Should you go to Mexico?

The other day a colleague of mine told me he was going to Mexico in the fall to attend a conference.

"That's great," I told him. "Where are you going?"

"Guadalajara," he said.

"I used to live there. It's a beautiful city. I will give you some contacts and names of cool cafes and restaurants," I said.

Then he asked the question that I'm sure is still on the minds of many Americans.

"Do you think I need to worry about the swine flu?"
"I wouldn't worry about it," I told him.

I take at least one trip a year to Mexico. I was just there for two weeks in January and I'm healthy.

Now granted I'm not a doctor and but I would just consider some of the facts.

On Friday, the Centers for Disease Control
lifted its general warning that Americans avoid non-essential travel to
Mexico. The warning has now been downgraded to a precaution for people
at high risk of flu complications.

There are around 4,700
confirmed and or probable cases in 46 U.S. states plus the District of
Columbia. Five people have died as a result in the United States.

There are more than 100 million people in Mexico. So far there are almost 3,000 confirmed cases of the H1N1 virus and 66 deaths.

Now
consider this. Around 300,000 people die a year worldwide from symptoms
of the common flu, including 36,000 in the United States.

But if it makes you feel better talk to your doctor or check out the CDC's weekly surveillance report.

Reports and fears over the H1N1 virus seem to be dwindling but Mexico is going to feel the impact for a long time.

Poor
Mexico. First people were afraid to go there due to the drug war, which
is unlikely to impact your average tourist - unless you're hanging out
with narcotraffickers.

Now this new flu is decimating the
tourism industry, which brings in around $13 billion annually. This is
the third largest source of foreign currency after remittances from
immigrants living in the United States and oil revenues.

Mexico is the 10th-most-visited tourist destination in the world with more than 22.6 million international visitors last year.

Now some hotels are reporting 20 percent occupancy when the normally are at 80 percent.

Mexico's
tourism minister, Rodolfo Elizondo, recently predicted that the number
of international visitors could fall to almost zero.

I hope he is wrong.

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