[:en]Natural disasters rock Mexico’s tourism industry[:es]Sector turismo en México es seriamente afectado por desastres naturales[:]

[:en]El Pais reports that two earthquakes and more than 4,400 aftershocks in less than a month, which have caused hundreds of deaths, in addition to two hurricanes, have rocked the Mexican tourist industry, one of the country’s most buoyant (accounting for almost 9% of GDP and employing nine million people). Hotels in Mexico City, especially, are seeing day by day a constant flow of cancellations or guests checking out, especially in the colonies of Roma and Condesa, two of the oldest and most trendy neighborhoods of the capital. This is also the zone of the hecatomb, where debris and collapsed buildings have replaced the usual landscape of cafes, art galleries, bars and shops filled with foreigners and Mexicans.

In just one week, according to the Mexican Association of Travel Agencies (AMAV), the number of foreign and Mexican tourists in the capital has decreased by as much as 50%, when the normal occupancy rate at this time is 66%, and 15% in the rest of the country.

(PHOTO: efe.com)


Official sources say cancellations are 30% throughout the country and insist that the most sought after destinations such as Cancún, Puerto Vallarta, Los Cabos and Acapulco have not been affected, but the contagion effect is feared. In fact, the Secretary of Tourism, Enrique de la Madrid, presented on Monday Sept. 25 in New York the campaign “Mexico, a world in itself” to promote the influx of foreigners.

“All destinations are open and there is no reason for travelers to cancel or change their travel plans because they contribute to the economy of local communities,” he said.

Many professionals in the sector are worried and maintain that their businesses are still open for holidays, pointing out that of the 300 hotels in the capital, only seven have had to close due to structural damage and another 15 have to undergo a review. Of the affected hotels, none is included in the tourist circuits, according to government sources, while 60 of those located in Roma and Condesa are among those that have suffered minor damage to façades and rooms. But when there is fear, the statistics are no consolation.

“After the earthquake and the following days we had 70% of cancellations,” says Homero Nava, owner of Villa Condesa Hotel, a boutique hotel in Colima Street, with few rooms and located in a restored mansion that suffered no damage during the earthquake and that became a real oasis of tranquility on that nightmare night for thousands of chilangos.

“It’s 30% less than last year. We want to think that it will recover when the media impact (disipates). In fact, we are receiving many messages of support from around the world and we tell them that the best way to support is to come,” he says.

A few meters away, in the luxurious Condesa DF, located on Avenida Veracruz, part of the Habita chain and frequented by celebrities, Óscar in reception confirms the trend. “We have had many cancellations, but I can not give you the precise information. Especially for the month of October, not yet for November or December.”

This assessment is supported by Israel Cruz, of the Mali House, habitual accommodation of foreign executives in front of the Park Mexico, that was forced to close some days for lack of services, but that now operates with normality. “We estimate that we are losing 20% ​​of the reserves,” he says.

The feared effect of any tourism catastrophe such as violence or terrorism is concentrated in very determined areas (all Mexico, Mexico City, Oaxaca, Morelos and Chiapas, account for 28% of tourism of the country) and affect a very specific segment, especially the Americans and Canadians (the majority visitors) who are the ones who demand the most about the security and location of the accommodations.

“When these phenomena happen people do not want to sleep, we have to return the cash and we will have no cash flow,” Rafael García, president of the Mexican Hotel and Motel Association (AMHM), told the media. Many establishments and airlines are thinking of offering an aggressive policy of discounts to attract visitors, with discounts that could reach up to 50% in places like Acapulco for the next three months.

Experts fear that even these measures can not clear a gloomy picture for Mexico, just when, paradoxically, it has almost completed its best year: 35 million tourists, a figure that had made it the eighth destination in the world.

 

Source: elpais.com[:es]El turismo en ciudad de México sufrió un duro golpe esta semana con el mortal terremoto que sacudió al país y muchos visitantes, atemorizados, cancelaron miles de reservas hoteleras en una animada zona del centro que normalmente es el barrio de moda más animado de la capital.

El viernes, tres días después del terremoto de magnitud 7.1 que derrumbó a varios de edificios, los hipsters locales empezaban a regresar a la zona Condesa/Roma, con un look y una actitud discretos en respeto a las muertes y los daños que eran evidentes en las calles del lugar.

Algunos cafés y restaurantes permanecían abiertos a los clientes, y muchos también ofrecían comida y bebidas gratuitas a rescatadores, policías y soldados que se encuentran aun desplegados trabajando en los edificios derrumbados, algunos de los cuales se encuentran a pocos metros.

No obstante, la mayoría de los lugares que hace una semana ofrecían café y mesas para trabajar, estaban aún cerrados, y los turistas extranjeros que normalmente se dejan caer por el barrio para curiosear en sus tiendas modernas y artísticas, estaban ausentes. Muchos de ellos han cancelado sus vacaciones al país tras el desastre.

Otros, como Magali Ricoce, una francesa de 36 años que está en México por primera vez visitando a unos amigos, vivió el terremoto del martes y quedó traumatizada. “En un momento creí que iba a morir”, explicó esta joven añadiendo que al día siguiente, a causa del shock tardío, estuvo vomitando por el estrés.

Ahora está alojada en casa de sus amigos pero “es un poco como estar en un refugio… ya no pienso como una turista, pienso más bien en que estoy feliz de estar viva”. A pesar de la sacudida, Magali dice que le gustaría regresar a México en el futuro, aunque “vi turistas que salían de sus hoteles con sus maletas con la actitud de solo querer regresar a casa”, señala.

Pérdidas hoteleras

Para los hoteles que se encuentran en este barrio moderno del centro, este éxodo y la avalancha de cancelaciones se traduce en un golpe inmediato al negocio. “Hemos tenido un montón de cancelaciones”, dice Erick Vargas, jefe de la recepción del hotel City Express.

Tenía todas las habitaciones de su hotel reservadas pero cuando las noticias sobre el terremoto dieron la vuelta al planeta, 300 reservas que tenía confirmadas se evaporaron repentinamente, lo que significa una pérdida de 40,000 dólares, que esperaba doblar con las reservas de último momento.

Aunque el hotel y sus huéspedes emergieron del seísmo afectados pero intactos, Vargas se encontró súbitamente en una zona desierta, habitada solamente por las operaciones de rescate.

Él mismo se quedó sin techo porque su casa en Roma se encontraba apenas a dos puertas de un edificio inestable. “No he podido entrar. Desde entonces estoy viviendo en el hotel”, con su compañero de piso y su perro, explicó.

Fuente: El Economista[:]

Leave a Reply