Germany’s largest tour operators suspend Mexico City trips in wake of swine flu outbreak

April 27th, 2009

German vacation firms halt Mexico City trips

BERLIN — Germany’s leading vacation tour operators said Monday they are skipping stops to Mexico City as a precaution amid the outbreak of a deadly strain of swine flu.

The Hannover-based TUI said Monday that trips through May 4 to the Mexican capital were being suspended, including those operated by TUI itself and also through companies 1-2 Fly, Airtours, Berge & Meer, Grebeco and L’tur.

TUI said other holiday trips to Mexico would continue to operate but would not make stops in Mexico City “for the next few weeks.”

Thomas Cook, the second-largest travel firm in Germany, said it will “omit trips to Mexico City for the time being,” on prepackaged tours to Mexico. “Instead, stays in other stops will be extended,” the company said.

But not every operator felt the need to make changes to prebooked tours.

“We are carrying on with trips as usual,” said Andrea Probst, spokeswoman for Frankfurt-based tour operator Deutsches Reisebuero. Although the flu is a “big media issue right now,” she said travel to Mexico remains relatively normal.

“We have a call center where tourist agents call in with questions that they are getting from their customers,” she said. “We are getting relatively few questions about the flu.”

Operators that come under the Deutsches Reisebuero umbrella will not refund money for canceled or rescheduled trips to Mexico, she said.

The number of suspected swine flu cases in Mexico had climbed to 1,614 as of Sunday. Swine flu has been confirmed in 22 deaths in Mexico and is suspected in a total of 103 deaths there.

So far there have been no reported cases of swine flu in Germany.

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