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A Future in Ancient RuinsMay 1, 2008 By: Joe Pike Home-Based Travel Agent
Tulum could be a home-based agent's biggest Mexico sell within a year or two
Where to Stay
Perhaps Tulum's most popular resort is the 431-room Dreams Tulum Resort & Spa (www.dreamsresorts.com). The best room is the Presidential Suite, which has an oceanfront view and a private Jacuzzi. It includes champagne upon arrival, a king-size bed, living and dining area, private concierge service and other exclusive amenities and services. Agents can call Reservations Manager Gabriela Santiago at 011-52-984-871-3333 or e-mail [email protected].
El Dorado Seaside Suites by Karisma (www.karismahotels.com) is another popular choice. This 280-room resort is an adults-only property and faces the Mexican Caribbean. Book clients the Premium Suite. There are three of these and each comes with a king-size bed and rests on the oceanfront with a private pool. Agents can call Reservations Manager Veronica Quintanilla at 011-52-998-872-8035 or e-mail [email protected].
Eurostars Blue Tulum Resort & Spa (www.eurostarshotels.com/bluetulum) is a five-star, all-inclusive property. This resort is within walking distance of the ancient Mayan Pyramids of Tulum and has 96 suites. Tell clients to choose one of the Deluxe Oceanfront Suites (all of which include butlers trained by the Guild of Professional English Butlers to attend to every request). Agents should contact Oscar Valdovino, reservations manager, at 011-52-984-871-1000, ext. 6305 or e-mail [email protected].
Ana y Jose Charming Hotel & Spa (www.anayjose.com) is a 23-room resort located amid a Mayan jungle and surrounded by awe-inspiring landscape. Tell clients to choose the two-floor Villa Coba, which features its own private swimming pool. Agents can call Oscar Zermeno, reservations manager, at 011-52-998-880-6022 or e-mail [email protected].
Azulik by Ecotulum Resorts & Spas (www.azulik.com) is made up of 15 Beachfront Villas, each of which comes with a large private deck. The best is the Honeymoon Villa because it offers the nicest view. It is perched on the end of a cliff with a stairway to the beach. Agents can call Santiago Harrison, reservations manager, at 011-52-888-898-9922 or e-mail [email protected].
Operators and Packages
Continental Airlines Vacations (www.covacations.com), a major U.S. operator to Mexico, is offering a wide range of discounts and special offers on 2008 packages to Tulum. Offers include 25 percent discounts at Dreams Tulum Resort & Spa. Book by July 14 for travel between August 16 and December 19. Agents should e-mail Bruce Wood, general manager, at [email protected].
Apple Vacations (www.applevacations.com) offers complete vacation packages to Tulum as well as land-only vacations with a variety of meal options. Travel agents can earn from 8 to 15 percent commission on land-only or complete packages. Complete packages are mostly out of Chicago. Departures are also available from Detroit, St. Louis, Dallas and Denver. Pricing and durations may vary.
One package example is four nights in a junior suite at Gran Bahia Principe Coba (technically, this property is in Akumal, about 25 minutes away from Tulum) starting at $879.99 and including roundtrip air, transfers to and from the resort, all meals, drinks and non-motorized watersports. Another package includes four nights at Dreams Tulum Resort & Spa, starting at $999.99 with roundtrip air, transfers to and from the resort, all meals, drinks and non-motorized watersports. The land-only rate for four nights at Dreams Tulum Resort & Spa is $549, and $400 at Gran Bahia Principe Coba.
Add a Xel-Ha tour excursion to any Apple Vacations package for $132 per adult. This includes deluxe air-conditioned coach, professional guides, entrance fees, lunch, snacks, beverages, snorkeling gear, towels, lockers and taxes. Clients can take a tour of the ancient walled city built by the Mayans.
At Xel-Ha, clients enjoy natural pools and waterways into a natural aquarium where they can snorkel in calm waters or float in gentle currents. Travel agents can earn commission on pre-bookable tours. Agents can call 800-517-2000 or contact Laura McNulty, Apple Vacations' specialist, at 847-631-2616.
Aventuras Mayas (www.aventurasmayas.com.mx) is based in Playa Del Carmen and offers excursions that include a visit to the ruins of Tulum, canopy zip lines, snorkeling in underground rivers and coral reefs, all with a strong commitment to sustainable tourism. Home-based agents should call 011-52-984-803-2551 or e-mail [email protected].
Olympus Tours (www.olympus-tours.com), based in Playa del Carmen, opened in 1994 and has since become one of the largest ground operators in Mexico, operating a jungle eco-adventure tour in the Coba area. Home-based agents should call 011-52-984-9688 or e-mail [email protected].
Best Day Travel (www.bestday.com) is based in Cancun and offers a Tulum Caribbean Wonders tour that includes the area's archaeological sites, swimming and snorkeling on the beach and snacks. Home-based agents should call 011-52-998-287-3674.
Royale Tours (www.royaletours.com.mx) is based in Playa del Carmen and was established in 1994. This operator offers a wealth of tours in Mexico, including its signature Tulum Express tour. Home-based agents should call 011-52-984-873-0520 or e-mail [email protected].
All major carriers fly into Cancun International Airport, a two-hour drive from Tulum. A new airport is being built in Tulum and is tentatively scheduled to open in late 2009 or 2010. Real Resort to Open Two Tulum Properties
By the Numbers
Although the Riviera Maya Tourism Board doesn't break down statistics by specific destinations in the region, it goes without saying that Tulum has been responsible for a large chunk of the increase in tourism there. From 1995 to 2007, the Riviera Maya saw a whopping increase in visitors—from a mere 390,588 to a staggering 2.8 million. The biggest spike came recently when the region saw an increase of 453,908 people from 2006 to 2007. And here's the major reason why: This destination, according to agents we spoke to, used to be a spot for backpackers who would stay a night or two at any hotel. There were only 51 hotels and 1,470 rooms in 1995. But as the hotel product grew, so did the diversity of the clients going there—Riviera Maya now has 336 hotels and 34,765 rooms.
Tourism Board Information
To contact the Riviera Maya Tourism Board, home-based agents should call Javier Aranda Pedrero, tourism director, at 011-52-984-206-3150 or e-mail [email protected]. Home-based agents can also visit www.rivieramaya.com.