Saturday, October 16, 2010

Traveling Abroad Means Converting to the Local Currency, Right?

While Mexico has had a very liberal acceptance of US dollars for decades, the Mexican Government passed a new anti-money laundering law beginning September 14, 2010.

With this new law, the use of American dollars (CASH) to make purchases in Mexico will change. Other payment methods such as credit cards of all types and all issuing banks, Travelers Checks, Mexican pesos and non-American foreign currencies (such as Euros or Canadian dollars) are NOT affected in any way by this new law.

The most noticeable differences to my clients will be:

Hotels and exchange booths, and local banks will only be able to change a maximum of $1,500 USD CASH per person per month into Mexican pesos. Previously there was no limit.

Businesses (including restaurants, shops, and DMC's) will only be able to accept a maximum of $100 USD CASH per transaction -- but the number of transactions per customer is not restricted.

Certain businesses may not be able to, or may choose not to accept American dollars for any purchase at all (this may include shops, etc), however still accepting Mexican pesos.

If a client/customer wants to purchase an excursion (for example) that costs $150 US dollars per person, customers will only be able to pay $100 of this amount in USD CASH and the remainder will need to be in another form of payment (credit card, Mexican pesos, etc).

Airlines are advising that within Mexico, they will only accept Mexican pesos and credit cards for any fees (including baggage fees).

Vacationers should never carry large amounts of American dollars with them abroad, but instead they should consider either using a Credit Card, taking or locally withdrawing Mexican pesos from an ATM (very easy and convenient), or use Travelers Checks (of any currency).

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Princess Cruises Will Add Alaska Ship in 2012

After two years operating just three ships on its Voyage of the Glaciers route, today Princess Cruises announced that it will be returning a fourth ship to its signature itinerary for the 2012 summer season.

The decision by Princess to increase its Alaska capacity was prompted, in part, by recent changes to the head tax structure in the state and the more balanced approach to doing business in Alaska, according to the line.

"We are particularly appreciative of the efforts of Governor Sean Parnell and the Alaska state legislature that have resulted in meaningful progress toward resolving the challenges facing Alaska's recovery as a cruise destination," said Alan Buckelew, president and CEO of Princess Cruises. "We still have work to do, but the recent changes definitely played a part in this decision."

Buckelew pointed out that bringing a fourth ship back tot he Gulf of Alaska route has wide economic impacts from Southeast Alaska to Prudhoe Bay. "Because the one-way route lends itself to longer visitor stays, with visits to both the interior and Southeast Alaska, we calculate it has twice the potential economic impact of roundtrip cruises," he said.

"We are especially pleased to be able to announce this additional capacity to our business partners and supporters throughout Alaska who have worked tirelessly to advocate for a more positive business climate," Buckelew added. "They have improved the investment environment for all cruise lines and for all cruise dependent businesses throughout the state."

Princess' Voyage of the Glacier itinerary is the line's most popular Alaska itinerary, taking passengers between Vancouver and Whittier across the Gulf of Alaska with a visit to Glacier Bay and ports of call in the state's southeast. Because many passengers on this one-way route usually spend extra time in Alaska's interior utilizing Princess' lodges, rail and motorcoaches, this itinerary provides significant tourism benefits to the state.

Full details of Princess' 2012 Alaska deployment will be announced in spring 2011, including which ship will be added to the lineup.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Right Now It's the Hottest Destination in America

In The Florida Keys and Key West, the water's still warm, the sun's still shining and the average daily temperature is in the mid 70's. If you're looking for anything from an active family vacation to a romantic weekend getaway, there's something for everyone, all year round, in the Florida Keys.

...come as you are!!