The deadly magnitude-7.1 earthquake that struck central Mexico on Sept. 19 took more than 280 lives and destroyed dozens of buildings. “My heart goes out to the families of the people who lost their lives — among which are many children,” Eric Alvarez, CMP, CASE, owner of Destination Management Services of Mexico (DMS) and past president of the PCMA Mexico Chapter, told Convene via email, just days after the earthquake hit. He added: “I do, however, feel tremendously grateful for the rest of the 23 million people who were pretty much unscathed in their health or their belongings.”
Among the unscathed is the infrastructure supporting the events community. The official statement released by the Mexican Council of Meetings on Sept. 20 noted that in the three cities affected by the earthquake — Mexico City, Puebla, and Cuernavaca — hotels and convention centers were not impacted and are functioning at 100 percent.
Likewise, Alvarez told Convene that he could “joyfully report that in Mexico City, none of the main hotels, including the Hilton, Intercontinental, Hyatt, St. Regis, Four Seasons, Camino Real, Barceló and others, were damaged and are all ‘business as usual’ and receiving guests in a normal manner. The main convention centers, Centro City Banamex, World Trade Center, and Expo Santa Fe, were not only unharmed, but are all functioning as recollection centers.”
Any misconception that could lead to a change of travel plans away from Mexico City would truly be devastating to us.
According to both Alvarez and the Mexican Council of Meetings, the affected cities are safe and ready for business. “We want to thank the MICE community in Mexico and the world,” the statement read, “which have expressed their solidarity with us by sending support messages and requesting information on the different ways to help. Currently, the situation is under control … with many hands and souls helping at every moment. We reiterate that all destinations in the country are safe and prepared to receive any kinds of programs, hence the most important help we need at this moment is to support the meetings industry and everyone that works in it by maintaining the events that are the main source of income for many families….”
Alvarez also expressed gratitude at the outpouring of concern and support, and reinforced the council’s message: “Many people outside of Mexico are asking me what they can do to help. The answer is very simple. Please help us keep so many sources of income that are so crucial to so many in the recovery effort. If you have planned meetings or group, personal, or business travel to Mexico, please know that Mexico City is safe and ready to greet you. We are not — by any means — a devastated city nor have we been torn apart by this earthquake. Any misconception that could lead to a change of travel plans away from Mexico City would truly be devastating to us.
“So, you really want to help? Then come down to Mexico and enjoy everything it has to offer, stay at our top-of-the-line hotels, dine at our outstanding restaurants, visit our incredible sites, and experience the wonder that Mexico City has been for so many years and will continue to be so in the foreseeable future!”
PCMA and the PCMA Education Foundation have established the PCMA Industry Relief Fund to provide assistance to members in the meetings and events industry who have been impacted by the recent natural disasters inn Texas, Florida, the Caribbean, and Mexico.