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Tuesday, January 31, 2023

Chilled Canadians finding sunny deals to Mexico, Cuba

Many avoiding the United States, even for a layover

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Mexico, Sinaloa state, Mazatlan, the playa Olas Altas
Mazatlan, including its playa Olas Altas, is enjoying a comeback. Photo: Getty

From the center of Canada, where it’s -14F/-26C this morning, travelers are inquiring about Mexico and Cuba while some are insisting on no stopovers in the United States.

Direct flights and the exchange rate are key considerations for Manitobans, travel experts told the Winnipeg Free Press.

“A lot of people are driven by price, so whatever the best price is (will be their choice),” said Amanda Tulloch, a travel counselor with SellOffVacations. “Puerto Vallarta is a really good price nine times out of 10.”

Mazatlan is experiencing a resurgence, Tulloch said. Cruise ships returned to Mazatlan about five years ago, and Sunwing started direct flights two years ago.

“The Mayan Riviera, Puerto Vallarta and Cuba are seeming to be the top inquiries this year,” said Melanie Carter, CAA Manitoba’s vice president of customer experience. “These destinations all have direct flights from Winnipeg and are easy to get to.”

“Because Jamaica and Dominican Republic have direct flights out of Winnipeg as well, they’re still quite popular. Los Cabos has a direct flight (from Winnipeg) as well,” she added.

Cuba is also very popular, especially Varadero, said Ken Mar, the owner of Marlin Travel.

Hawaii, Florida and California are still visited by Manitoba travelers but local travel experts said U.S. destinations are less popular than a few years ago due to both the political climate and the U.S.-Canadian exchange rate.

“It hasn’t been overwhelming, but we’ve noticed some people are avoiding travel to the U.S. compared to before this (U.S. President Donald Trump’s) administration,” Carter said.

Tulloch said she’s had people say they don’t even want to go into the country.

“I’ve definitely had a lot of people say, ‘No stopovers in the U.S.’ or anything like that,” Tulloch said. “It (travel to the U.S.) has been a definite decline. From Winnipeg, we have one direct flight on Saturdays with Sunwing to Orlando, so that plane is still full because (the Walt Disney World resort) is right there.”

Source: Winnipeg Free Press

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