San Diego’s Waterfront Gets a Makeover with a New Embarcadero

Visitors to downtown San Diego’s bustling bayside will find a new, more pedestrian-friendly Embarcadero thanks to enhancements recently unveiled by the Port of San Diego. Two years in the making at a cost of $31.1 million, a new esplanade located along Harbor Drive between the Navy and B Street piers welcomes visitors, including cruise ship passengers boarding and disembarking from San Diego’s two adjacent cruise ship terminals. Representing the first phase of San Diego’s Embarcadero Visionary Plan, the improvements include a two-block area of West Broadway between North Harbor Drive and Pacific Highway.

The improved Embarcadero’s centerpiece is a beautifully landscaped 105-foot wide promenade which was made possible by removing parking spaces and realigning Harbor Drive 60 feet to the east.
The following are some notable features visitors can find along San Diego’s premier waterfront destination:
Two sleek metallic shade pavilions feature colorful and inviting new glass ticket kiosks for the Old Town Trolley Tours, Flagship Cruises and Hornblower Cruises.

The pavilions also house a new visitor information center, projected to open in April 2015, gift shop and Carnitas Snack Shack, a popular local restaurant scheduled to begin operating in late May/early June 2015.

Eye-catching public art by internationally-known artist Pae White integrates seamlessly throughout the architecture of the Embarcadero’s new buildings. Inspired by the novel Jonathan Livingston Seagull, White adorned the pavilions, ticket booths, restaurant, information center and a new public restroom with large cutout letters and words that represent the aerial views of a seagull in flight.

Lush, colorful gardens, landscaped plazas and pathways feature comfortable wooden benches and seating areas, groves of 42 purple-blooming jacaranda trees—San Diego’s official tree—and an environmentally-friendly water filtration system that captures street and sidewalk runoff, filtering pollutants from the water before it enters San Diego Bay.

New York lighting designer Leni Schwendinger installed dramatic sculptural lighting fixtures in the medians along West Broadway, complementing 18 towering palm trees.

In addition to the transformation of the North Embarcadero, a new 12-acre Waterfront Park featuring a spectacular 830-foot long fountain opened in May 2014. Also neighboring the new Embarcadero, construction is underway on two new hotels—Springhill Suites and a Residence Inn—and a public park at Lane Field, located on the northeast corner of Broadway and North Harbor Drive.
Happiness is calling in San Diego. For more information on San Diego Bay, visit the San Diego Tourism Authority’s website at www.sandiego.org/cruise, the Port of San Diego’s website at www.portofsandiego.org/thebigbay or call 619-236-1212.

2014 Set to Become One of the Best Years On Record for Puerto Vallarta’s Tourism Industry

Puerto Vallarta, one of Mexico’s leading resort destinations is set to record 2014 as one of the best years yet for its travel and tourism industry with ever growing numbers of travelers, new hotels and an increase in the overall number of hotel rooms, more flights, as well as additional cruise ship arrivals.

According to Mexico’s Ministry of Tourism (SECTUR), Puerto Vallarta registered an average 64.2% occupancy rate in the first nine months of 2014, a 6% increase over the same period last year. The number of rooms occupied for this period total 2,057,312, almost 70,000 more than in the same period in 2006, when Puerto Vallarta reported its highest number of room occupancy in the past 10 years with 1,987,782 rooms.

International arrivals registered at Puerto Vallarta hotels also increased by 5% from January to September 2014 over the same period last year.

Keeping up with Puerto Vallarta’s increasing numbers of visitors are the number offlights offered by different airlines to the destination. The overall number of flights (frequency) to PVR was up 23.87% in October 2014, over the same month in 2013; and up 22.6% in the month of October 2014, compared to September 2014. New direct routes from North America have also been launched this season including Alaska Airlines’ Portland, OR to Puerto Vallarta. Southwest Airlines has also just applied for DOT approval to serve Puerto Vallarta nonstop from Orange County’s John Wayne Airport.
Cruise ship arrivals are also up 43%. A total of 116 cruises will be calling at Puerto Vallarta this year, compared to 83 in 2013. A total of 141 cruises have already confirmed calls at Puerto Vallarta for 2015.

