The rapid recovery programme carried out in Mexico’s leading Caribbean resorts after the devastation caused by Hurricane Wilma last year can serve as a blueprint for other tourist regions facing similar catastrophes, the head of the United Nations tourism body said today.
“Getting these resorts back into action so quickly after such a destructive hurricane is a credit to the combined efforts of both public and private sectors in Mexico,” World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) Secretary-General Francesco Frangialli added after a visit to some of the worst-affected areas around Cancun.
During a fact-finding tour to Mexico, in which he promised UNWTO’s continuing support in assisting in the recovery efforts, Mr. Frangialli noted that despite Wilma’s onslaught in October the number of foreign tourists had managed to rise to almost 22 million and their spending to $12 billion.
“With climate change increasingly threatening the livelihood of the tourism industry, the speed and efficiency shown in the recuperation of these resorts is worthy of being a role model to be followed by other destinations around the world,” he said.
As a result Mexico had joined a special UNWTO group to draw up a joint plan to prepare for and offer management guidelines for future crises that may affect the industry, among them the threat of a global bird flu pandemic.
Latest tourism figures for Mexico’s Caribbean region show an average 83 per cent occupation of the 53,000 hotel beds. While refurbishment continues at Cancun airport, terminal 1 is completely operative for scheduled and charter flights and all main roads in the area have been reopened to traffic.