Any time a country or region imposes any sort of visa stipulation - even if it’s a waiver - the travel industry sighs a collective groan, knowing the obstacles and headaches to come.
TORONTO — Clients looking for value this winter will find it in Mexico, says Fernanda Rosas, Deputy Director for the Mexico Tourism Board in Canada.
With the struggling Canadian dollar, “it’s way more price-competitive to go to Mexico than to, say, the U.S.,” says Rosas.
The Canadian market is very important to Mexico, she added. “We believe in this market.”
The Mexico Tourism Board is investing $9.5 million in this market, focusing on key gateways including Vancouver, Calgary, Winnipeg, Ottawa, Toronto, Quebec City and Montreal. This winter some 25 Canadian gateways will offer flights to 13 Mexican destinations.
Canadian air arrivals were up 3.6% in 2014 versus 2013, said Rosas. More than one million Canadian visitors headed to Mexico last year.
Mexico showcased Yucatan last night at an industry event in Toronto. WestJet Vacations’ Director, Product, Dave Cecco was on hand to tell agents about Merida, Yucatan’s capital and largest city. WestJet Vacations’ Merida program includes the Hyatt Regency Merida, the Presidente InterContinental and the Fiesta Americana, all four-star properties. Cecco reiterated Rosas’ value message. “A one-week stay at these resorts can be had for under $1,100 per person, taxes included. That’s $400 or $500 less than an equivalent hotel in Cancun or Riviera Maya,” he said.
Merida’s not on the coast, so it’s not for every client. But the beach at Progreso is less than an hour away. Merida is also home to a Jack Nicklaus-designed golf course, making it a great destination for golfers. WestJet Vacations will have preferred rates for golfers, as low as $80 per round (compared to the average regular cost of $250).
“Snowbirds have been keeping Merida a secret for a long time,” said Cecco.
WestJet’s Kim Barbisan, Sales Representative for Southwest and North Ontario, took agents through some of the highlights of the 2015-2016 brochure, now available to order from Envoy (envoynetworks.ca). “You told us that last year’s brochure didn’t work for us. We listened to the trade. We want to make it easier for you to deal with us,” she said.
Barbisan reminded agents that the new WestJet Plus seating will come with a blocked middle seat on 737 service starting this month. Agents can also earn commission on WestJet Vacations packages when clients pay with WestJet dollars, as part of WestJet Rewards. She also encouraged agents to check out bookplusandwin.com before the contest wraps up Sept. 30.
Barbisan is a fan of Merida too. “For me it’s a cross between Puerto Vallarta and Huatulco,” she said. “It’s an amazing place.”