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SF is the New Cancun

Notice a sudden surge in out-of-towners dropping cash in Union Square on your lunch breaks?  It’s not your imagination, nor is it a spontaneous SF obsession sweeping the nation. It’s the good ol’ swine flu (a.k.a. the H1N1, a.k.a. That Other Name No One Uses) at it again! A fleet of cruise ships has docked at our fair piers, rerouting South of the border-bound travelers to a decidedly less exotic climate. Health authorities put the brakes on all nonessential travel to Mexico, fearing any more swine-related disease be transmitted back to the states.

Bad news for eager, pale vacationers; good news for the city’s economy.

While SF’s port normally expects 50 to 60 cruise ships calls a year, more than 70 are scheduled for ‘09. That means an extra $500,000 in city revenue, and – get this – about $1 million extra per call for local businesses. So try not to roll your eyes if a neighboring diner refers to his new vacation destination as “’Frisco.” That misinformed traveler may be keeping your favorite restaurant afloat.