Hotels on Mexico's Caribbean coast on Tuesday offered free vacations for three years to any tourist catching swine flu while on holiday there, in a bid to counter swine flu's blow to the industry.
The A(H1N1) outbreak in Mexico, from which 58 have died, has sparked mass cancelations of tourist bookings to one of the world's top tourist destinations.
Advertisement"The 'flu-free guarantee' assures three years of free holidays to travelers who present flu symptoms eight days after returning from their trip," said Fernando Garcia, director of one of the participating hotel groups.
Some 5,000 hotel rooms were so far involved in the promotion which Garcia said he hoped would grow to demonstrate confidence in Mexico's beach resorts.
The hotel owners would also send letters to the US government, to be published in US newspapers, calling for a lifting of an alert against non-essential travel Mexico due to the flu epidemic.
Health Minister Jose Angel Cordova underlined Tuesday that several top Mexican beach resorts, including Cozumel on the east coast and Puerto Vallarta on the west coast, had not registered any A(H1N1) cases.
"Tourist destinations are safe in Mexico, people can return calmly, we are carrying out intensive checks," Cordova said.
But the health minister said Monday that three foreigners -- one Scot and two from the United States -- were among more than 2,000 swine flu infections identified in Mexico, including two who had been in the beach resort of Cancun.
With hotel occupancy down across the country, the swine flu crisis caused 25 hotels to close in and around Cancun, local officials said Monday.
The flu's impact, including on tourism, was expected to cost Mexico's economy around 2.3 billion dollars, around 0.3 percent of gross domestic product.
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