Posts Tagged mexico

Lonely Planet’s U.S. Travel Editor Encourages Travel to Mexico

23 March 2013

Lonely Planet’s U.S. Travel Editor Robert Reid gets asked frequently if it’s safe to travel to Mexico, and his answer has always been, “If you’re thoughtful about where you go, the answer is yes.”  Reid says that perhaps a better question is, “Do you think it’s safe to go to Texas?”

Mexico, a country that is roughly the size of the UK, France, Germany, Spain and Italy combined, has been singled out in the mainstream media, especially when compared to other popular tourist destinations which have far higher homicide rates like the Bahamas, Belize and Jamaica (36, 42, and 52 homicides per 100,000 people, respectively).

While Mexico tourism is finally starting to bounce back with Canadians and Brits, Americans remain reluctant to return.  Even though U.S. violent crime statistics suggest that Americans are more likely to encounter violence at home, especially if you look specifically at Mexico’s most popular tourist destinations.  For example, Disney World’s Orlando saw 7.5 murders per 100,000 residents in 2010, which is higher than popular Mexican destinations Cancun (1.83) or Puerto Vallarta (5.9).

Reid asks American tourists to consider 5 things, before forming an opinion on Mexico.

  1. Mexico may be more dangerous than the U.S. overall, but not for Americans.  4.8 per 100,000 Americans were murdered in the U.S. in 2010, while only 2.1 of 100,000 visitors (who may or may not have been connected to drug trafficking) were murdered in Mexico.
  2. Texans are twice as safe in Mexico than in Texas, and three times safer than in Houston.
  3. Texans aren’t the only state citizens that are safer in Mexico than their home state (yes, New Orlean’s homicide rate is triple that of Mexico’s national homicide rate).
  4. The vast majority of Mexico is not on the U.S. State Department’s travel warning.
  5. President Obama’s daughter Malia went to Oaxaca for her spring break, despite Texas’s alarmist travel warning.

Mexico offers some of the greatest travel experiences in the world, and as the U.S. State Department says, “millions of U.S. citizens safely visit Mexico each year.”  If you can go to Texas, New Orleans, Orlando or the Bahamas, you can certainly go to Mexico.

Read the full article here.

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.

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.

Despite Traveler Perceptions, Mexico Tourism Remains on the Rise

11 May 2012

As Away.com reports, despite traveler perceptions of safety in Mexico, tourism numbers are on the rise.  Recent polls find that 25 percent of U.S. travelers have concerns about traveling to Mexico due to reports of drug violence, however Mexico continues to be the number-one international destination for Americans.  The latest figures show an increase of 6.7 percent in foreign visitors to Mexico compared to the same period in 2010, and in November 2011, U.S. arrivals were up 3.4 percent.  Away.com says:

Experts on travel to Mexico maintain that savvy travelers will find a safe, welcoming destination. Zachary Rabinor, director general and CEO of Journey Mexico, voted one of the world’s best adventure-travel companies by National Geographic, believes it is safe for tourists to travel to Mexico’s beach resort areas and beyond. “Of course, it’s necessary to take normal precautions as one would whenever traveling abroad,” he says.

The article also touches on recent statistics which show crime zones in Mexico are designated in just 14 of its 31 states, many of which are concentrated along the U.S.-Mexico border; these zones do not include Mexico’s popular beach resorts and other key tourist destinations.  Mexico also maintains a lower homicide rate than almost any country in Central America – and lower than other countries such as Brazil, Russia and South Africa.

Read the full article here.

FBI Crime Statistics Show Americans are Safer in Mexico than Many Parts of the U.S.

3 May 2012

Lonely Planet’s New York-based U.S. Travel Editor Robert Reid, who has been traveling to Mexico since he was a child, adds to the chorus of travel writers and reporters who consider the warnings against travel to Mexico to be out of context.  While citing that the drug violence in Mexico should be taken seriously, he also asks travelers to be sensible and consider the facts.

He writes:

“What you don’t get from most reports in the US is statistical evidence that Americans are less likely to face violence on average in Mexico than at home, particularly when you zero in on Mexico’s most popular travel destinations. For example, the gateway to Disney World, Orlando, saw 7.5 murders per 100,000 residents in 2010 per the FBI; this is higher than Cancun or Puerto Vallarta, with rates of 1.83 and 5.9 respectively…Yet in March, the Texas Department of Public Safety advised against ‘spring break’ travel anywhere in Mexico, a country the size of the UK, France, Germany, Spain and Italy combined. Never mind that popular destinations like the Bahamas, Belize and Jamaica have far higher homicide rates …why the singular focus?”

His article goes on to put things in context, stating that Mexico is less dangerous for Americans overall, than…well, America.  According to Reid and FBI crime statistics, Mexico is twice as safe for Texans, than Texas (and three times safer than Houston).  He also points out that most parts of Mexico are not included on the U.S. Travel Advisory for Mexico.

To read the full article, go here.

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