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by Patricia O'Toole

Congratulations to the organizers Nancy and Marg for another joy filled day of providing toys for families who are less fortunate. For the past few years the section known as "The Blue Chairs" on Los Muertos Beach have held this fabulous event.

People were lined up waiting for the time that the children could go in and pick out a toy.

What an exciting day it was. Christmas day in the "Blue Chair" section where there were several Palapas with all kinds of toys hanging from them. There was Strawberry Shortcake dolls, bears, soccer balls and many other toys adding to the excitement of the children waiting in line to come in.
The children who were wide eyed and waiting patiently were allowed to go through the section – four at a time and were helped by a volunteer to choose their present. The first toy to go was a large "Strawberry Shortcake" doll by a little girl who had trouble carrying it because she was so small. I was humbled by the children's animated smiles as they chose their gift. The second "Strawberry Shortcake" doll soon followed.

The most popular gift by far was the soccer ball.
Girls and boys of different ages chose one. Large Teddy bears and large stuffed animals were second.

Cameras were flashing by many bystanders and organizers who were cheering with the children as they passed through the toy laden Palapas with huge smiles on their faces.

The REAL success was that EVERY child that came was able to walk away with something special. They ask for so little and the Blue Chairs along with volunteers helped create a touch of magic for these families today. Now this is what Christmas is really about!
Many thanks to everyone who volunteered and donated their time and toys; there are so many names to mention, however, I must point out a few who manage somehow to create this thrilling day for these families for the past several years! They are: Nancy/Marg, Nashville who orchestrated this event this year, Cheryl/Roy, Dallas, Nigel/Jordie, Vancouver, Canada, Fred/Steve, New Jersey, Julian/Phillip, New York, Elaine/Jessie, Vancouver, Canada, Don/Steve, Seattle.

Honourable mention goes to a couple of guys named Dan and Todd who apparently spearheaded this organization years ago but were unable to make it this year.

Thank you ALL for giving so much of your time and heart to these people, we the public and those who received your gifts are touched by your generosity.

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The Lower Mainland’s alternative passenger airport is spreading its wings in an attempt to take a larger share of the region’s commercial air travel market.

Earlier this week, Abbotsford International Airport (YXX) announced that its airport improvement fees would be dropped by 50 per cent. In addition, fees for aircraft parking, loading bridge connection and bag-handling have been eliminated.

The announcement of YXX’s new fee structure was also paired with WestJet’s decision to add one daily flight between Edmonton and Abbotsford beginning in June 2015. This will increase the WestJet Encore route’s frequency to three daily flights.

“The leadership demonstrated by Abbotsford International Airport sets a standard we hope others will follow,” said Gregg Saretsky, WestJet President and CEO in a statement. “Airports that help us keep operational costs low also allow us to keep fares competitive and stimulate network and fleet growth.”

Currently, WestJet flights provide the Fraser Valley and eastern communities of the Metro Vancouver region with strong connecting service through Calgary and Edmonton to its entire network. The airline operates a total of 46 weekly non-stop direct flights from YXX to Calgary (32), Edmonton (13), and Puerto Vallarta, Mexico (1).

YXX’s new incentives are expected to attract additional new direct flights to the airport.

[readon1 url="http://www.vancitybuzz.com/2014/11/abbotsford-international-airport-slashes-fees-attracts-new-westjet-business/"]www.vancitybuzz.com[/readon1]

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Puerto Vallarta, Jal. - The Infinity cruise arrived last Friday morning to Puerto Vallarta, with 2,117 passengers and 962 crew members. Passengers were greeted with Mariachis and a Mexican fiesta, which displayed our people’s hospitality, warmth and Puerto Vallarta’s traditions.

The Infinity is one of the Celebrity Cruise lines; it stopped at our destination on his way from Guatemala to Cabo San Lucas. This only demonstrates the confidence that Puerto Vallarta generates among cruise lines to bring a larger group of visitors to our destination.

