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Prevue: How Safe is Mexico for Groups?

Meeting planners considering Mexico are increasingly challenged by travel advisories and the constant barrage of drug- related violence in the news, especially in Cancun. How safe is Mexico for meeting and incentive travel? The U.S. State Department has regularly been updating its travel advisory, giving some states within the country a Level 4, which indicates “do not travel,” although the majority of Mexico is at a Level 2 (“exercise increased caution”)—the same ranking given to France, Italy and the United Kingdom.

 

The Mexico Tourism Board advised that more than 40 of the country’s major international tourist destinations—including Quintana Roo, Baja California Sur, Mexico City, Yucatan and Oaxaca—have no travel restrictions, indicating that it really depends on where your group is headed. The issue, it says, is that media reports have confused the U.S. State Department Travel Advisory website rating with a travel warning or alert.

 

“Mexico continues to be a leading destination for travelers, welcoming over 39 million tourists in the past year with a 7 percent increase in international tourist arrivals, and becoming the sixth most-visited country in the world,” says Frank Maduro, VP of marketing at AIC Hotel Group. “Additionally, our hotels continue to see an increase in bookings from both new and return clients.”

 

In Acapulco, Jesus Radilla, Undersecretary of Tourism for Guerrero, says that his city has not had an incident involving tourists in many years. The local government there has created the Tourist Assistance and Protection Center “to provide special assistance to domestic and international travelers, a new training program for state police, the deployment of additional manpower, vehicles and drones during peak seasons, and the homologation of 9-1-1 as an emergency number.”

 

Rodrigo Esponda, managing director of the Los Cabos Tourism Board, also calls Los Cabos “a very safe destination. Ninety percent of the beauty in Los Cabos is related to tourism alone, because we breathe and live tourism, everybody takes care of the tourists in a very deep way.”

 

A year ago, Los Cabos enlarged the surveillance system throughout the destination and connected cameras from hotels and private entities that face the outside, “so that all cameras are connected to provide better intelligence and response time in the case of an incident,” he says. “We worked with the Mexican marine to have a headquarter built in Los Cabos; we also work throughout the hotel association and the different suppliers to check on the very important rapid response network. And we have been working with the U.S. government, where the U.S. has working bodies to share these practices and communicate on the specific situations that need to be taken care of.”

 

Despite a recent and isolated incident—in which a tourist was killed by a stray bullet—Mexico City is a global and safe destination for all travelers and hosts 39.3 million international visitors—20 million of which are American visitors—each year. As far as groups using resorts, Radilla says, “The resorts are, no doubt, a safe and controlled space. But the best Mexico has to offer is experiencing its culture, its people, its nature. Of course, it’s important that planners do their research because as with any destination, some areas are safer than others.”

 

For more information on the U.S. State Department’s travel advisory, click here.

Source: Prevue published 8/16/2018. Link to article

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