Travel Weeklys Mexico E-letter: November 2, 2005

PESOS FOR CANCUN: The Mexican federal government is pledging millions of dollars to help destinations in Quintana Roo state, such as Cancun and Cozumel, recover from Wilma, with President Vicente Fox setting a goal of having 80% of resort facilities ready to accept high-season visitors as of Dec. 15. Mexico City is exempting all investments in storm-affected areas from tax through June, and will allow affected businesses to pay Social Security taxes and utility bills in interest-free installments. National tourism trust Fonatur will commit $19 million to restore beachfronts and $10 million to infrastructure repair, while some $820 million in bank financing and loans will be made available to hotels and small- and medium-sized businesses in affected areas. And Mexicos finance ministry is encouraging insurance firms to process Wilma-related claims quickly. Lastly, the Mexico Tourist Board will conduct marketing and public relations campaigns, including specials events to be held Dec. 15 to 22, to get visitors back to Quintana Roo.

EXODUS REDUX: As of Nov. 1, 51,308 tourists had been evacuated from Quintana Roo since Hurricane Wilma hit Oct. 21 -- on 13 flights from Cozumel, 177 flights from Cancun and 97 from Merida, in addition to 150 bus trips from Cancun, according to figures from the Mexico Tourist Board. Some 2,000 remaining tourists were still to leave Cancun and 5,000 more, the Riviera Maya, at press time. Six domestic airlines -- Mexicana, Click by Mexicana, Aeromexico, Azteca, Magnicharters and Aviacsa -- restarted departures from Cancuns damaged airport as of Oct. 28, with the first domestic arrivals landing Oct. 29.

MAS INFORMACION: The resorts and attractions in Cancun, Cozumel and other neighboring destinations slammed by Wilma continue cleanup and recovery efforts. For the latest, most concise updates, visit tourist board sites such as from the Cancun Convention and Visitors Bureau or the Riviera Maya Tourism Promotion Board site at

TAX-FREE HAVEN: Mexicos congress passed a tourism ministry-backed law introducing tax-free shopping for international tourists as of July 1, 2006. Spearheaded by Mexicos Secretary of Tourism Rodolfo Elizondo Torres, the law -- which passed with little opposition -- is designed to increase competition in tourism and foster private investments. It grants foreign visitors full refunds of the retail tax on purchases of at least 1,200 pesos (about $110), provided receipts are presented upon departure to airport or seaport customs officials.


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