‘Cruise Lines Miami 2015’ recently recognized Puerto Vallarta as the best cruise destination in Mexico, because of the level of satisfaction that travelers find in this port. This goes to confirm that this year will be one of the best for tourism business.

The arrival of 144 cruises is scheduled for 2015. This represents an increase of 20 percent over 2013. By 2016, a total of 170 cruises are expected to arrive; which will be almost a 20 percent increase from this year.

It is estimated that by the end of 2015, 360 thousand tourists would have visited this destination throughout the year, via cruise lines. These tourists alone will spend about 500 million pesos (over US$ 33,000,000).

To welcome cruises with mariachis is part of ' Back to Puerto Vallarta' program; which was implemented last year by the Office of City Tourism with the support of Tourism Administration Department. The objective is to welcome, in the best possible way, the cruises arriving at the most Mexican haven of the country.

This is the only destination in the Pacific route that greets visitors the way Puerto Vallarta does; which besides giving an enjoyable and friendly impression, was one of the aspects considered by the cruise line companies and cruise passengers, to recognize Puerto Vallarta as the best seaport for cruises, in Mexico.

[readon1 url="index.php?option=com_sobipro&pid=1&sid=703:mar&Itemid=212"]Source:www.VallartaToday.com-by MAR Translation Services[/readon1]



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winter-season-recoveryTourism entrepreneurs expect a recovery of between 5-8 points in American tourism in the next winter season, even though the only ingredient is the negative posture of the Senate against the Executive, because that can slow the recovery in the region.

The director of the company's Autotransportes Terrestres of the Puerto Vallarta International Airport, Heriberto Sánchez Ruiz, said that starting in October the number of flights start to increase, this week there are six more flights, although the wholesale agencies of the United States and Canada foresee a substantial increase later.

However, the businessman explained that the increase will occur in the second half of October, because "we can not say how much, but there are already charter flights starting the Canadian season, where the climate change first occurs and they come to Puerto Vallarta; they estimate that the increase will be very important. "

[readon1 url="http://vallartaopina.net/2013/10/11/esperan-una-recuperacion-en-temporada-de-invierno"]Source: Vallarta Opina Translated by Rene Tripp[/readon1]

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boeing737Mexico's largest airline Grupo Aeromexico said on Monday it had a finalised an order for 60 new Boeing 737 MAX aircraft, with an option for 30 more, as part of plan to overhaul its fleet and use more fuel efficient planes.

The order value for the 90 planes is about $9 billion at published list prices.

The company also said it expects to finalise an agreement to purchase 787-9 Dreamliners in the coming weeks. It said in July it would order 10 Dreamliners.

Aeromexico, which went public last year, is betting that Mexico's economy will remain robust in the coming years and analysts have said the order should help them roll out new routes.

It had a fleet of 110 planes as of July.

Aeromexico's operations got a big boost following the 2010 demise of debt-laden rival Mexicana.

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cementfacThe Mexican consortium of industry and construction Elementia, entrepreneurs and Antonio Carlos Slim Valley, announced today the launch of a cement factory that will produce annually one million tons of cement in 2013.

The new company, Cementos Fortaleza, said in a statement that finalizing since its first production plant in Santiago de Anaya, in the central state of Hidalgo, in which they have invested $ 300 million, which will release its first batch product in February.

The factory will develop gray cement, masonry and bulk, and empower a group like Elementia, specializing in providing "high-tech solutions in the fields of cement, concrete, polyethylene, styrene and copper," he explained.

In principle, the objective of the new subsidiary will be Elementia strong market of the self and the small scale construction, said the CEO of Cementos Fortaleza, Antonio Taracena.

"We are very close to small distributors and of course the master mason, which has been a source of inspiration for the brand," said the company's commercial director, Rodolfo Galindo, in a statement.

The new business division Elementia will thus become the first cement company in Mexico emerges in 70 years, and operate a market where firms like Cemex Mexico, Moctezuma and Cruz Azul, Holcim and French.

