Mexico Eyes Business Tourism

Airlines increase frequency; hotels offer rooms with high-speed Internet and work areas

By: Barbara Correa

Mexico is targeting the business traveler as the key to keeping tourist dollars flowing south of the border as the industry continues its post-Sept. 11 recovery.

Starwood starts taking reservations at its first Latin American W Hotel in Mexico City in September. Located in the Polanco gallery and theater district, the W Mexico City features a Great Room that can hold 400 people for a meeting or 300 for dinner. All 237 rooms have work areas and high-speed data connections and a full-service Aveda spa.

Hilton Hotels is also expanding in Mexico. The chain opens a $10 million 150-room Hampton Inn in Torreon, Coahuila state, in May 2004.

Coahuila, best known as a center for agribusiness and maquiladora activity, has recently been luring more high-tech companies, said Maria Elena Mancha, director of the Mexico Tourism Board.

Torreon is particularly attractive to business tourists as Mexico’s only city with four golf courses.

Also in Torreon, the Camino Real Hotel Chain is opening a five-star executive resort in the lagoon region with 124 rooms and a 120-car garage.

Airlines are responding to the bump-up in travel to Mexico by beefing up flights to business and leisure places.

Starting July 7, Aeromexico began offering four flights a week from Ft. Lauderdale to Mexico City, and increased the number of weekly flights offered from Chicago to Mexico City to 18.

On July 10, Mexico’s largest airline also added new nonstop service from Orlando International Airport to Monterrey, Mexico, with continuing service to Guadalajara.

Also last month, Delta Airlines and Aeromexico launched code-share service from Ontario, California, to Los Cabos, Mexico, and from Las Vegas to Monterrey. Alaska Airlines has added daily service to Guadalajara from Los Angeles, increasing the number of its Mexican destinations to seven.