Mexico seems to be attracting more than just tourists this fall. Tropical storms, including Hurricane Manuel along the Pacific coast and Tropical Storm Ingrid from the Gulf of Mexico, stirred up trouble for the Mexican government, its citizens, and visitors over the last ten days. After these two systems served up a double whammy to Mexico within a one week time period, many citizens are now facing death, destruction and chaos, including those living or visiting the tourist hot spot of Acapulco located in the state of Guerrero.
According to USA Today, this is Mexico’s worst weather crisis since 1958. With tourism accounting for the nation’s fifth largest source of revenue as mentioned by Bloomberg Businessweek, Mexico takes its economic sweet spot quite seriously. Between 40,000 and 60,000 tourists were evacuated out of Acapulco Alvarez International Airport by commercial flights and from Pie de la Cuesta Air Force Base by the Mexican government, following the storms’ rampage. Stranded tourists were offered complimentary rooms, and a special hotline to assist with travel plans was established by the Mexican Tourism Department.
While many international tourists are looking forward to holiday travel plans this November and December, could the effects of these tropical systems cause some to travel elsewhere? This recent weather disruption could put a damper on tourism the next couple of weeks while resorts are challenged with cleaning up the mess. The question now posed to the hospitality industry is one of preparedness.
These weather events demonstrate how quickly resorts and hotels must act when wild weather arrives at their doorsteps. The rapidity with which a resort acts to safeguard its location and guests when severe weather is forecasted has a direct correlation to their ease of recovery and return to full operation. As we have mentioned in a previous blog, a hotel’s emergency response plan needs to address every safety concern, from evacuating guests to providing enough food and water, installing generators, and making the necessary arrangements to be fully staffed. The Mexican government was quick to react with the evacuation of guests from affected areas, illustrating that they have learned from previous severe weather episodes.
While we have a little more than two months left in the 2013 Atlantic hurricane season, resorts along the Gulf of Mexico are still facing tropical threats. According to ImpactWeather’s Lead Hurricane Forecaster Chris Hebert, we still need to keep an eye on the Northwest Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico for possible development through October. Before you pack your bathing suits and flip flops this fall, check the forecast, confirm a back-up plan with your family, and always err on the side of caution.