Monthly Archives: December 2010

As Mexico’s Tourism Industry Recovers, American Expats Still Worry About Bad Rap

14 December 2010

With 22.6 million tourists expected by the end of 2010, 80% of which are North American, Mexico’s tourism industry continues on its road to recovery.  USA Today’s Jayne Clark, just back from San Miguel de Allende, comments on the situation as seen through the eyes of American expats who have made Mexico their home.

“…not surprisingly, more than one conversation during my visit turned toward security concerns.

But not the sort of concerns you might think. The Americans I spoke with there were worried about the bum rap they believe the entire country is getting due to drug violence that , for the most part, is concentrated hundreds of miles away near the U.S. border.

“There is very little crime here, and what there is doesn’t affect gringos,” said Irina Posner, a retired CBS News employee and one of an estimated 12,000 to 14,000 ex-pats who live full or part-time in San Miguel. ” We love this town. We feel safe in this town.”

So did I, covering miles of narrow, cobbled walkways solo by day and by night in the 17th-century city. I felt as secure as I do in my own neighborhood, yet some innkeepers say they’ve had cancellations due to safety concerns.”

Clark’s and Posner’s comments reflect a broadly shared sentiment in the San Miguel community.  Unfortunately the same cannot be said for those who do not live in Mexico, and have only the news media to look to.  As Clark points out, Americans can be “notoriously near-sighted when it comes to geographical perspective,” letting one part of a country cloud their perspective of the country as a whole.  And the news media does little to help keep things in perspective.

But if violence in Baltimore shouldn’t keep you from visiting New York City, nor should violence in Ciudad Juarez keep you from visiting places like Cancun, San Miguel, or Copper Canyon.  Despite the undeserved reputation that many wonderful areas of Mexico have earned through association, it seems that tourists are beginning to become the wiser, taking advantage of the excellent values that many safe and tourist-friendly Mexican destinations are offering.

Read the full article, here.

Mexico Remains the World’s 10th Most Visited Country

7 December 2010

The Mayan ruins in Mexico's Yucatan peninsula are a popular and safe tourist destination, with a murder rate roughly that of France. (Photo by jimg944's via Flickr)

Yes, despite the drug wars, Mexico remains the world’s 10th most visited country.  And according to The Economist, slightly more foreigners vacation in Mexico now than before the drug wars began.  In addition to world famous beaches and world cultural heritage sites like the Yucatán’s Mayan ruins, the tourism industry’s price cuts have helped lure in frugal travelers looking for a deal.  With tourism back to 2008 levels and new motorways to other Pacific resorts such as Mazatlán and Huatulco being built, Mexico’s tourism industry seems to be on the recovery.  Says The Economist:

It helps the industry that the narcos wage their turf battles far from many tourist spots: Yucatán, home of some of the most-visited Mayan ruins, has a murder rate roughly equal to that of France. The gringo honeypot of Cancún has remained insulated from violence…

Read the full article, here.