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.