Live From Cozumel

Funjet gives agents an eyewitness look

By: Jamie Wetherbe

Building on the success of “Riviera Maya Live” Funjet Vacations is offering travel agents another free virtual fam tour from Mexico. Broadcasting live from Cozumel daily April 3-7, destination experts from Funjet offer agents an insider’s look at the island post-Hurricane Wilma as well as deals and a chance to win prizes.

 “There’s a real need for us to help rebuild this destination,” said Tammy Lee of The Mark Travel Corporation, who is also the fam’s on-air host. “We want to catch travel agents’ and customers’ attention to make them feel comfortable about booking Cozumel.”

The interactive portion of the show includes trivia questions that will change each broadcast, allowing agent to earn up to 250 bonus "Funjets" and a chance to win a free trip to Cozumel and a diamond charm bracelet. In addition, if agents book before April 27, their clients will receive a free jeep rental for a day.

While there were minor glitches with Internet connection, Funjet's first virtual tours went off without a hitch. The 30- to 45-minute show, which broadcasted from the Miguel Plaza in the heart of Cozumel, started off with traditional dances and gave agents a look at the area’s hotels, restaurants, shopping, watersports and other activities.

As for the need to go live, officials feel the broadcasts lend credibility to the destination post-Wilma, and all of the footage agents see has been shot in the past two weeks.

“Agents have to feel that it’s real and honest not a commercial,” said Jay Jackson, president of Interactive Broadcasting Company Television, the Chicago-based company broadcasting the fam.

Despite the extensive damage, Cozumel has managed to rebuild quickly and clients will be hard-press to find traces of Wilma along the beaches and properties. In fact, all but one hotel has reopened many offering new features and improvements, and this if why officials felt it was the ideal time to try out this new technology.

“Cozumel is even more beautiful that it was before [the hurricane],” said Cozumel Mayor Gustavo Ortega Joaquin. “We hope to have a very good summer for us as a destination and for travel agents who will now have Cozumel back as a product.”

In December, about 12,000 agents logged on for Funjet’s virtual journey of the Riviera Maya and the company saw an increase in tourism in the following weeks. Officials expect 4,000 to 5,000 agents to tune in for the Cozumel fam, and on-demand and consumer versions will be available online come late April.

While this type of technology has been used in other business, including the medical field, this is the first time it has been used in the travel industry and could be just the tip of the “virtual” iceberg for Funjet Vacations. Possible future online fams could include Cancun, Puerto Vallarta and beyond.


Funjet Vacations' Cozumel Live showtimes (Central Time):

Monday, April 3: 1 p.m.  
Tuesday, April 4: 2 p.m.
Wednesday, April 5: 12 p.m.
Thursday, April 6: 11 a.m.
Friday, April 7: 11 a.m.

 Registration for Funjet Vacation's Cozumel virtual fam is free and available at