Air Canada Vacations (ACV) and Quintana Roo's tourism board held an informative session for travel advisors on Tuesday (July 28th) with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Mexico and the Embassy of Mexico in Canada that addressed the reopening of Mexican Caribbean - the only region in Mexico with a Caribbean coastline.
The panel addressed a series of health and safety protocols along with helpful tips on what attractions are ready and available for tourists.
Marigold Frontuna, general sales manager, Western Canada, and Guy Marchand, general manager sales, Eastern Canada, represented ACV during the chat.
On June 15th, Air Canada resumed service into Cancun, and currently offers weekly flights to the destination from Toronto (YYZ) and Montreal (YUL).
"The reality is, our clients are choosing to travel today," said Frontuna. "Each week, we take a look at our load factors and our Cancun flights are operating anywhere from 75 to 95 per cent capacity. For those clients travelling today, they can be assured that Air Canada's commitment to health and safety has been elevated with the implementation of their new CarePLUS, along with Air Canada Vacations preventative measures in destination."
Canada: vital to Mexico's tourism industry
Canada is the second largest market for Mexico, as far as tourist numbers go, the first being the United States.
Approximately 2.3 million Canadian tourists visited Mexico in 2019.
"The trend before COVID-19 was extremely upwards," said Berenice Diaz-Ceballos, Consul General, Mexico, Vancouver. "In the last five years, Canadian tourism to Mexico grew 138 per cent. In 2019, around half of all Canadian tourists visited the Mexican Caribbean, which shows the importance of this destination for the Mexican tourism industry."
As it stands, the state of Quintana Roo, and all of Mexico, remains in the Orange Phase of its traffic light approach to reopening. This means that major aspects of the tourism and hospitality industry, like hotels and resorts, restaurants and bars, and major attractions, can only operate at a limited capacity.
Quintana Roo update
Quintana Roo is home to some of Mexico's most popular tourist spots, including Cancun, Playa del Carmen, and Tulum.
The total number of visitors to the entire region in 2019 was 22,858,402, and that includes cruise ship passengers, the tourism board said.
The following cruise ships have announced their return to Quintana Roo:
- Carnival Cruise Line: Oct. 1st
- Celebrity Cruises: Oct. 1st
- MSC Cruises: Oct. 1st
- Royal Caribbean Cruise Line: Oct. 1st
- Virgin: Oct. 17th
- Norwegian Cruise Line: October
- Disney Cruise Line: November
- Holland America: November
- Princess Cruises: Dec. 15th
The following attractions in Quintana Roo have also announced their reopening dates, as noted in the image below.
To help keep travel advisors informed on future announcements, the Quintana Roo Tourist Board has created a new e-learning program that provides interactive training to more than 7,000 travel advisors.
Available in six languages (English, French, Spanish, Germa, Dutch, and Portuguese), interested travel advisors can access the program here.
Early booking bonus & upcoming FAM trips
During the webinar, Frontuna shared a new Winter Early Booking Bonus that offers ACV's Carefree and CareFlex PLUS travel protection free of charge (regularly $99) and a refundable deposit of only $100 per person. The Winter EBB allows travel advisors to save their family clients $400, or $200 per couple.
The offer includes standard seat selection, year-round Price Drop Guarantee, StormGuard, a $50 waiver on administrative change fees, the flexibility to change or transfer a booking, and the ability to cancel with a full refund up until 25 days prior to departure.
Frontuna also shared that a series of select independent FAM trips to Mexico are back.
Travel advisors who book a FAM trip to select destinations in Mexico by Oct. 24th, 2020, pay only the taxes. All travel advisors are also permitted to bring a plus one.
Currently, Air Canada only flies to Cancun from Toronto and Montreal twice weekly, however, there are 54 connecting cities across the country, providing an opportunity for travel advisors coast-to-coast.
To sign up for a FAM to Mexico, advisors are invited to fill out this form. Once the form is submitted, an Air Canada Vacations inside sales representative will review and confirm if the request has been approved.
Travel advisors will then receive an email with the next steps on how to book.
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