Travel industry offers summer deals

Travel packages for warm destinations are sizzling this summer.

Heat and hurricanes tend to dent business during the next couple months in areas of the Caribbean and Mexico, according to Vonnie Hicks, owner of First Class Travel, 435 Main St. To compensate, cruise lines are offering deals for those areas, and vacation destinations in southern and coastal Mexico are offering packages for bargain prices, she said.

Weather worries shouldn’t keep people from taking advantage of those deals, Hicks said.

“I go to Mexico in October every year, and I’ve never had a hurricane,” she said. “The Caribbean is on sale in August, September and October because of hurricane season, but they’ll cruise around a hurricane.”

Hicks said she recently saw a cruise deal that charged $200 for the first two people in a cabin and $10 apiece for up to two more people. An all-inclusive package she found for Mexico in September went for $780 a person.

Michael Schoede, a travel agent at Horizon Travel Inc., 715 Horizon Drive, agrees Mexico and warm-climate cruises are discounted, but so is every other location, he said. That excludes places that are always popular, such as Asia and Europe.

Hotels are more likely to offer a deal than airlines, Schoede said, because flights are making money again. Charter flights can be an exception. Resorts in Wendover, Nev., for example, are offering a package that includes a round-trip, direct, chartered flight; three nights at Rainbow, Peppermill, or Montego Bay resorts; and more than $100 in coupons. The package is $139 a person for couples. The catch is it’s only for flyers leaving Grand Junction on Oct. 5.

Hicks said the blazing Nevada heat this time of year always means deals to get to that state. Casino towns especially may be more prone to offer deals as gaming revenues continue to slump. May gaming revenues were down nearly 14 percent statewide compared to the previous May, according to the Nevada Gaming Control Board.

Gaming revenues were down 15.5 percent year-over-year on the Vegas Strip in May, but up 6.4 percent in Wendover and down just 4.1 percent in Mesquite, another smaller casino area offering deals.

How well the travel industry is doing depends on who you ask. Schoede said he’s in the middle of one of the traditionally slower times of the year. He hasn’t seen a drop-off in clients, but some vacationers are trying to spend less.

Hicks said she had some clients decide to stay at less luxurious hotels or shave a few days off their vacation last year, but she said things have started to get back to normal this year.

“We’ve been pretty busy this summer,” she said. “Some people would die without that vacation to look forward to every year.”


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