Violence Affects Tourism in Mexico
By Dialogo January 01, 2011
Miles of coastline, sophisticated all-inclusive resorts and low-cost
destinations fuel the fires of Mexico’s well-developed tourist industry. However,
Mexico’s reputation as a major tourist destination has been threatened in recent
years by drug violence.
In December 2006, Mexican President Felipe Calderón took office and declared
as one of his main priorities the elimination of drug cartels.
“Nobody wants to go to an unsafe place on their holidays,” Latin American
analyst Silvana Paternostro, a senior fellow at the World Policy Institute, told
Diálogo. In her opinion, “huge epicenter” areas with violence
and chaos produced by drug traffickers damage the development of a country. The rise
of violence in Mexico, she added, has affected some travelers’ decisions. “I am
starting to hear: ‘We will not go to Mexico,’” Paternostro said. This sentiment, she
explained, is similar to what travelers expressed about Colombia during its years of
Cities such as Acapulco have suffered from a decline in tourism, according to
The Miami Herald. Hotel occupancy rates have dropped and some
restaurants have closed.
In December 2010, the Mexican Tourism Ministry reported that the industry is
on the rebound. Tourism revenue increased 7.1 percent in the first 10 months of
2010, compared with the same months of 2009, with visitors spending $9.8 billion,
the ministry said. About 22.4 million foreigners vacationed in Mexico in 2010, a 4.7
percent increase from 2009, The Associated Press reported. Mexico’s tourism industry
has also been recovering from the effects of the 2008 international economic crisis
and the 2009 H1N1 flu epidemic, which deterred many travelers.
The president of Mexico’s National Tourism Confederation, Miguel Torruco,
told the Mexican TV network Televisa that the country is investing
and developing marketing campaigns to draw travelers. In August 2010, the Mexican
Tourism Ministry launched a campaign to motivate travelers to explore the variety of
tourist attractions and the country’s cultural heritage.