The Three Amigos

March 30th, 2006 by Steve Bridger filed under News

Despite feeling slightly uncomfortable about posting this so soon after my last (deeply troubling) post, I just couldn’t pass up on this one.

World Hum’s "Theodore Fez" dishes out style advice to the Fox/Bush/Harper three-way Cancún summit.

Ellen and Jim Fields say more on their Working Gringos blog.

The mystery of Room 4134

March 30th, 2006 by Steve Bridger filed under News

Kimberly Kim and Cheryl Everall, the two unlikely suspects in the murder of two of their fellow Canadians on the Riviera Maya have appealed to Prime Minister Harper to speak on their behalf with President Fox, reports the Toronto Star.

Front page of The Windsor Star, March 1st, 2006Domenico and Annunziata Ianiero were found in their hotel room with their throats cut on February 2oth.

Right: the front page of the Windsor Star for March 1st.

Newspaper editorials in Canada have slammed Mexican justice (a bit of an oxymoron) and even urged Canadian travellers to consider avoiding the country.

That would be sad… and serious for Mexico; the country is the No.3 destination (after the US and UK) for tourists from Canada. Canadians…

Domestic tourism props up Cancún in wake of Wilma

March 29th, 2006 by Steve Bridger filed under Cancún, News, Riviera Maya

As Cancún continues to rebuild and reinvent itself, a new study sheds some interesting light on how the hurricane’s impact has been felt in the resort.

Overall, the number of tourists staying in Cancún has fallen by 10 per cent since the October storm. But it could have been so much worse.

Playa del Carmen, March 2006  photo: Chantelle TuckerAn article [Spanish] in today’s La Jornada reports that researchers at La Salle University’s Institute of Tourism Research [website not available until April 3rd] in Cancún have identified that Mexicans themselves flooded in to nullify the slump in US visitors, whose numbers peeled back to a third of what they were before Wilma struck.

In the twelve months to January this year, domestic tourism…

In brief…

Bush joining spring breakers in CancúnChicago Tribune

Cancún in security lockdown for Bush visitReuters

Credit where credit’s due…

March 29th, 2006 by Steve Bridger filed under Cancún, News

Cancún’s rapid recovey from Hurricane Wilma is being held up as a role model for other destinations to follow.

The Secretary-General of the World Tourism Organisation (WTO), Francesco Frangialli said yesterday: "…the speed and efficiency shown in the recuperation of Cancún should be used as a blueprint for other countries facing similar threats."

Monsieur Frangialli is now in Acapulco for the annual “Tianguis Turístico” jamboree.

I would have to agree with the WTO’s assessment. Are you listening Mr Bush?

Getting Cancún ready for future battles

March 28th, 2006 by Steve Bridger filed under Cancún, News, Weather

I think it was Theodore Roosevelt who said "Nine-tenths of wisdom is being wise in time."

Storm coming - photo: Daniel PembrokeFive months on from Wilma, I’ve detected signs that some people are beginning to wonder what may be in store this year. The hurricane season starts in June, which somehow suddenly now seems just around the corner.

Right on cue, Sean Mattson poses some questions about hurricane preparedness in Cancún in an article for the San Antonio Express. He remarks on how insurers have announced higher premiums and are now more demanding of construction quality. You may recall that I wrote about it in January.

As they say in the Caribbean…

"June too soon, July stand by,

Walls of contention

March 27th, 2006 by Steve Bridger filed under Cancún, News

No, not the wall of sand that has preoccupied my posts recently, but the proposed 700-mile, $2.2 billion wall in the sand along a stretch of the US-Mexico border.

This thorny topic will no doubt find its way onto the agenda as President Fox prepares to host President Bush and Canadian Premier Stephen Harper for two days of talks in Cancún starting Thursday.

Guessing game

The venue of the talks remains a closely guarded secret, and as I reported last week, security has gradually ratcheted up.

The swanky Le Blanc Spa Resort looks likely to either host one of the leaders (most probably President Fox) or stage the summit itself.

