The swine flu crisis has forced the Mexico Tourism Board to reconsider a UK marketing campaign planned for next month. Both the timing and the message are set to change following a crisis meeting at Mexican trade show Tianguis in Acapulco.
Tourism board director for Europe Manuel Diaz Cebrian said: “We had planned a campaign in the UK in May. But people need to know the situation is improving first. Now is not the time to show images of Mexico.”
Cebrian said the campaign message would be akin to “Mexico is open as usual”.
He estimated no more than a few thousand UK holidaymakers are likely to be in Mexico at the moment out of the annual total of 300,000.
On the outbreak he admitted Mexico had never dealt with anything like this before.
“This is something new for us. We have hurricanes and earthquakes here, but never anything like this.
“It could happen anywhere and we are not denying what has happened. I think we are coping well, but it is changing every hour.
“The government is telling people in Mexico City, the centre of the outbreak, to stay home, avoid crowds and wear a mask if you cannot. The infection is transmitted by close contact and by hand, so the advice is to avoid personal contact, wash your hands carefully and so on.
“The situation looks worse from a distance. There have been withdrawals from trade show Tianguis this week in Acapulco because people´s families have called to ask them to go home.
“The situation is bad. Mexico has been on the news a lot and it has been difficult.