Mexico Tourism Board Congratulates World Heritage Alliance on One-year Anniversary

Released on = December 12, 2006, 8:04 am

Press Release Author = Erick Laseca

Industry = International Trade

Press Release Summary = New Members of the Alliance Announced on November 14 in Los

Press Release Body = Mexico's Tourism Board is extending their congratulations to
the new members of the Alliance and as well as to the World Heritage Alliance (WHA)
on their first year in operation. The WHA is an industry-leading initiative that was
jointly formed by Expedia® and the UN Foundation in 2005 to promote sustainable
tourism and awareness of World Heritage sites and communities around the world.
Expedia, Inc. (Nasdaq: EXPE) and the United Nations Foundation (UN Foundation)
celebrated the one-year anniversary of the WHA yesterday by announcing the addition
of ten new members and four new associate partners at an event in Los Angeles.

Mexico Tourism Secretary and Rodolfo Elizondo and Mexico Tourism Board CEO Magdalena
Carral signed a letter of intent with the representatives of the World Heritage
Alliance to jointly promote and preserve Mexico's 26 World Heritage sites. The
signing, which marked the first time a national tourism secretariat made such an
agreement with the Alliance, took place in March during Mexico's largest and most
important travel trade fair, Tourism Tianguis 2006.

Mexico's governmental tourism entities joined the founding members of the World
Heritage Alliance, Expedia, Inc. and the United Nations Foundation, to educate
travelers and the travel industry about the importance of responsible tourism and
World Heritage conservation; encourage community-based sustainable tourism
development in and around World Heritage sites; and promote the beauty and
significance of Mexico's cultural and natural World Heritage sites around the globe.

"We were honored to be the first associate partner to help promote and preserve
Mexico's 26 World Heritage sites," said Magdalena Carral, CEO of Mexico's Tourism
Board. "We are thrilled to learn of all of the new members of the Alliance, as these
travel industry companies are showing true leadership in helping Mexico promote
sustainable tourism."

The nine new members joining the WHA are: Camino Real Hotels, Club Méditerranée
(Club Med), El Sueño Hotel and Spa, Fairmont Hotels & Resorts, Maroma Resort and
Spa, Mayaland Resorts Group, Paraiso de la Bonita Resort and Thalasso, Radar Tours,
and Solimar Marketing and Travel. Several of the new members will begin their work
in the Yucatan Peninsula of Mexico, home to five of Mexico's 26 World Heritage

The WHA offers two levels of partnership, each being committed to advancing the WHA
mission: WHA members and WHA associate partners. WHA members consists of travel
industry companies, such as hotels, tour operators, travel agents, airlines and
cruises, among others. WHA associate partners are NGOs, civil society groups,
government bodies and other organizations not exclusively devoted to tourism.

The 13 new members will build on the momentum and results created by the founding
partners, Expedia and the UN Foundation. Over the past year, the Alliance has
accomplished several goals, including the launch of the Expedia® Employee Program,
and the implementation of five training programs and an online course for local
travel industry suppliers and partners in the Yucatan Peninsula. Additionally,
Expedia is offering special package trips to some of the world's most cherished
sites, found at
The company will donate all profits to the Friends of World Heritage Fund to support
communities in and around World Heritage sites.

In addition to the WHA's current associate partners - the Mexico Tourism Board and
the Secretary of Tourism for Mexico, which joined forces with the WHA last March -
the following four organizations have signed on as associate partners: Academex
Digital Publishing, Destination Ventures, Ltd, the Rainforest Alliance and Rare
Conservation. The associate partners will help the WHA members implement the
commitments such as consumer education, community development and technical

Mexico is ranked first in the Americas and eighth worldwide in UNESCO sites, a
distinction given to places of historical, cultural and natural relevance to the
world. The Agave Landscape and Ancient Industrial Facilities in Tequila, Jalisco,
declared a World Heritage Site in 2006, are the most recent addition to Mexico's
impressive list.

About the Mexico Tourism Board
The Mexico Tourism Board (MTB) brings together the resources of federal and state
governments, municipalities and private companies to promote Mexico\'s tourism
attractions and destinations internationally. Created in 1999, the MTB is Mexico's
tourism promotion agency, and its participants include members of both the private
and public sectors. The MTB has offices throughout North America, Europe, Asia and
Latin America.

About Chichen-Itza, the World Wonder
Swiss-based New7Wonders Foundation is revising the original seven ancient wonders of
the world, and Mexico's Chichen-Itza in Yucatan State is one of 21 finalists to
become a new Seven World Wonder. Declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1998,
Chichen-Itza is considered to have been one of the greatest Mayan centers of the
Yucatan peninsula, and today is one of the largest and most impressive
sites in Mexico. To vote for Chichen-Itza as one of the new Seven World Wonders,

FOR PRESS ONLY: For additional ideas, help with a story or general travel and
tourism information about Mexico, please contact the MTB's North American Press Room
directly at 1-800-929-4555, by e-mail at, or
visit our press Web site at To access an online warehouse
of free, downloadable b-roll, visit

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Erick Laseca
Mexico Tourism Board

Web Site =

Contact Details = Erick Laseca
Mexico Tourism Board

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