May 21, 2009

Can Bono save Mexico City?

(Thanks for your patience with the lack of posts recently. My second son was just born and it's been a bit

From reuters:

Click above to see the article on Reuters, or read below. I've pasted it here.


MEXICO CITY (Reuters Life!) - Mexico City's mayor wants to deploy pop stars Bono and Shakira to help put the Mexican capital back on the map as a tourist destination after the H1N1 flu outbreak scared away visitors.

Marcelo Ebrard, a leftist with presidential aspirations, said he has written to the U2 frontman, the Colombian singer and billionaire philanthropist Bill Gates to ask them to endorse a publicity campaign to restore the city's image.

The swine flu epidemic emptied Mexico City's normally chaotic streets for days on end, and the city is still haunted by images of face masks and shuttered bars and restaurants.

"We are facing the worst economic emergency in the recent history of Mexico City. Its results may be tragic for thousands of families whose incomes, jobs and investments are at risk," Ebrard said in the letters.

The celebrities, all known for their efforts to combat poverty and disease around the world, are being asked to put their face behind Ebrard's campaign with a visit to Mexico City.

The new flu, which has killed 74 people in Mexico and sparked fears of a pandemic, prompted authorities to shut chunks of the economy for five days and close schools for two weeks to curb contagion, in a huge blow to businesses.

Mexico City receives 12 million tourists every year, 25 percent of them foreigners loaded up with foreign currency.

Ebrard, who has made his mark with popular leisure schemes such as bicycle lanes, city water parks and an end-year ice rink, has already launched a television campaign to lure back Mexican tourists to the capital, featuring good-looking actors shopping and riding double-decker city tour buses.

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