Carnival Corp. Chairman Micky Arison has asked President Barack Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to encourage the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to revise the travel advisory to Mexico.
In a letter written on behalf of the Florida-Caribbean Cruise Association, Arison requested that Obama and Clinton consider the impact of the CDC travel advisory that discourages travel to Mexico because of the H1N1 influenza.
"The impact of this ban on the economy of Mexico is very serious," Arison wrote. "It will have unintended consequences on Mexican citizens that include loss of employment, revenues to governments, and ultimately their public health and welfare."
Arison added that the health implications of the H1N1 flu are not limited to Mexico.
"The same precautions that you mentioned this week should apply to all travelers, domestic and international," he said. "Effectively banning travel to the entire country causes unnecessary widespread harm to Mexico."
The travel advisory was, in effect, a ban on cruise travel to Mexico, as cruise ships have responded to the advisory by skipping Mexican ports, he said.
Arison noted that the Department of Homeland Security has determined that closing land border crossings is not warranted. He added that the World Health Organization (WHO) issued a statement titled "No Rationale for Travel Restrictions."
The Florida-Caribbean Cruise Association's medical professionals "agree with the CDC and WHO officials who have publicly stated that the H1N1 virus is generally no greater health risk than seasonal influenza," Arison wrote.
Arison said in the letter that cruise ships have medical facilities onboard and screen passengers, and have worked closely for many years with the CDC.
Arison is chairman of the Florida-Caribbean Cruise Association, which consists of 14 cruise lines and over 600 private and public sector members in the Caribbean and Latin America.