February 12, 2012 by staff
Mexican Tourism, Still stinging from reaction to the latest violent attack on a Canadian tourist in Mexico, officials there are launching a campaign to convince potential visitors their worries are unfounded.
The latest incident, in which Calgary resident Sheila Nabb was severely beaten in a five-star Mazatlan resort, had many questioning whether the risk of violent crime was making Mexico’s popular closed-door all-inclusives unsafe to visit.
But according to Mexico’s Secretary of Tourism Gloria Guevara, such concerns are unnecessary.
Although she recognizes Mexico’s “challenge” of dealing with a bloody drug war that has claimed more than 40,000 lives in the past five years, Guevara said it is not a problem in the regions most popular with tourists.
Nabb’s case was an isolated one, Guevara said as she explained Mexico is divided into the equivalent of 2,500 counties.
“If you look at the challenge that we are facing, you will see that that challenge it’s in 80 of those counties,” she told Canada AM. “That means it is a very isolated part of the country.
“Yes, we have a situation that the government is working on, and we’re making a lot of progress” she added, “But at the same time, the touristic destinations are fine.”
Part of Mexico’s image problem, Guevara said, has been a failure to communicate.
“We left a gap of information and that gap was filled up with bad news,” she said, asking those abroad not to paint Mexico “with just one brush.”
Instead, she said, rather than focus on the six Canadians who were killed in Mexico in 2011, potential visitors should bear in mind the more than 1.5 million Canadians who visited without incident.
Citing a third-party survey of 10,000 visitors from all around the world, Guevara said pollsters found the majority were positive about their Mexican experience.
“For every 100 people that come to our country from around the world, 98 per cent were either in Mexico before, or are planning to come back.”
Those attitudes are borne out in the statistics, she added, noting that the number of Canadians travelling to Mexico has jumped 50 per cent in the last four years.
Mexico may also have to step up its public relations campaign in the U.S after the State Department this week advised American tourists to avoid travel to all or parts of 14 of Mexico’s 31 states.
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