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On Friday September 8, 2017, Mexico was hit by a huge 8.2 magnitude earthquake.
The earthquake struck the county’s southern coastline, close to the border with Guatemala. Southern Mexico has taken the brunt of the damage, with Oaxaca and Chiapas states in particular being badly affected. Aftershocks remain a threat in these areas.
Generally, British tourists head to Mexico’s Caribbean coastline, to popular resorts such as Cancun, Cozumel and Tulum. Due to the distance between these resorts and the affected areas, it appears to be business as usual there. Larger operators, such as Thomson and Thomas Cook, have not issued any warnings to holidaymakers, but you should still check with your operator before travel.
The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) has not changed its advice on the country as a whole; however, if you are southern Mexico, it states that travellers “should follow the advice of the local authorities”.
If you are going on holiday to Mexico in the next few days, keep an eye on the FCO’s advice for any new updates.
In the event the situation changes and the FCO alters its status on Mexico deeming it unsafe for travel, then your operator should be able to offer you a rescheduled holiday. However, as an earthquake is classed as an “extraordinary circumstance”, compensation is highly unlikely.
Regardless of where you are going in Mexico, you should consult your tour operator before travelling.
As previously mentioned, the distance between the earthquake’s impact and Mexico’s major tourist resorts means that there has been little disruption to the majority of holidaymakers’ plans.
Virgin Holidays says it is monitoring the situation, but at present “all Virgin Holidays’ destinations and resorts have been unaffected. Flight schedules, and holidays booked with Virgin Holidays, will continue to travel as planned”.
Thomson and First Choice have issued a similar statement: “Due to the distance from our resorts in Cancun and Puerto Vallarta, we can confirm that none of our customers have been affected and we continue to operate as normal.”
Presently, there is no specific advice or update from Thomas Cook.
You should check with your operator before travelling if you are concerned about your trip to Mexico.
If your flight has been cancelled or delayed overnight, you are entitled to assistance from your airline in the form of free meals and drinks (where appropriate), accommodation (should you be delayed overnight) and two free phone calls (or emails/faxes where appropriate).
As earthquakes fall under “extraordinary circumstances”, you will not be entitled to compensation, but the airline should be able to reschedule your flight.
If you’re in a part of the country which has been affected by the earthquake you should remain calm and follow the instructions of the local authorities.
However, if you are in an area that remains untroubled, the best advice is to enjoy the rest of your holiday and keep an eye on any FCO updates for Mexico.
Currently, if you decide not to go on holiday to Mexico, you are liable for normal cancellation charges which could be as much as 100% of your holiday cost.
You will not be able to claim any loss back from an insurer if you choose not to travel – this is because there are currently no FCO restrictions in place.
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