SAN FRANCISCO -- Hurricane Mitch, downgraded to a tropical storm, spared the resorts of Cancun and Cozumel at the tip of the Yucatan Peninsula.

While officials were taking emergency precautions in the event that Mitch reverses its course, tourism services were back to normal, according to the Cancun Convention and Visitors Bureau and the Cozumel Hotel Association.

Flights were operating as scheduled at the Cancun and Cozumel airports, and it was business as usual at hotels, restaurants and shops.

Cancun did not issue evacuation orders during the hurricane watch this week, but roughly 36,000 vacationers fled to escape Mitch, one of the most powerful hurricanes of the century. According to the Quintana Roo Hotel Association, travelers who decided to cut their vacations short because of the hurricane threat will receive refunds from the Cancun hotels for any room nights not used.

The hotline that was set up to field questions regarding the hurricane remains open. The number is (011) 52-9 887-8700.

At press time, Tropical Storm Mitch was centered over land in northern Honduras and was moving west-southwest at three mph.

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