In the construction of the first factory of Cement Strength 1,200 people worked, and when operating at the plant will be 150 direct jobs and 750 indirect jobs.

Elementia is a consortium owned by businessmen Carlos Slim, who owns 46% of its capital, and Antonio del Valle, with the remaining 54%.

[readon1 url="http://www.prensaglobal.com/notas/29040.html"]Source:www.prensaglobal.com - Translation by Suyapa Ajuria[/readon1]

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buen-fin-vallarta-shoppingThe consumer will have an incentive from November 15 to 18 when the third edition of "El Buen Fin" 2013 takes place, which is expected to involve 650 local businesses and have an economic impact of 30 million pesos.

The president of the Chamber of Commerce and Tourism Services (Canaco Servitur), Martín Puebla Ontiveros, urged local businesses and consumers to participate in the program which will offer more discounts on various products and services, of in between 10 and 80 percent, months without interest, points for new purchases and incentive giveaways for refunds.

The tourism sector also participates as hotels, restaurants and travel agencies are offering reductions at different rates, extra nights, discounts on various services and incentives in general that are already being publicized so that they are used in the coming weeks for travel, consumption or for use of tourist spaces for residents and visitors.


Martin Puebla noted that, this time, the program will include a drawing for "El Buen Fin", which will distribute 250 million pesos in prizes to final consumers who make their purchases at formally established businesses. He clarified that buyers can get a full refund of their purchases, with a cap of 10 thousand billed dollars.

The refund will be given through the Ministry of Finance between December 9 and 20 which would make the refund on the same credit or debit card used.


The leader of organized businesses said that "El Buen Fin" has become a benchmark for Mexican families as the cheapest weekend of the year and as an effective tool to stimulate the domestic market, revive the economy and create job sources.

Nationally, the Confederation of Chambers of Commerce (Concanaco) will be coordinating the business sector for "El Buen Fin", which is expected to involve 255 Chambers of Commerce, exceeding the figures of 2012, when total sales were estimated for more than 148 billion pesos.

He also noted that the Federal Government, some state governments and private companies will advance part of the bonuses and year-end bonuses to their workers, to reap great benefits when purchasing appliances, furniture, clothing, footwear, travel agencies, hotels, restaurants, car dealerships, culture, entertainment, among many other items.


[readon1 url="http://vallartaopina.net/2013/11/08/esperan-derrama-de-30-mdp-con-el-buen-fin-en-vallarta/"]Source: Vallarta Opina Translated by Rene Tripp[/readon1]

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Nayarit Film Commissioner Robert James Roessel and associate Guillermo Guerrero attended a film location expo in Santa Monica, California to help promote the destination as a place to make films as well as the upcoming 2007 Vallarta Film Festival.

Currently they are working with Televisa and MTV on important projects to possibly be shot here. Mexico was awarded 2nd prize at the location expo for best overall booth.

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tourism-long-weekend-and-winterThe hotels reported a 90% occupation rate and of the total number of tourists in the destination, 20% made aquatic and terrestrial tours

On the last weekend, Puerto Vallarta received more than 50 thousand tourists that came to enjoy the different events that were held in the city, informed the director of Municipal Tourism, Carlos Gerard Guzmán.

“It was a good weekend for Puerto Vallarta. Including Friday, Saturday and Sunday, the hotels reported an average occupation of 90 percent, even some hotels of gran turismo reported an occupation of 100 percent, which was something favorable for the destination”, said the head of Tourism.

He added that the visitors who took advantage of the long weekend and the "Buen Fin", also enjoyed the Fishing Tournament, the Fourth International Concentration of Motorcyclists, the Gourmet Festival, the Vochomanía, among other events that were carried out.

