Come back to Mexico – come back

Written by admin on May 15, 2009 – 5:47 pm -

The Mexican Tourist Board is launching a multi-million dollar investment plan that will include a global public relations campaign. It is also calling for U.S. authorities to lift the travel ban with the hope that doing so will restore confidence in Mexico’s being one of the world’s top tourist destinations.

Its tourism industry has been crippled by the outbreak of swine flu or more correctly, the H1N1 virus. Twenty-five hotels in the Cancun area have closed because of the crisis that was feared to have the potential of becoming a global pandemic.

After the numbers are tallied, the influenza caused 65 deaths – and that’s throughout the world. That’s nothing to sneer about. But happily, it’s not a plague some people had feared.

Nor has the US State Department dropped its travel alert that all non-essential travel should be shelved for now.

In the meantime, flight operators are extending the suspension of planes to Mexico. Thomson and First Choice Holidays have canceled all outbound flights to Cancun and Cozumel through May 18th. Thomas Cook has placed holidays to Cancun on hold until May 23rd.

To exacerbate the drastic fall in the number of tourists coming and staying in hotels and apartments, cruise lines diverted ships from anchoring at Mexican ports.

As a result of dwindling tourism, a group of three hotel chains on Mexico’s Caribbean coast – Real Resorts, Dreams and Secrets have joined together and have issued a “flu-free guarantee.” The hotels will offer a total of 5,000 rooms to travelers who exhibit flu systems within eight days of returning from Mexico and the free vacation offer will be valid for three years.

I am not minimizing the seriousness that the H1N1 virus might have had and agree that the Center for Disease Control and other government and medical groups had no choice but to take strident measures to insure people’s safety.

The question is whether or not the media went too far and scared the public unnecessarily. After the initial findings indicated this flu was not a repetition of the 1918 H1N1 pandemic, should the media and government authorities eased up?

Is this an example of officials being too cautious and as a result, having a dramatic negative impact on Mexico’s economy?

Karen Fawcett is president of BonjourParis.

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