excerpted from The News, Mexico City
Tourism recovering from 2009 flu blow
Jueves, 17 de Diciembre de 2009
MEXICO CITY The nation is facing a $1.6 billion drop in tourism revenues for 2009, thanks to a deadly flu outbreak, but the fall is smaller than first feared and visitors should return in 2010, the government said on Monday.
Tourism is Mexico’s No. 4 source of foreign currency after oil exports, migrant remittances and foreign direct investment, and visitors spent $13.3 billion in 2008 visiting its sandy beaches, colonial towns and archeological vestiges.
But this year the H1N1 flu epidemic combined with soaring drug gang killings and a global economic slowdown to create a toxic cocktail that lightened Mexico-bound flights and caused big losses in the hospitality industry.
“We’ve never had what we had this year,” Tourism Minister Rodolfo Elizondo told a news conference. “The economic fall, influenza, the drug trafficking issue … factors that combined to create a difficult year.”