Latest Mexico Travel Warning Greenlights Most Tourist Destinations

11 December 2012

As reported in The San Francisco Chronicle, The U.S. State Department’s recent update to its travel warning on Mexico on November 20, 2012 was notable due to the lack of fanfare that has characterized previous warnings.  Also notable is that:

“The State Department has gotten more specific about where travel is dangerous in Mexico – and where it is not. The vagueness of earlier alerts led wary travelers to conclude that all of Mexico was going up in flames. The state-by-state evaluations produced this year, clearly outlining areas to stay away from and places that call for caution, are finally informative enough to encourage travelers to make intelligent decisions.”

Excluding Acapulco, all of the major Mexican tourist destinations are given the green light, including: Mexico City, Cancun and the Riviera Maya, the Costa Maya, Chichen Itza, Merida, Campeche, Baja California Sur, Los Cabos, La Paz, Todos Santos, San Ignacio, San Miguel de Allende, Leon, Oaxaca, Pueblo, and more.

The article goes on to review the areas of Northern Mexico which remain on alert, including Baja California (not to be confused with Baja California Sur), Tijuana, Nuevo Leon and Ciudad Juarez.

To read the full article, go here.

How to Have a Safe Vacation to Mexico

6 December 2012

The Seattle Times discussed recently how to have a safe and enjoyable vacation to Mexico.  The article states that almost all of Mexico’s major tourist destinations are in states that have no travel warnings, including Mexico City, San Miguel del Allende, Oaxaca, Huatulco, Cancun, Playa del Carmen, Tulum, Merida, Chichen Itza and Los Cabos.

From the article:

“The truth is that anywhere you travel, anything can happen. But being educated about where the risks lie in your travels should quell any apprehension about visiting Mexico and experiencing the country’s world-class cuisine, rich culture and majestic nature.

Of Mexico’s 31 states and one federal district, 14 have no travel warnings, according to the U.S. State Department, and seven have travel warnings for specific areas. The department recommends deferring “nonessential travel” to the remaining 11 due to drug-gang violence.

With most violence occurring in areas near the U.S. border and in the southwestern states of Guerrero and Michoacan, there is still plenty of safe territory to explore.”

The article also points out that despite the sensationalized media coverage of Mexico, the country remains a popular tourist destination for Americans.   The 2012 Travel Trends Survey among Travel Leaders reveals that 4 of the top 20 most popular American tourist destinations outside of the country are in Mexico, including: Cancun (#2), Playa del Carmen (#3), Cabo San Lucas/Los Cabos (#11) and Puerto Vallarta (#15).

The article also offers some excellent tips taken from both Mexicans and American expats on having a safe and worry-free trip to Mexico.

Read the entire article and its full list of safety tips here.

Perceptions of Mexico and Its Increasing Economic Relevance

4 December 2012

As USA Today reports, the Mexico that Americans perceive and the Mexico that has developed over the last 20 years are two different places.  A recent report by the advertising firm GSD&M and Vianovo found that the three words that Americans most commonly use to describe Mexico include “drugs,” “poor,” and “unsafe.”  As USA Today points out:

“These perceptions reflect the Mexican reality that dominates headlines: soaring crime rates and gruesome murders in a war against drug traffickers. But this window into Mexico overlooks an economic transformation and deepening ties with the United States that reflect a dramatically different country.”

The same poll found that over half of Americans still see Mexico as a developing country, when in fact it is now a middle class nation.  In the past 15 years, Mexico has seen an increase in middle class wealth that includes roughly half their population.  Furthermore, the Mexican economy has become one of the most open and competitive economies, dominated by manufactured goods, and has expanded North American supply chains, supporting jobs for both Mexican and U.S. workers.

To read the full article on Mexico’s increasing economic relevance, go here.

Conde Nast Traveler Reader’s Choice Awards: San Miguel de Allende

25 October 2012

Mexico’s colonial town and expat paradise San Miguel de Allende was recently named one of Conde Nast Traveler’s Top 10 Cities in the World – as chosen by its readers.  San Miguel topped the list along with Florence, Italy, Bangkok, Thailand and Vancouver, Canada.

See the full list at CNTraveler.com.

Michael Nyman Relocates to Mexico City from London, Feels Safer

3 October 2012

The Telegraph reports that Michael Nyman, the 68-year-old composer of the film The Piano’s award winning score has relocated from his north London residence to Mexico City, where he feels safer.  Says Nyman:

“I feel absolutely no threat or fear in Mexico City. I know there is a huge amount of drug violence in Mexico itself but at the moment it is not in the City.”

Nyman bought a terraced property in the La Roma district of Mexico City in 2008, calling the city a “visual paradise” where he can’t stop taking pictures.

La Roma is one of several parts of Mexico City that has enjoyed a revival in recent years.  La Roma itself features Mexico’s famous colonial architecture and a popular arts scene.

Read the full article here.

The Media’s Myopia with Mexico

9 August 2012

Another popular travel blogger comes to the defense of Mexico.  Terry from Travel by Terry writes a compelling case about the mainstream media’s continued “myopia” in regard to Mexico and its negative perceptions – he says,

“The media’s image of Mexico is blurred precisely because their focus is on one relatively small, admittedly ugly reality and thus falls woefully short of the retina of responsible reportage.”

