Published On: Sun, Mar 30th, 2014

Mérida welcomes travel agents from the U.S.

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American travel agents are gathering for a trade show in Merida, and taking in the best the city offers. This can be nothing other than a good thing for Yucatan’s near-term tourism prospects and, indirectly, property values.

As the governor of Yucatan and the secretary of tourism welcomed delegates from The American Society of Travel Agents, nearly 400 participants, including travel professionals, supplier representatives and tourism executives, immersed themselves in the gastronomy, culture and history of the region, and return home with a comprehensive understanding of the wonders of the Yucatan. Many will also earn destination specialist certificates.

“Merida isn’t a household name, no, but we chose Merida because it was off the beaten path,” Zane Kerby, ASTA president and CEO, told “It’s not a Cancun. The point is to send the agents home with a great story to tell.”

Education came by way of a series of seminars, such as “The Yucatan Experience… Where the Rubber Meets the Road -or-Where the Henequen Meets the Sac-be.”

This is your opportunity to learn from your colleagues and embrace the tools they have used to successfully attract clients to Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula. In this session you will hear from a variety of experts: boutique tour operator Stephanie Schneiderman of Tia Stephanie Tours, David Sterling of Los Dos Cooking School, Juanita Stein of Yucatan Today, Ben Gritzewsky, Mexico guru and Condé Nast Traveler’s Mexico Advisor, and expat Ralf Hollmann, founder of Lawson’s Original Yucatan Excursions.

Learn from their insider tips and hear their ideas about what makes Mérida and the surrounding area the destination of choice for so many foreigners. Come back from the conference recharged, renewed, enlightened and ready to SELL THE DESTINATION.

Hacienda Splendor
Haciendas in Mexico were the basis of an economic system begun by the Spaniards in the 16th century. Over time, Haciendas became symbols of wealth and culture with ornate colonial architecture adorned with furnishings and art from around the world.

The haciendas of Yucatan saw their heyday in the early 1900 when the local economy was booming due to the sisal fiber that was used to make rope, cord and twine. A trip to the Yucatan would be incomplete without visiting some of the most popular haciendas transformed into luxury hotels and restaurants within a few minutes’ drive of Merida. This session will highlight the keys to selling haciendas and turning your client’s interest into an amazing journey.


Subject Matter Experts Panel includes Jane Custer e-learning Editorial Manager Mexico & Latin America, Vacation Agent Magazine Christina Baker, owner of Hacienda Xcanatun, David Nava general manager of the The Haciendas, Luxury Collection of Starwood; Mary Liz Wheelis Hacienda Petac

Merida Chic
In this session you will learn what makes Merida so special and what unique features you can offer your clients looking for a different Yucatan experience.

Merida was geographically cut off from mainland Mexico until the 1950’s. Its wealthy residents had easier access to the U.S., Cuba and Europe than the rest of Mexico. This isolation sent the city’s affluent community traveling to Europe (particularly France), where they imported lavish goods and European styles. Merida became known as the “Paris to the West”.

Sumptuous mansions and palaces still line the elegant Paseo de Montejo, a tropical Champs Elysées just blocks from the main square. Today Merida is a cosmopolitan and cultural destination with world class attractions including museums, performing arts, historic houses, beautiful boutique hotel and haciendas as well as excellent shopping (Mayan art, sisal hammocks, unique native crafts).

Subject Matter Experts Panel includes: Santiago Gonzalez Abreu, Yucatan Tourism Board, Mr. Richard Westell, General Manager of the Hyatt Merida; Mr. Stefano Marcelletti, owner of Casa Lecanda; Mr. Carol Kolozs, owner of Rosas & Xocolate,

“It is a tremendous honor for us to partner with ASTA and host this immersive learning and networking experience for travel professionals,” said Mr. Saul Ancona, secretary of tourism of the state of Yucatan. “We look forward to reaping the rewards of having a trained, energized and motivated cadre of North American travel professionals that will showcase the wonders and value that the Yucatan offers.”

“Merida, the Yucatan Peninsula and Mexico are strategically important tourism partners,” said Zane Kerby, ASTA president and CEO. “I want to thank the Tourism Boards of Yucatan and Mexico for understanding the value of creating a hands-on training opportunity. It’s a win-win.
“Participating travel professionals will win by gaining first-hand experience about an amazing destination that will help expand their business and gain new clients, and the Yucatan will win from a growth in visitors to the region that this motivated and trained sales force will ultimately produce.”

Attendees are staying and holding meeting at the hotel zone’s big players: The Fiesta Americana, the Hyatt Regency and the Presidente InterContinental. The Mexican Tourist Board on Thursday hosted an opening reception was at La Quinta Montes Molina, a mansion on the Paseo de Montejo, and on Friday, the Yucatan Tourist Board hosted another reception, this time at the Mundo Maya Museum. Today is a tequila tasting at the Hyatt. Sometime in between they learned about all the incentives available for sending visitors to the region.


Mexico Travel Care




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