rides with questionable transportation, and always keep the alcohol consumption down and stay away from illegal drugs.  Going out drinking and clubbing at night always carries some risks.  Leave the Rolex watch and the flashy bling bling at home.

Mexico has some great travel destinations, excellent beaches, and the dollar is strong against the peso.  Travel to Mexico is down so the deals are really good.  We say, take that Mexico vacation and enjoy yourself.  Any of the destinations that have been developed as resort areas will be safe.  The local …