For Americans, the onslaught of negative headlines surrounding Mexico can leave them scratching their heads with uncertainty. In light of the recent events, last week, YesToMexico submitted op-eds to newspapers across the country to remind travelers of the country’s popular tourist destinations remain welcoming to their visits.
Here’s what YesToMexico President Tom Brussow had to say on the matter:
How Should American Travelers Respond in Wake of Cartel Carnage?
Too regularly, we read new headlines relaying sensational violence from our neighbor to the South. Balance that against the fact that each year more Americans visit Mexico than any other foreign country, and something doesn’t quite add up.
Is Mexico safe for tourists or are Americans making a reckless decision? And, should the most recent events change anything? The truth is complicated.
While undeniably drug violence and organized crime has a tight grip on certain Mexican states, the places Americans visit in the largest numbers remain largely safe. I have traveled to Mexico more than 80 times. Every time I mention this during polite dinner conversation, I am asked the same, predictable question in hushed tones as if the drug cartels might hear, “But did you feel safe?”
Yes, absolutely. Why? I exercise common sense and have never once felt I was in a dangerous situation. That is not said flippantly or to make light of the recent tragic slaying of nine women and children.
As someone whose livelihood is based on sending fun-seeking Americans on vacation, in good faith and business sense, I can’t just automatically say Mexico is safe. I must act in the best interest of clients. After all, Mexico doesn’t own sunshine and sand, and I will not send anyone on a trip to someplace I wouldn’t go myself. While the dialogue deepens about whether Americans should travel to Mexico, let’s not politicize this conversation or conflate geopolitical realities with very separate tourism interests. What do I mean?
Would we think it advisable for people to not visit Disney World because of the Pulse Nightclub shooting? Or avoid New York, Las Vegas or numerous other places where heinous violent acts have occurred?
The point is, while Americans can discern Los Angeles from Milwaukee, they can’t automatically differentiate Culiacan and Chihuahua from Cancun and Cabo.
Violence can happen anywhere. However, context is extremely important. In Mexico, these scenes of horrific carnage occurred hundreds of miles from the most popular U.S. tourist destinations. Know too, Mexico’s government takes tremendous measures to protect visitors and the tourism industry. These factors and the fact that, like us, the people of Mexico are undeniably good-hearted and hard-working must be considered.
I am already looking forward to my next trip to Mexico coming up in December. But for others, I just say let the facts speak for themselves.