Bush and…

Cenote secrets

March 22nd, 2006 by Steve Bridger filed under Diving, News, Sustainable tourism

On this, the final day of the World Water Forum in Mexico City, a salutary reminder of the need to protect the unique cenotes - or sinkholes – of the Yucatán.

Cenote - photoRob Birce of the Alma Libre Bookshop in Puerto Morelos tipped me off about Steve Gerrard’s new book, Cenotes of the Riviera Maya.

Thanks to Scott Clark for allowing me to publish his photo of a cave dive in Quintana Roo earlier this month.

Spotlight on

Mission beach

March 22nd, 2006 by Steve Bridger filed under Cancún, News

Secret service agents will stealthily sneak into Cancún this week in advance of the tri-lateral summit on 30/31st March. They will begin sweeping selected venues for potential hazards and x-raying walls, lamps, and brand-new puffed-up post-Wilma pillows for bugs.

No official word on where the talks will be held, of course… but the Grand Coral Beach, or other Fiesta Americana hotel look the most likely. Any ‘exclusion zone’ should not impact the beach recovery operation on the "wave" side of the Hotel Zone.

In brief…

March 17th - AP’s Julie Watson has written an article about how Cancún is peeling off the wet T-shirt in favour of the spa gown and slippers; turismo premium, I think the Mexico Tourism Board like to call it.

LeBlanc render lobby Spring breakers account for less than 1 percent of the approximately 3.5 million visitors expected in Cancún this year

Last year, Cancún was the No. 2 destination for spring break travelers booking their trips through, second only to Miami… This year, Cancún fell to eighth place.

In brief…

March 16th – More polemics over the possible environmental effects of Cancún’s beach reclamation project.

A contrary view – and those overseeing the project claim to have evidence – is that Hurricane Wilma was responsible for the damage, and not the dredging company, Jan de Nul.

Digging deeper into the sand trap

March 15th, 2006 by Steve Bridger filed under Cancún Beach Recovery, Cancún, News

The recent wind swell has abated and the beach transplant operation pushes on towards Punta Cancún.

But everything in its wake has changed, and there’s a bit of a hoo-hah over the suddenness that 10-20 metres of recovered beach washed away, leaving a ‘wall’ several feet high in places.

An article (language: Spanish) in today’s La Jornada features another photo.

Was this anticipated and factored into the models, or has Cancún suffered a setback? Frankly, it’s hard to make a judgment.

I sense some unease however, even from my long-distance vantage point.

The dredgers, bulldozers and tractors kept us all mesmerized for weeks – I said as much last month –…

Big on bluster but short on sand

March 14th, 2006 by Steve Bridger filed under Cancún Beach Recovery, Cancún, News

First the good news… recycled sand began to be pumped onto what was left of the beach at the Royal Sands complex on Monday. [Photo courtesy Royal Resorts]

But a few kilometres further south, all is not well.

La Jornada frontpage March 14th, 2006 After six weeks of spectacular progress (and unstinting positivity on my part), sections of the reclaimed beach have haemorrhaged sand after a few days of pounding waves.

Compare this photo of the recently ‘nourished’ beach that fronts the Royal Solaris hotel taken by Jim Wehrle on March 3rd, with another photo Jim captured on March 11th. The erosion is glaringly self evident.

Hoteliers must be observing the deterioration with increasing alarm, while bemused…

In brief…

March 12th – According to the Riviera Maya Tourism Board, 97.5% of the 26,209 hotel rooms on the Riviera Maya are now operating fully.

In the first week of March, average occupancy was 85%, only slightly down on the 93% registered for the same period in 2005.

In brief…

Laurence Iliff has put together a pretty balanced article about the region’s ongoing recovery for the Dallas Morning News – March 10th

I’ve been told that Señor Frog’s in Cancún will now re-open next Thursday, March 16th. This updates my February 3rd post.

In brief…

Anne Banas gives away some of Isla’s secrets in this article in USA Today - March 9th