Mexico suffers double-digit drop in hotel occupancy because of swine flu


Mexico’s hotel industry occupancy dropped more than 50 percent at the end of April and beginning of May, after the outbreak of influenza A (H1N1), or the swine flu, was announced, according to data from Smith Travel Research (STR).

“Mexico was already reeling from bad publicity from gang- and drug-related violence,” said Jan Freitag, vice president, global development at STR. “This swine flu outbreak did not help the cause of the country’s hotel industry.”

Hotels in Mexico reported rapid occupancy decreases at the end of April and first few days of May:

· Sunday, April 26, occupancy was at 36.1 percent (-21.1 percent in year-over-year results).

· By Wednesday, April 29, occupancy was below 30 percent, down to 29.5 percent (-46.8 percent in year-over-year results)

· By Saturday, May 2, occupancy had dropped even more to 24.4 percent (-62.1 percent in year-over-year results).

· Overall for the week, Mexico reported a 50.7-percent drop in occupancy.

“The impact of H1N1 influenza is severe, but we hope it will be fairly short-lived as the international media reports on the easing of travel restrictions,” Freitag continued. “However, it will likely be felt throughout the summer.”