Puerto Penasco is not alone in suffering a severe drop in tourism since the outbreak of the A(H1N1) virus, also called Swine Flu. A new report from STR Global shows that hotel occupancy in Mexico dropped more than 50% at the end of April and beginning of May, a period that coincided with the flu outbreak. Other reports confirm that data, indicating the flu has had a deep impact on Mexico's hotel and other tourism-related industries.
Already struggling due to heavy media coverage of gang- and drug-related violence and the downturn in the global economy, the effect of the swine flu on the hotel industry has been severe. The AFP reports that since the outbreak of swine flu 25 hotels in the Cancun area have closed their doors, at least temporarily, and that the tourism drop may cost Mexico around $2.3 billion in lost income, about 0.3 percent of gross domestic product.
In a bid to counter swine flu's blow to the tourism industry, hotels on Mexico's Caribbean coast are offering free vacations for three years to any tourist catching swine flu while on holiday there. So far over 5,000 hotel rooms are involved in the promotion which is hoped to bring a little life back to Mexico's beach resorts.
The hotel owners also intend to send letters to the US government, to be published in US newspapers, calling for a lifting of an alert against non-essential travel Mexico due to the flu epidemic.
Mexico's Health Minister Jose Angel Cordova has said that Mexican beach resorts, including Cozumel and Puerto Vallarta, have not reported any cases of the virus. Puerto Penasco has also reported no cases of the flu, as reported here on May 9, and should be considered safe for those vacationers who would like to visit over the upcoming Memorial Day Weekend.