Friday, November 11, 2005

Update from Bill La Macchia, Jr. – Chief Operating Officer of The Mark Travel Corporation and owner of Funjet Vacations

I’m back! As I said yesterday, after I met with the Governor, I was busy checking out Cancun and the Riviera Maya and wanted to share some of the pictures I took with you.



This is a local restaurant in Cancun – the area hardest hit by Hurricane Wilma. Even though they are in the midst of repairs, the sign says “Abierto” – which means, “Open.” The restaurant, despite the damage, was very busy with customers who didn’t mind a little work going on around them.

I can’t believe how fast they are making repairs. Even in two days, I saw a lot of progress. Workers are moving quickly to replace street lights, fix entrances and clean debris.



This picture was taken at The Royal Sands in Cancun. Vacationers are already back enjoying the sun and swim time. Some of the beaches did suffer damage, but you can see here that people don’t mind the pools!

Here is a picture of me with the Governor of Quintana Roo, Mexico - Felix Gonzalez Canto. Quintana Roo includes Cancun, Cozumel and the Riviera Maya. You can tell from the Governor’s expression that he truly is upbeat about the recovery efforts and how they are on-track to have 75% of the hotels open by mid-December. This is truly amazing when you consider what has happened over the past three weeks and how much action has already taken place. People are working aggressively and the hotels want to get tourists back right away.


This is me; the Governor; a local businessman; and the State Secretary of Tourism, Gabriela Rogriguez. Hotel owners, restaurants and businesses have committed to be ready for tourists by December 15. There is a pride in the people of Quintana Roo in getting their businesses open. The mindset of the people is clean the streets and continue – get ready to get back to work. The people of Mexico are some of the hardest working, most industrious people I’ve ever met. I believe them when they say they’ll be “Abierto” – open for business.

Thanks for reading my update. We’ll keep posting the latest information and pictures here. If you have information to share also, feel free to post here on our blog.

~Bill

12 Comments:

At 10:57 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

If indeed the people of the Yucatan peninsulas resorts are doing well at restoring usefulness and ambience to the hotels and I would expect these hard workers to sudceed -Then-

Why the H did funjet cancel charter flights so that we cannot avail ourselves of being part of the paying guests the area needs and deserves? ????

 
At 11:39 AM, Blogger Funjet Vacations said...

That's a reasonable question! In the immediate aftermath of Hurricane Wilma, we needed to cancel flights since hotels, the airport, and other facilities were not prepared to welcome guests.

At the current time, we're working very hard on a plan to promote travel to the area and to make accurate information available so that our customers can plan and travel with confidence. To achieve this, Funjet Vacations has a dedicated team working in collaboration with our friends at the resorts and in the governments of Quintana Roo and Mexico!

Travelers can count on us to continue our commitment to deliver the best "end to end" vacation experience, and our friends in Quintana Roo can count on us to bring vacationers back as soon as we can. As the number one vacation company to Mexico, no one is more anxious than Funjet Vacations to get the word out about the progress being made and to encourage travelers to return with confidence to the Riviera Maya.

 
At 9:07 AM, Anonymous Michael said...

Due to Hurricane Wilma, we were stuck at Occidental Grand Flamenco X-Caret for two extra nights because our Funjet representatives had failed to put us on the plane on our departure date. The hotel charged us $75 per person per night for these two nights in addition to the prepaid all-inclusive package. This is appaling! Not only was it not our fault but also we had spent three nights in a shelter, right in the middle of our stay, which, according to the hotel manager, were free for everybody. Why didn't they apply this portion of our payment to the extra nights? We believe it was nothing short of extortion: they just took advantage of the fact that we had nowhere to stay. The Funjet representatives were slow, unhelpful, and also dishonest. They said that the plane they didn't put us on had never arrived from the USA. However, our friends flew out on that very plane. In short, we were very dissatisfied with the service of Funjet and are highly unlikely to use it ever again.

 
At 4:56 PM, Blogger Funjet Vacations said...

Michael,

I'm very sorry to hear about your experience. In the days before and after hurricane Wilma there was a lot to do, but confusion about the status of facilities and strained communication channels made it difficult to provide our usual level of service. Our representatives in the area did their best under the circumstances, but that doesn't mean every situation could be resolved to everyone's satisfaction.

Have you spoken to anyone at Funjet Vacations since your return? We have a team that is working with travelers who were affected by the hurricane in order to make sure issues such as yours are considered and resolved. If you would, please e-mail us at blog@funjet.com with your reservation number and details about your concerns. We'll definitely investigate and do our best to earn back your confidence!

