Mérida, Yucatán — When the new Aeromar Mayan route is inaugurated on June 27, the airline will have tripled its flights into Merida, Cancun, Villahermosa and Tuxtla Gutierrez.
With this, Aeromar holds claim to “Airline of the Mayan World,” anticipating more than 4,000 passengers per month to Mérida and the Mundo Maya.
This will go a long way to remind travelers that Mexico represents more than beach vacations.
When searching for more adventurous destinations, American and Canadian travelers tend to opt for more far-flung destinations such as Southeast Asia and South America. But what they seek is right under their noses for a fraction of the cost, writes Travel Weekly.
It doesn’t help that many of Mexico’s interior destinations are tougher to get to. But Aeromar’s new flight agreement changes that.
In March, the Acapulco Tianguis Turistico — a huge tourist fair — made history with a big announcement from Lourdes Berho, at the time the CEO of the Mexico Tourism Board.
Oaxaca and Mundo Maya, which consists of Campeche, Chiapas, Quintana Roo, Tabasco and Yucatán, struck a partnership with Aeromar airlines to open these destinations to tourists.
“The Mayan World and [the state of] Oaxaca both have a wealth of tourism offerings — archaeology, culture, nature, beach, gastronomy — all representing an infinite number of possibilities and experiences,” said Berho. “It was critical to reduce travel times between the key sites in the Maya World and offer [travelers] more time to explore and experience.”
“This program provides increased access and connectivity to an area of Mexico that is among the richest and most diverse in the globe, the Maya World,” according to the tourism board. “This is the first time we are connecting the destinations with Maya sites and making it very easy for travelers to explore this ancient culture in this way.”
The increased access and visibility will position the country to appeal to a larger and broader audience in many different markets globally, but it is expected to have its greatest impact in attracting U.S. travelers.
Aeromar’s partners include United, Virgin Atlantic, AirBerlin, Thomas Cook, AirEuropa, Tailwind Airlines and Air France, all of which have direct routes.
Two routes from Cancun will launch in the next couple of months, as well. Aeromar will start a Cancun-Merida route June 27, and a Cancun-Campeche flight will begin July 6. Round trip prices for the Cancun-Mérida flight were roughly 2800 pesos or US$154, with just over an hour in the air. Two flights a day were initially offered.
The airline will launch promotional activities in each of the Maya World states and Oaxaca, which include a Maya World Aeromar brand presence at international trade fairs and educational seminars.
In addition, Aeromar is partnering with Conexstur, a tour operator association, to launch MayanPass, a travel program offering itineraries of five, 10 and 15 segments, which range in price from $425 to $1,125. The MayanPass enables visitors to book their destination up to 24 hours in advance of traveling. The minimum and maximum stay for the passes is seven and 45 days, respectively.
Since 2013, Mexico’s international tourism has grown at an annual average of 10%, and the tourism board considers the partnership with Aeromar crucial to reaching its goal of attracting 50 million international visitors to Mexico by 2021.
“Travelers today seek adventure, biodiversity, culture, gastronomy and history, and this is exactly who we are going after,” said a spokesperson for the Mexico Tourism Board. “The Maya World tourism offering, which has started to roll out, consists of increased flights to destinations across various states that have many different and diverse offerings for both first-timers and Mexico-seasoned travelers to experience.”
Mexico’s interior destinations will attract “culture seekers, wildlife seekers, people who want off-the-beaten-path experiences and people who want to get away from the crowds,” Zachary Rabinor, CEO of Journey Mexico, told Travel Weekly.