Swine flu update: Warnings ramp down, suppliers gear up

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*logoAs the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the State Department eased their travel warnings to Mexico, hotels and other travel suppliers began rolling out deals to help fill hotel rooms left empty by the H1N1 swine flu outbreak. 

Apple Vacations, which earlier in the month launched what it called its biggest-ever sale on packages to Mexico, said it would extend the promotion through May 28 due to its popularity. 

"New sales are gaining more and more momentum," said Tim Mullen, Apple's senior vice president. Apple's "Biggest-Ever Mexico Sale" campaign includes package prices that are the lowest they've been in more than a decade, with savings of up to 70%, the company said.

Apple said one-way, nonstop air to Cancun on USA3000 starts at $100 during select dates from May to October.

AMResorts -- which operates Zoetry Wellness & Spa Resorts, Secrets Resorts & Spas and Dreams Resorts & Spas in Cancun and the Riviera Maya -- was one of the first hotel companies to introduce a Flu-Free Guarantee, offering three future trips gratis to customers who contract the swine flu while staying at one of its Mexico properties.

In order to qualify for the free vacations, a guest must have booked their trip between May 8 and June 30 and traveled by Dec. 20 and are required to present medical proof of having contracted the virus.

Another hotel company offering a Flu-Free Guarantee is Real Resorts, which operates four properties in Cancun and Playa del Carmen (www.realresorts.com). Real Resorts said guests must show proof of having contracted the virus within 14 days of checking out of one of its resorts between May and October to receive three free return trips.

Marquis Los Cabos Resort (www.marquisloscabos.com) is offering an upgrade to a beachfront casita with private pool plus a free additional suite as part of its Hotel With a Heart Package. The offer is available for stays through the end of June and represents a $1,866 value, the resort said.

Other Mexico resorts offering free rooms include the Tides Riviera Maya and the Tides Zihuatanejo, two upscale properties operated by the Kor Hotel Group. The two Tides properties are offering a second comparable room for free when customers reserve by the end of September (www.tideszihuatanejo.com and www.tidesrivieramaya.com). Both Tides properties are also offering airfare credits when guests stay a minimum of four nights.

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