About this blog

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This page was last updated on: 31 July 2006

Here you will find specialised information for

  • travellers trying to find out the latest developments 
  • tourism professionals to demonstrate how the "Mexican Caribbean" is getting back on its feet

I will be updating these pages regularly with:

  • reader-submitted trip reports and testimony from people in the region now
  • a feed of 850+ photos taken of beaches and resorts after Wilma using the Flickr photo-sharing community
  • updated bulletins on dates hotels will be open for business
  • commentary and analysis of mainstream news coverage

Readers can keep up-to-date by subscribing to our RSS feed.

I expect to keep this website active at least until December 31st, 2006… although updates will now be less regular than they were between December 2005 and April this year.

Making sense of it all

Arguably a greater challenge to the physical restoration of Cancún’s Hotel Zone, will be that of repairing the public relations damage inflicted on the city immediately following Hurricane Wilma.

There is some degree of confusion about the status of Cancún and the Riviera Maya after Wilma. This damages public confidence and makes it more difficult to correct any misplaced perceptions people may have about the extent of the recovery.   

We all saw the scenes of devastation on the TV news bulletins (although there was another story largely ignored by the mainstream media). We rarely get to see – or read – of the recovery. This has so far been impressive.

However, I have always believed in giving people an honest assessment of what they will find when they reach their destination. "Warts and all", as Oliver Cromwell once said. This is something I have done for over five years through Mexicanwave. It does not mean I love Mexico any less, as those who know me will vouch.

It puzzles me to hear people complain that it rained on their September holiday in Cancún, for example. It rankles me to learn of couples’ unwittingly despatched on their honeymoon with storm clouds gathering.

When we travel, we all have a responsibility to know before we go. Tour operators share this responsibility – especially when sending customers to Mexico during the June to November hurricane season.

In the days and weeks following the hurricane, I received a number of emails from visitors to Mexicanwave asking me for the latest updates from the region following Wilma.

It is difficult to know in whom to believe.

While there are websites providing information on the evolving situation, they are dispersed and you often get contradictory information. If a hotel is operating normally… then their website should say so, not pretend that the hurricane never happened.

Some hotels provide information that can be construed as being misleading – or confusing at best. For example, the EcoTulum group feature "before" and "after" Wilma photos which fall into this category. In my view, this detracts from their otherwise useful summary.

Delusion of control

Then, on November 14th in London, I spoke with Gabriela Rodríguez Gálvez, Tourism Minister for Quintana Roo, the state that is home to Cancún, Cozumel, Isla Mujeres, Isla Holbox and the Riviera Maya.

We discussed the challenges ahead. I expressed my belief that traditional PR and marketing methods are losing their grip on customers as we take recommendations from each other.

It is no longer good enough to bombard people with overly cheery messages about how, for example, Cancún was "open for business" soon after the hurricane.

Consumers are more outspoken and now sharing their good and bad experiences online without fear.

The authority of the one-way broadcast model is declining. It is now a conversation. Word-of-mouth is more powerful than an expensive TV ad or the gimmicky glass-sided "Promobus" filled with sand, palm trees and bikini-clad beachgoers which roamed the wintry streets of US cities in December.

I resolved to create this website to help information to flow more easily and to encourage this conversation.

Of course, just saying it doesn’t make it true; I’ll do my best to verify everything that I write here.

Long distance blogging

I am not currently in Cancún, or even Mexico. I’m writing all this from my corner of SW England, 5000 miles away. I rely on a growing list of people to be my eyes and ears on the ground.

I try to piece together the jigsaw, check facts, reconcile conflicting reports, add context and perspective, and hopefully ask some smart questions. Let me know what you think.

Steve Bridger
steve at mexicanwave.com

Steve Bridger is a UK-based consultant and journalist who in 2006 was the first non-Mexican recipient of the Colibri Ecotourism Achievement Award, presented to a leading catalyst working towards ecotourism in Mexico.  In 2003, the President of Mexico awarded Steve the prestigious Lente de Plata (‘Silver Lens’) award for his writing on Mexico.

Steve maintains another respected blog, Mexicanwave, (Ten Best Travel Blogs, The Guardian), which is the independent online resource most often cited in guidebooks to Mexico. His "Mexico x 100" series of photographs has also received acclaim.

Steve is a member of the International Travel Writers Alliance.

When he’s not blogging, Steve is usually having conversations with others about the power of blogs and online communities.