Friday, November 25, 2005

Latest On Isla Mujeres - Wilma Recovery: Come On Down!

from today's El Universal:
Damage to cost insurers US1.6 bln
The tourism secretary said the region known as the Mexican Caribbean should be up and running by January.

Wire services
El Universal
November 25, 2005

Hurricane Wilma's damage in Mexico will cost insurers 17.4 billion pesos (US1.6 billion), making it the country's most expensive disaster, Tourism Minister Rodolfo Elizondo said.

The claims are from hotels, restaurants and shops based in Mexico's biggest beach resorts of Cancun, Cozumel and Isla Mujeres that were destroyed or damaged by Wilma a month ago. Only about 1.8 billion pesos of the claims have been paid to date, Elizondo said on Thursday at a news conference in Mexico City.

Elizondo will ask insurers to speed up the payments so that the region, known as the Mexican Caribbean, can be rebuilt in time for the height of the tourist season in January. The government will spend US10 million by the end of the year to advertise the region domestically and overseas and lure tourists back, he said.

"The priority is to ensure that we won't lose the next season," Elizondo said, minutes before a meeting with insurance executives. "We're putting pressure on them."

About 75 percent of hotels, bars, restaurants and shops in Cancun, Cozumel and Isla Mujeres will be operating by Dec. 15, which marks the start of the tourist season in Mexico, he said. Hotels in the region have about 35 percent of their rooms occupied now, said Gabriela Rodríguez, tourism secretary of Quintana Roo state, during the same conference.

The government will invite as many as five foreign companies next week to rebuild the beaches of Cancun, which had most of their sand washed away by Wilma, Elizondo said. The companies will have to suck the sand from the sea back to the shore, he said.


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