Terry cites 3 practical metrics for determining the true state of travel safety in Mexico: geography, statistics, and his own personal experience.

Geography: Terry makes the point that Mexico is roughly the size of Western Europe, and of Mexico’s 2,500 municipalities, only 18 have been deemed a security problem.  His provided map illustrates the large distances between problem areas, and some of Mexico’s most popular travel destinations.

Statistics: He backs up his geography lesson with statistics that demonstrate Mexico’s continuing popularity throughout the world as a tourist destination, noting that most popular tourist destinations have no travel advisory at all, including Cancun, Cozumel, Playa del Carmen, Riviera Maya and Tulum, the Riviera Nayarit, Cabo San Lucas, Puerto Vallarta, Guadalajara and San Miguel de Allende, Leon and Mexico City.

Experience:  Terry concludes the passionate post by citing his own personal experience from 25 years of travel in Mexico, and never once having had a negative experience.

To read the full article, go here.

Gadling.com Writer on the True Victims of Mexico’s Drug Violence

12 July 2012

Travel writer Kyle Ellison recently wrote about his recent trip to Mexico on Gadling.com.  Citing travel concerns about Mexico as one of the current hottest topics in North American travel, Ellison felt compelled to rehash the subject after encountering what he calls “crowdsourced ignorance” in talking to others about travel to Mexico.  He writes,

“While I could rattle statistics off from a slew of different sources, the bottom line and the main point which needs to be made is that traveling to Mexico is no more dangerous than living in any major global city. Of the 60 countries I’ve wandered through and after 20+ visits to Mexico, you know where I’ve felt the most in danger (including when I thought I was kidnapped in Borneo)?  When I got lost on the south side of Chicago.”

Ellison’s incense about the common ignorance about safety in Mexico is propelled by what he calls the “real, true victims” of Mexico’s drug violence – the “peace-loving, everyday Mexican citizens who rely on tourism dollars to survive.”  He fondly recaps the highlights of his trip to Mexico, which includes cheap beers, perfect waves, and long conversations with friendly locals.

To read the full article, go here.

Travel Organizations Meet With Texas DPS About Travel Advisories

2 July 2012

Recently American and Mexican tourist and travel industry groups met with the Texas Secretary of State’s office and the Texas Department of Public Safety to discuss the state’s current travel warning, which they contend is too broad and hurting business.  The groups asked that future DPS travel warnings should clarify which areas of Mexico pose the most threat to tourists, citing that less than 5% of Mexico is actually affected by drug and cartel violence.  Said Shannon Stowell, president of the Adventure Travel Trade Association,

“Out of roughly 2,500 municipalities, only 80 are currently recording problems with drug violence.  It’s a very acute problem versus a ubiquitous problem.”

The organizations point out that the most popular resort areas, including Cancun, Los Cabos and Cozumel are not dangerous for travelers.  They compare the Texas DPS travel warning to that of the federal travel warning, which is less editorialized and points out specific areas to avoid.

The Texas DPS travel warning issued this year and targeted at spring break travelers, tells Texans to avoid the country all together and “stay alive,” – which the organizations feel is irresponsible.

To read the full article, go here.

Despite Bad Press, Mexico Continues to Bounce Back

15 June 2012

While reporting on Mexico’s falling drug violence, BBC news talked recently about Mexico’s bad press and the exaggerated fears about Mexico that have caused tourists to avoid the country in recent years.

While Mexico is on the list of travel warnings issued by the US state department, along with Iran, Algeria and Syria, it is still the number one destination for US citizens travelling abroad. Reports the BBC:

If Mexico were a stock, now might be the time to buy. The country has been severely under-valued in recent years. Despite high rates of crime and violence elsewhere in Latin America, the media tend to focus relentlessly on Mexico’s drug war….According to the latest analysis by the Trans-Border Institute, drug-related homicides were down by some 19% compared with the same time last year.

The article also talks about how Mexico is bouncing back, not just politically but economically as well.  The country remains a number one tourist destination for Americans, with more than 20 million visitors last year, and an estimated one million U.S. citizens who reside permanently in Mexico.

Read the full article here.

Despite What You Hear, Mexico is Still Safe for Travelers

25 May 2012

Cozumel Lighthouse in Cozumel, Quintana Roo (by wiredtourist.com)

Mexican governor Roberto Borge of Quintana Roo – one of Mexico’s most popular tourist destinations – visited Austin, Texas recently to encourage Texans to head south of the border.  Borge confronted media headlines of drug cartel violence head on, stating that while cartel violence is indeed a problem, it is concentrated in very small areas of Mexico and that this violence does not affect tourists.  Borge said:

“Mexico has 112 million citizens,” he said. “Are there more good Mexicans than bad? Yes. There are more than 2,500 municipalities in Mexico, and the majority of violence is in 12 of them. Has one tourist been involved in that violence? Not one.”

Borge also pointed out that while the U.S. Travel Advisory should not stop issuing warnings, they are too general – and that this hurts both the Mexican and Texas tourist economies.  Author of the article, Melissa Gaskill reiterates the safety of Mexico’s tourist destinations.  After returning from a family trip in early May on the East Cap of Baja California, she says she felt just as safe as she would in her central Austin neighborhood.  Quote Gaskill:

“The food is great, the culture rich, the landscape absolutely beautiful. Simply crossing it off our travel list is a loss for everyone.”

To read the full article, go here.

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