Mexico uses star power to entice tourists to return

The Associated PressMay 26, 2009 

— If the rich, famous and pretty are returning to Mexico's beaches now that officials say the swine flu epidemic is waning, won't everyone else?

That's the message of a $90 million campaign aimed at luring tourists scared off by the outbreak, which has killed at least 83 people in Mexico.

The government-funded campaign will feature ads with opera singer Placido Domingo, champion golfer Lorena Ochoa and other national heroes.

President Felipe Calderon said Monday that Mexico will also invite international celebrities to visit, but he didn't name them.

Tourism is Mexico's third-largest source of legal foreign income. But swine flu fears have stemmed the flow of visitors and pushed hotel occupancy to a record low.

The World Health Organization tallied more than 12,500 swine flu cases worldwide as of Monday.

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