In addition to the hotels, said Gerard Guzmán, the tourists went to the commercial strip, and made use of the taxi services, of the tourist guides, and the terrestrial and aquatic excursions, “for example, the Port Administration reports that there were nearly six thousand people who made tours in small vessels and nearly six thousand people made terrestrial tours, which represents roughly 20 percent of the tourists, of the more than 50 thousand tourists who arrived to the destination this weekend and participated in tours”.

It is noteworthy that for the regional director of Tourism of the northern coast of Jalisco, José Ludwig Estrada Virgen, the arrival of this important flow of tourism, especially national tourism, was an anticipation of what is coming for the winter season.

He assured that Puerto Vallarta has worked a lot in regards to promotion, especially hand in hand with Riviera Nayarit, under the umbrella of the joint promotion campaign supported by the Federal Ministry of Tourism (Sectur) and the Council of Tourist Promotion of Mexico (CPTM).

“In Puerto Vallarta, and in general in the Vallarta-Nayarit region, I think that we have a very good outlook for the coming winter season because a lot of work has been done and an intense, joint promotion campaign has been carried out with excellent results”, he pointed out.


[readon1 url="http://vallartaopina.net/2013/11/19/llegaron-a-vallarta-poco-mas-de-50-mil-visitantes/"]Source: Vallarta Opina Translated by Rene Tripp[/readon1]

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summer-timeClose to one billion pesos

From the second week of July to mid-August, there will be an average hotel occupancy of 80%

Puerto Vallarta expects an economic trickle of over one billion pesos for this summer vacation season, which starts on Monday and ends in mid-August and is estimated to have a hotel occupancy of 80 percent, said the Municipal director of Tourism Carlos Gerard Guzman.

"In discussions with various businessmen and hoteliers of the tourist industry, they told us that they already have reservations for 80%, that is a very good indicator, not just for the hotel industry, but also for the restaurant industry, service providers , small boats, and in short, all those who have this contact with tourists, "he said.

For this holiday season, he said that it will be the domestic tourism which makes the most visits to the city, "yes, we will certainly have foreign tourism, but it is not the main thing for the summer," said the official.

He added that tourists from the Bajio, metropolitan area of Guadalajara, Mexico City, State of Mexico and Monterrey, will be the most numerous visitors to the destination.

He noted that today, Puerto Vallarta, besides being the second Gourmet destination after Mexico City, it has about 23 thousand hotel rooms for visitors, 162 restaurants of great variety, 26 different companies that offer tours , 27 galleries in the tourist strip, nine golf courses, and a wide variety of nightclubs.

The hoteliers are optimistic

Moreover, the summer holiday period that is about to start will be great for Puerto Vallarta according to estimates of several local industry representatives who predict acceptable occupancy rates during the seven weeks that will last this summer season.

In regards to the economic sector of this city, since several weeks ago there is a good spirit among wholesalers, beside the fact that many familiar market groups have visited the destination in recent times such as Guadalajara, Aguascalientes, Leon, Zacatecas and even Queretaro making it feel as though>Puerto Vallarta is "breathing".

Thus, not only a very acceptable holiday period is expected this summer, but the industry generally believes that the second half of 2013 will be better for Puerto Vallarta compared to the same period of 2012, which already felt a slight improvement, but without reaching the desired figures by hoteliers of Vallarta.


Officials expect tourists from the Bajio, the metropolitan area of Guadalajara, Mexico City, State of Mexico and Monterrey, they accounting for some of the most frequent visitors of this destination.

[readon1 url="http://vallartaopina.net/2013/07/05/preven-cuantiosa-derrama-economica-esta-emporada"]Source: Vallarta Opina Translated by Rene Tripp[/readon1]

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pvbvPuerto Vallarta (often referred to as Vallarta or just PV) is known for its friendly atmosphere, so it’s not surprising that it attracts a lot of tourists. Many of the expats you’ll meet here started out as tourists. The ones I spoke to told me they came here on vacation but realized pretty soon that they didn’t want to leave. As soon as they went home, they changed their lives to move here. You can’t get a better stamp of approval than that.

