The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention lifted its advisory against non-essential travel to Mexico on May 15. As a result of the CDC’s decision, the State Department’s Travel Alert relating to the 2009-H1N1 influenza outbreak is no longer in effect.
According to the State Department’s Web site, the CDC continues to suggest that travelers to Mexico (especially those at high risk for complications of influenza) take precautions to reduce their risk of infection while in Mexico. Complete CDC guidelines regarding H1N1 influenza can be found at the CDC Web site.
On May 18 the Canadian government also lifted its advisory against non-essential travel to Mexico. According to a UPI report, Canadian Border Services will continue to check for signs of H1N1, commonly called swine flu, and some airlines still have restrictions in place at least through the end of May.
The Government of Mexico restarted high school (grades 10-12) and university classes on Thursday, May 7. Federal health and education officials announced that all schools from pre-school to secondary would reopen as of May 11.
The Mexico Tourist Board welcomed the CDC decision with a statement on its Web site, pointing out that many other countries had lifted their bans, too, including Argentina, Peru, Uruguay, Ecuador, Italy, Austria, Belgium, United Kingdom, and Switzerland.
“Our main priority continues to be the safety of our citizens and visitors, and with evidence that the flu appears to be less threatening than originally thought, Mexico is ready to welcome back all of its visitors and offer them the hospitality and services that have always distinguished us,” the statement reads.
At least one meeting industry conference took place despite the hysteria surrounding the flu. The 8th edition of the Mexico Showcase & Travel Expo, organized by Andy Ortiz, president and owner of Global Incentive, a Mexico destination management company, attracted 80 international buyers and 40 national buyers to Cancun April 30–May 4. One attendee was so happy with her experience that she came back to the States and became a guest on a local radio show to talk about it.
Cindy Ford, manager of Travel Leaders/Atlas Travel wrote to her hosts: “After health and travel advisories were released just prior to departing for the trip, I—like most—wondered if I should go ahead with the travel plans or avoid the area. I must say, I consider myself an adventure traveler, so with that mind set, I continued on with the itinerary, and thankfully so. Immediately upon my return I contacted one of our local radio stations to advise them that I had just returned from Mexico and would be glad to share my experience with listeners. I was invited to speak briefly the next day. This is what I told the listeners: ‘This is a wonderful time to travel to Cancun/Riviera Maya. After arriving and seeing that there were not hundreds of people in masks, running for cover, I observed just how normal things still were at this destination.’ I shared how impeccable the service was at all the resorts and restaurants, how attentive everyone was, and just what a great value Cancun/Riviera Maya is for travelers. Your dollars will get you some of the best resorts, beaches, service, and food that you can find right now anywhere in the world. And I, for one, would go back in a second.”
Fernando Cervantes, director of groups and conventions for the Cancun Convention and Visitors Bureau, confirmed that Meeting Professionals International executives will be visiting Cancun during the first few days of June in preparation for MPI’s Meet Different 2010 conference to be held February 20-23.