Some of the new hotel developments in Puerto Vallarta include:
Early this year, two hotels oppenned in Puerto Vallarta – Hotel One, with 125 rooms & Holiday Inn Express, with 115 rooms – both conveniently located less than 10 minutes away from Puerto Vallarta’s a state-of-the-art International Convention Center, airport (PVR) and downtown. By the end of 2015 three other hotels will have opened, the Hyatt Ziva and Hotel Mousai in the Mismaloya area and the Altamar with 120 suites in the Romantic Zone. In addition, the Puerto Vallarta Fiesta Americana will be converting to an All-Inclusive in October.
This season will also mark the opening of new boutique properties in the Zona Romántica, Piñata PV with six rooms in a corner of Puerto Vallarta that blends Mexican & American modernism, industrial, and vintage design; Luna Líquida Boutique Hotel’s 5 villas offers an atmosphere of comfort and inspiration framed by a collection of handmade motives carefully selected by the proprietor and well-known musician and composer Fher Olvera, front man of the famous Mexican rock band Maná; Saphire Beach Club will be the newest beach club in Puerto Vallarta and will offer three luxury rooms right on the beach.

Presidente InterContinental Cozumel Hosts Hundreds of Athletes For On Island Sporting Events

Presidente InterContinental Cozumel Resort & Spa, the only luxury hotel on the Mexican Caribbean Island of Cozumel, welcomed hundreds of athletes in November coming from the U.S., Mexico and abroad to compete in the November 23 GFNY Cozumel and November 30 Ford Ironman Cozumel competitions. The hotel strongly supported both events by hosting seminars for all participants and providing specialized training areas, equipment maintenance and nutritional stations for athletes staying on property.

GFNY Cozumel was a sold-out event with over 1,100 participants from all over the world. More than $50,000 in prizes were awarded among the top men and women’s competitors, which included for men, Yayir de Jesus Jimenez Godinez in first place, Manuel Ayala Balam in second place and Ezra Ward Packard in third place; and for women, Michelle Plipo in first place, Anahi Leon Becerril in second place, and Lisa Mangus in third place. Other prizes awarded included four Cervelo S3 road bikes valued at $5,000 U.S. each, two seven-day Royal Caribbean cruises, helmets by Limar and jewelry from Diamond International.

Presidente InterContinental Cozumel Resort & Spa, a member of Leading Hotels of the World and Virtuoso, offers breathtaking views of the Caribbean Sea and is located on a half mile of white, sandy beach, surrounded by green vegetation and just steps from one of the world’s largest coral reef systems. Resort amenities include four restaurants and three bars, a world-class spa, 24-hour fitness center, tennis, Scuba Du in-house PADI dive shop and Chiqui Club year-round children’s program. Guests can also enjoy swimming with the dolphins at Chankanaab National Park or golf at the nearby Nicklaus-designed Cozumel Country Club.

For hotel reservations and information, visithttp://www.intercontinentalcozumel.com, or call toll free from the USA (800) 327-0200.

Puerto Vallarta Ready to Host NATJA 2015

The Puerto Vallarta Tourism Board, which will host the 2015 North American Travel Journalists Association (NATJA) 2015 Conference & Marketplace, has confirmed its activities and destination tours agenda for the conference. Designed to showcase the latest in the destination’s infrastructure and tourism offerings, the itinerary will also allow participants to experience the trend-setting adventure and cultural activities that have made the city an international destination and a source of continuous editorial stimulus.

The conference will take place from May 5 to 9, 2015 and is expected to bring over 100 travel industry leaders to Puerto Vallarta, including active journalists and editors from across Canada, the United States and Mexico. Representatives from international destinations and tourism leaders will also participate in the conference.

Register to participate at http://natja.org/conference/ and follow the conference at #NATJAPV15

Discover the Unexpected in the ‘New’ Daytona Beach

Visitors are discovering a new Daytona Beach – an exciting chapter in the destination’s history showcasing its racing heritage, idyllic East Coast oceanfront location and impressive arts affiliation. The area is in the midst of investing more than $1 billion in renovations and construction, all of which making for an even more exciting vacation stay. Now open are Daytona Beach’s first oceanfront rollercoaster and the world’s first oceanfront Hyatt Place. Currently underway is a $400 million expansion at Daytona International Speedway, and the Cici and Hyatt Brown Museum of Art that will house the world’s largest collection of Florida art. In the planning stage is a new Hard Rock Hotel & Café set ! to open in 2016. These additions – and an eclectic culinary scene, off-the-beaten-path attractions for thrill seekers and year-round cultural events – offer visitors unexpected delights on their Florida beach vacation. To order a complimentary comprehensive Official Visitors Guide, visit DaytonaBeach.com.

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