But PV’s not just popular with gringos—it’s a favorite destination for Mexicans, too. That alone helps maintain its authentic cultural flavor.

So what’s drawing so many people here? Well, first of all, Puerto Vallarta is incredibly beautiful. The majestic ocean—with its long sandy beaches splattered up and down the coastline—stretches as far as the eye can see.

The thoughtful architecture of the city complements its natural beauty. Traditional Mexican buildings blend with modern and abstract designs, while palm trees and exotic flowers grow abundantly on its cobble-stoned streets.

It’s an easy city to navigate, too. Because Puerto Vallarta is relatively small with a population of 250,000, transportation is quick, inexpensive, and efficient. A bus from downtown Old Vallarta to outlying suburbs where there are malls (including Walmart and Costco), modern hospitals, clinics, and universities, only costs 50 cents. Take a taxi and depending on how well you can haggle, it will only cost between $5 and $8. And if you need to fly somewhere, Puerto Vallarta has its own international airport, making it convenient to North American destinations.

The half mile malecon (boardwalk) that borders the beach from Old Vallarta to the Zona Romantica is a fun place to stroll and offers a great mix of activities and art, against one of the most beautiful backdrop views of the Pacific you’ll ever see. Puerto Vallarta is also an art mecca that offers weekly art walks.

As you walk the boardwalk, you’ll pass 15 life-size sculptures depicting local history and culture by famous artists.

The smells wafting from the many restaurants and food stalls selling everything from smoothies to fish on a stick are hard to resist. You like people watching? This is the place to do it. As the sun starts to go down, you can find a quiet place on the beach to watch the sunset, then go to one of the many piano bars, bass-thumping clubs, or salsa bars to practice your Latin dance moves.

What about safety? We’ve all heard stories about the dangers in Mexico…but you don’t need to worry in PV. Puerto Vallarta has been deemed one of the safest destinations in Mexico and the locals will tell you it’s safe to walk almost anywhere in the city on your own, day or night. That’s partly due to the abundance of tourist police on nearly every corner downtown. And, geographically speaking, because Puerto Vallarta is located on the Bay of Banderas, there is increased protection from natural disasters like tsunamis and hurricanes.

That all might sound great for a vacation…but what about as a full-time retirement destination? Well, when I was there scouting it out, I made sure to research how much it costs to live in PV. And I heard about some great deals.

The owner of the local tacqueria that I like to frequent (two tacos cooked fresh in front of you with the ingredients of your choice and a freshly squeezed orange juice all cost just $4, by the way) said he could find me a one-bedroom apartment in the suburb of El Pitillal, a 20-minute bus ride from downtown, for just $200 a month. Wandering around El Pitillal, you’ll rarely cross paths with another gringo. It’s like old Mexico, with traditional small tacquerias, tiendas and lavanderias.

If you prefer to live in Old Vallarta (downtown), where there is more action, I discovered you can rent a one-bedroom apartment for $400 a month. Living in this area you’re more likely to spend time eating out, but a light dinner including a fresh garden salad, ceviche (presentation is of Food Network calibre), and a glass of wine need only cost $8. Or go with friends for a breakfast of French toast with candied pecans, orange juice, and coffee on one of the beachfront restaurant patios for $7.

Spend $20 at the local grocery store and you’ll have enough veggies, pasta, fresh cheese, yogurt, papayas, and fresh oranges (to squeeze for your morning juice), to easily last you for a couple of days. Tourism has meant that locals are making things like fresh granola, and imported foods are easily available, but that will quickly drive your monthly expenses up.

Of course, the sky’s the limit with respect to both your accommodation choice and lifestyle, but your lifestyle in Puerto Vallarta—and your budget—can easily be tailored to your interests and your income. Clearly, Puerto Vallarta has not “been done” yet.

[readon1 url="http://internationalliving.com/2014/06/affordable-puerto-vallarta-not-just-a-vacation-paradise/"]Source:internationalliving.com[/readon1]