Mexico is not a risky country
SAN ANTONIO – A Mexican tourism official has met with Texas officials to head off a potential warning against visiting Mexico during the lucrative Spring Break and summer vacation seasons.
The meeting on Monday followed a robbery last week of a tourist bus in the resort city of Puerto Vallarta.
“Mexico received 22.7 million tourists last year,” Rodolfo López Negrete, chief operating officer of the Mexico Tourism Board, said in an interview.
“In addition to that, we received at least 5 million passengers who came through the different cruise companies through the different ports of call in Mexico, and these numbers exclude the hundreds of thousands of people from the U.S. who cross the border into Mexico every day.”
López Negrete’s message to the Texas Commission on Public Safety and other officials was clear: well-publicized drug violence is limited to a handful of places, mainly border cities like Juarez, and is not a threat to tourism.
“We should not be perceived as a dangerous country overall, because we’re not,” he said. “We have a challenge and we are combating that challenge.
“Those pockets where this violence is taking place are very well identified. These are gangs against gangs. This is totally unrelated to tourism. This is not about attacking tourists, and if you take into account the volume of tourists that Mexico receives every year, compared to the number of instances that we have had, it is a miniscule, miniscule part.”
The U.S., and Texas in particular, is vital to Mexico’s tourist trade, which is the nation’s second largest industry. About 60 percent of tourists who fly into Mexico are Americans, and one third of those fly through Texas. In 2009, Texas officials urged Texans to avoid Mexico, a warning which significantly damaged the tourism industry.
López Negrete said this is his third trip to Texas to meet with state officials. He wants any new travel advisory, which he expects to be issued next week, to be ‘proportional.’
“We recognize we cannot hold off whatever they intend to do,” he said. “What is critical here is that any warning not be general but be specific.”