WestJet Kicks Off Toronto-Merida Service


WestJet today begins its weekly service from Toronto to the Yucatan Peninsula city of Merida, which becomes only the second interior Mexican city to see direct air service from this country.

The weekly service will run through winter and Dave Cecco, director, product, at WestJet Vacations, told a Monday audience in Toronto that the route’s apparent popularity has already necessitated switching from a plane capable of carrying 130 passengers to one able to carry 168.

WestJet Vacations is offering the all-inclusive Reef Club on the Beach, found on the nearby Gulf of Mexico, but Cecco noted that resort guests can book city tours of Merida, known for its colonial architecture.

“We want to be sure that nobody leaves [the state of] Yucatan without experiencing the city,” he said.

WestJet Vacations and local tourism officials alike are promoting Merida and the surrounding area as one that provides examples of outstanding colonial architecture, natural attributes and archeological sites, including such prominent Maya sites as Chichen Itza and Uxmal.

Indeed, Rodrigo Esponda, the Mexico Tourism Board’s director for Canada and the United States, told the audience that Merida is the “gateway to the Maya world,” with the surrounding area having many ruins tourists can visit.

Some 350 km of coast mean Yucatan has numerous beaches on coastal areas that provide a home for the likes of flamingos and other exotic birds, tourism authorities noted.

Cecco also said Merida is suited for more mainstream activities, including golf, with the Merida area having what he labelled “the best golf course in Latin America.”

Yucatan is enjoying hotel openings that have pushed its hotel room inventory to over 12,400 in a state that least year saw 1.5 million tourists spend at least one night there.

Merida also has a sizable expatriate Canadian population that tourism officials say underscores that Canadians enjoy the area and feel secure there.

Pictured are Ana Palacios Rodriguez, director of tourism promotion for Yucatan, Cecco and Esponda.