TRAVELERS COMPLAIN OF BLACKOUTS, SUSPECT HAVING BEEN DRUGGED
Reports of tainted Mexico liquor
alarming consumers, agents say
By Jamie Biesiada
Recent media reports of tourists
who allegedly blacked out at all-inclusive resorts in Mexico after only
a few drinks — with consequences
ranging from minor injuries to
the death of a 20-year-old woman
— have made some U.S. consumers anxious about Mexico travel,
according to travel agents who are
fielding calls from nervous clients.
Despite the anxiety, however, few clients
have actually canceled trips.
Meanwhile, the Mexico Tourism Board
and Iberostar Hotels & Resorts, the com-
pany most often mentioned in the reports,
maintained last week that the alcohol served
at Iberostar and other properties adheres to
strict standards when it comes to procure-
ment, handling and serving.
A report by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel on July 20 detailed a January incident
in which a 20-year-old woman drowned in
a pool after drinking with her brother, who
nearly drowned, ended up with a concussion
and could not remember what happened.
The family’s attorney later visited the resort and, in a report, alleged, “They serve
alcoholic drinks with alcohol of bad quality
and in great amounts, mixing different types
of drinks,” according to the Journal Sentinel.
The report also detailed other cases of
tourists who said they had blacked out at
resort properties in Mexico after only a few
drinks, furthering suspicions that the alcohol
Travel Leaders merger with Altour will
give joint company more buying power
By Jamie Biesiada
The merger of Travel Leaders Group and Altour, announced last week, will create a single, powerful joint enterprise whose annual
sales — $24 billion including Travel Leaders
Group’s nonowned agencies — will give it
greater leverage with suppliers, among other
“I think it’s all about the power of the volume,” said Barry Noskeau, Altour’s executive
vice president and COO, when asked about
the merger’s impetus. “The combined entity
will now have $24 billion in sales, and I think
that is the primary focus of what’s happening
in the industry, isn’t it? There are all kinds of
mergers, acquisitions of all kinds, not only in
the travel industry but in industry at large.
I think it has a lot to do with buying power
and leverage with suppliers to get best-in-
class deals and be able to deliver that to our
The merger, announced on July 27, is sub-
ject to regulatory approval. Noskeau said the
companies are hoping to close the deal at the
end of August.
It will bring two powerful travel enterprises together. Travel Leaders Group ranked No.
9 on Travel Weekly’s 2017 Power List, with
$4.39 billion in annual sales. Altour ranked
No. 14, with $2.58 billion. Together, their
$6.97 billion in annual sales would eclipse
No. 8 on the 2017 Power List, American Express Travel ($4.9 billion). No. 7 was Flight
Centre Travel Group (USA)($14.4 billion).
See MERGER on Page 8
See LIQUOR on Page 24
A corner of Southeast Europe rich in history
and culture is moving past its dark days.
BY PATRICIA SCHULTZ PAGE 12
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influencer to sing your praises? 10
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