While I know the positive experiences of other guests cannot make up for your negative experience, I must tell you that for every e-mail we've received with a complaint, we've received another with a story of Funjet representatives who went above the call of duty. We've heard about reps who waded into waste deep water to lead buses through flooded streets and others who brought food and water from their homes to ensure guests didn't go without.

I'm sorry your in-destination experience wasn't up to your expectations, but I hope you'll give us a chance to try to improve your opinion of Funjet. Again, please e-mail us at blog@funjet.com with information and we'll get back to you as soon as possible.

 
At 8:11 PM, Anonymous D. Slavney said...

While I appreciate the speed of the recovery, spending thousands of dollars to have a beach vacation in Cancun when there is no longer a beach is not particularly appetizing. We are scheduled for a 12/23 departure, our hotel will not be open and we want to reschedule the trip to another time. Other airlines, vendors have already extended customer ability to make changes to 1/31 or later without penalty. Calls by my travel agent to Funjet have been restatement of current policy. It would seem to me in this unusual event that a traveler not wanting to travel would have some flexibility since the vacation assumed (advertised) will not be possible.

 
At 4:10 PM, Blogger Funjet Vacations said...

To D. Slavney,

We continue to be completely committed to ensuring you and all of our travelers get the vacation you want and deserve. This commitment to your "end to end experience" has been the foundation of our family-owned business since 1974, and it will continue to be in the future.

We truly understand your concern and certainly have no intention of having anyone take a vacation that might be disappointing; but we are still assessing the conditions and progress and feel it is premature for us (or our customers) to make any decisions about travel in late December.

Even at this early point in time, we can tell you with first-hand knowledge that many parts of Cancun and the Riviera Maya are in great shape and ready to welcome guests. While some resorts have experienced damage to their beaches, many other resorts have beaches that are already today being enjoyed by visitors.

At this point, we're confident you can enjoy a great beach vacation in late December, if not at the resort you initially booked, then at one of the many comparable ones.

Please keep in touch with your agent and watch for new information on our Web site so that a more informed decision can be made before your vacation.

I hope this helps. If you have any further question, please contact your agent or let us know how we can help: http://www.funjet.com/cs/index.asp.

 
At 9:03 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

What is the condition of the beach at Gran Porto Real Hotel? It was not too good before the hurricane but is it worst now? What about the hotel? Is it open?

 
At 10:33 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Do you think Cancun will be up and running by the first week of June? My family plans on going for summer, they have never been there and i would want them to have the same experience i had when i went last summer. Our Funjet agents were wonderful!

 
At 7:54 PM, Blogger suzz61 said...

My fiance and I just arrived from CANCUN...We were at Dreams-CANCUN...
aLOT OF THE HOTELS WERE STILL CLOSED, BUT OURS WAS DOING JUST GREAT!! Totally pleased with the property and Ocean view room too! Spent some time at Moon Palace too after we became members there,,was doing great as well and was quite crowded....Alot of my regular spots to shop at were closed but was told they would be open for Spring Break when we return with the kids,,,,I have been to CANCUN 30 TIMES NOW, AND IT WAS SO HARD FOR ME TO SEE HOW BAD WILMA DAMAGED MY FAVORITE DESTINATION, BUT IT WILL SURVIVE---THANKS FOR TAKING THE TIME TO READ MY REVIEW--Suzanne in Houston

 
At 7:58 PM, Blogger suzz61 said...

Just arrived back Jan.8 with my fiance..We stayed at Dreams,CANCUN,,WAS RUNNING GREAT, ONE OF THE RESTAURANTS WAS CLOSED BUT THEY GAVE US ALL INC. AT pALOMA bONITA rEST. OFF OF TEH PROPERTY...WAS A GREAT PLACE TO DINE AT AND SIT TO LOOK OUT ONTO THE WATER.....ALOT OF THE HOTELS WERE STILL SHUT DOWN THO.....WAS HARD FOR ME TO SEE CANCUN LIKE THAT FROM DAMAGE OF WILMA.. I HAVE BEEN 30 TIMES NOW ........THANKS--SUZANNE IN HOUSTON

 
At 7:47 AM, OpenID stockcom said...

The President of the company should spend more time at home responding to customer complaints and concerns about Mark Travel Corporation (AKA: FunJet, Spirit Vacations). I had a very bad experience with them and feel defrauded...La Macchia doesn't respond. Thank you,

 
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