News starting February 09, 2009.
Yale on the Economy of Yucatan
Recently published economic news from Yale University explains many of the reasons the economy will remain relatively stable on the Yucatan Peninsula during this time of worldwide economic crisis. Our American and European tourists will continue to come because they are safe here and because the exchange rate favors both tourism and our agricultural export businesses. The findings also talk about Baby Boomers and the expectation that they will visit and move here in increasing numbers because, they say, the 11:1 exchange rate is no more… According to Yale analysts, we can look for 14 or 15 to 1 exchange rates throughout 2009. To our readers who are sitting on the fence about when to come and when to buy, we can only say Now Now Now!!! Those of us who are “old hands” were thrilled just to dream of a 12:1 exchange rate again so, if these Yale University predictions come true, 2009 will be a good year to be an American in Yucatan.
Progreso Book Exchange Open for Business
With the beach community growing rapidly, the need for a source of English reading material was also growing. In November, the Progreso Book Exchange opened its doors in Progreso. This is not a lending library. It is a straight book exchange that, in just 4 short months, now boasts over 700 available books. Yearly membership is 200 pesos per family, which allows unlimited trades. If you sign up for language lessons at Centro de Idiomas there in Progreso, free book exchange membership is included. They encourage snowbirds to donate their books before returning home.
Location: Centro de Idiomas Progreso, Calle 31 x 31 x 76 x 78
Days and Times: Tuesdays & Thursdays: 5:00 PM to 8:00 PM
Information: e-mail Joanne: oasisdelmar[at]gmail[dot]com
Proyecto Itzaes Website Update
Please take a few minutes to read about the 2009 students and programs at Proyecto Itzaes. They have updated their site and Cindy wants everyone to let her know what they think. Proyecto Itzaes was hard at work and had many successes long before they were on the Internet radar. Let’s all make certain that they continue onward and upward with our support. Visit Proyecto Itzaes today.
International Council of Shopping Centers
This past week, the International Council of Shopping Centers met in Merida. The ICSC is an organization with 75,000 members in 80 nations and is the most important organization of its kind. This was a meeting of 46 development advisors who also had the opportunity to look at investment possibilities in Merida and Yucatan.
Saginaw, Michigan: Snowball Fights and Trova
Trio Ensueño performed, for the third time, at Manny Lopez’s Fiesta Folklorica Mexicana in Saginaw, Michigan. We loved it when we read the adjectives used to describe the performers and their work: “simply amazing”, “weeping Spanish guitars”, and “pure magic”. They played for 2 hours and the dance floor was empty the entire time as the audience stood still, mesmerized by the trova and Trio Ensueño. …and then there was a snowball fight, a shopping trip, and loads of fun for everyone. We are certain there will be many more visits to Saginaw for Trio Ensueño.
East Coast Oil News: New PEMEX Contracts
In 2007, PEMEX gave the contract to construct Campeche Bay’s Maloob-C platform to J. Ray McDermott, of Houston, TX. At the same time, J. Ray McDermott was expanding its fabrication plant in Altamira, Tamaulipas, into a facility that includes deepwater fabrication for the entire Gulf and Atlantic regions. Now, J. Ray McDermott has been awarded the contracts for the transportation and installation of the Ixtal-B and Maloob-C drilling platforms, both of which are in Campeche Bay. These two projects should add up to approximately $40 million USD each and spell good news for the economy on the east coast of Mexico.
America Movil Reports 14.5% 4th Quarter Profits
Mexico’s America Movil has reported not only a 14.5% 4th quarter profit, but also a 14.9% 2008 annual profit, which has exceeded expectations, considering the global economic crisis. Led by customers in Brazil, Mexico, Colombia, and Ecuador, with 182 million mobile subscribers and 3.8 million fixed lines, plus iPhones in 10 Latin nations, the future looks better than ever.
