Mexican resort hotels almost empty as coronavirus crushes tourism


MEXICO CITY, April 2 (Reuters) - Hotel occupancy rates in top tourist resorts in Mexico have plunged to single digits this week as measures to contain the coronavirus outbreak hammered demand, the Mexican association of hotels and motels (AMHM) said on Thursday.

The public health scare has cast a pall over the peak "spring break" season that usually lures tens of thousands of young Americans south, as restrictions to halt the spread of the coronavirus spurred widespread cancellations.

An AMHM spokesman said hotel occupancy was this week around 6% both in the Caribbean resort of Cancun, a magnet for foreign tourists, and in the Pacific getaway of Acapulco. In Isla Mujeres, an island next to Cancun, the rate was 2%.

Occupancy rates are usually around 40-50% in Acapulco and 30% in the other two at this time of year, the spokesman said.

Tourism is a pillar of the Mexican economy and one of the principal drivers of foreign exchange income. Some private sector economists are already forecasting the economy could contract by as much as 8% this year.

In the state of Baja California Sur, home to the popular beach resorts of Los Cabos, officials are discouraging arrivals.

"Friends we regret to ask you to abstain from visiting Baja California Sur during April," state governor Carlos Mendoza Davis said in a post in English on his Twitter account.

Authorities had decided to close beaches, hotels, bars and restaurants because of the coronavirus, Mendoza said.

(Reporting by Noe Torres and Dave Graham, Editing by Rosalba O'Brien)

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