Spring Break in Yucatan
As the time for Spring Break nears, we are seeing headlines concerned with safety in the resort communities in Mexico. Large concentrations of young people, many of whom will be under the influence of alcohol, will draw petty crime to areas that are usually relatively crime free, and this would be the case if they went to beaches in the States as well – so it is important that these young travelers take responsibility for keeping themselves safe. The State of Yucatan is not a big “party state,” but is quite safe for those who want to come and work on their tan and enjoy beach games and water toys. As always, bring your manners with you and Yucatan will give you wonderful memories to last a lifetime.
Young People See No Borders
These next 2 stories are about young people with vision enough to know that good people and honest, hard work have no borders. Every generation seems to think that the next generation will never survive. We offer Garcia y Garcia and Ooyala as proof positive that the world is going to go on quite nicely after we are gone, and her citizens have the potential to be better and smarter and more responsible than any generation that has ever gone before them.
American Company to Build “Tu Casa” Homes in Puebla
Border? What border? It seems a little strange to see that a California land development company with a Latino name (Garcia y Garcia) has won a contract to build 36 government subsidized homes (on Programa Tu Casa) in the State of Puebla, but that is exactly what has happened. As of last year, Garcia y Garcia opened an office in Puebla and became registered there as a provider of services. We are happy for this particular company and hopeful that other companies will continue to become registered to do business on both sides of the border. This can only be a plus for the people and for the future of the region.
Sons of Mexican Migrants
Before anyone swallows the common ethnic insults and outrageous claims hurled at the children of migrant workers, we would like to offer the story of Ooyala, a fast-growing little company that can boast not only the technology necessary to compete (on both sides of the border) in the online video market, but that can also boast of having Warner Brothers, TV Guide, Armani, and Mexican television giant Televisa as just some of their customers. Two of the three owners are sons of migrant farm workers who worked hard to see to it that their sons had the opportunity for every educational advantage. Today, instead of flashy cars and wasteful spending, these young Stanford graduates have a fleet of electric powered Razor scooters and invest in papaya farms in Mexico. Read all about them and their company here.
Mexican Economic Observations
Last month, Mexican airport passenger traffic fell 15%, but the sky did not fall over Mexico. Wal-Mart reported a 9.2% increase in same-store sales for the month, supporting the fact that the Mexican middle class is continuing to grow. While General Motors (a U.S. company) cut 600 workers at a plant in northern Mexico, other plant openings by companies from Mexico and other nations more than make up for those losses. Perhaps this is a good time to resurrect Mark Twain’s comment that “Reports of my death are greatly exaggerated” and, as he wrote (about rumors of his death) to a friend: “When you hear it, don’t you believe it. And don’t take the trouble to deny it.” He then suggested that the national flag be raised over his house and allowed to speak for itself.
Green Travel Is Dead?
This week, Ed Blume (Eco-Yucatan) posted a quote from Christopher Elliott, of CNN Travel, who has observed that travelers are no longer willing to be inconvenienced or pay more for environmentally responsible behaviors by travel companies and resorts. We totally agree. Behaving responsibly toward the environment actually brings down the cost of operating a home and/or a resort, so why in the world did we ever buy into the concept of paying more for less in the first place? The newness of environmental responsibility is over. It is now a requirement and, as Mr. Elliott states, should be part of the DNA of every phase of the travel industry – at no extra charge. Mexico is a leader in the development of green living and green travel and, we are proud to be able to say, Yucatan is one of the most environmentally responsible states in the nation.
Amigos de La Periferia and Piezas de la Semana
Galeria La Periferia shows the work of some of Merida’s best and brightest young artists. They have now instituted a new program called Amigos de La Periferia, which includes Pieces of the Week. Once you sign up for a program ($50, $100, or $150 pesos), you will receive a weekly e-mail showcasing a different piece each week.When you make a purchase, you will be supporting the young artists who belong to this group. Some of them have very few resources and actually live at the gallery. There are great benefits that come with joining Amigos de La Periferia, including discounts on purchases and admission to events, as well as free framing and/or assembly. Please visit the website of Galeria La Periferia and support our young artists in any way you can.