Editor’s Note: Mr. Gómez’s letter to industry partners regarding the U.S. State Department’s Feb. 20, 2009, alert regarding crime and violence in Mexico is offered in its entirety below. ATTA has recently opened its first branch in Mexico to be led by ATTA Mexico Executive Director Antonio de Rosal, who is diligently working with public, private and NGO organizations to help accurately convey to inbound travelers the adventure travel conditions throughout Mexico – not just conditions of crime and violence reported in the isolated locations indicated in media reports.
“Mexico City, Tuesday, March 10th, 2009.
Dear American Tourism Industry Partners,
As you may know, the media has been stressing news about the violent issues related to drug trafficking in Mexico; however, consumers do understand that these are isolated events taking place in perfectly delimited areas and most of them occur far away from tourist destinations. Mexico continues to have a positive image among American travelers according to studies conducted by Y Partnership. The results indicated that people are still traveling, but some of their standards have changed; such as proximity and destinations with good connectivity. At the same time, tourist activity continues to throw favorable numbers; data reported on February 15th, indicates that hotel occupancy rates in the main tourist destinations exceeded those of 2008.
News about the reactivation of the travel alert by the U.S. State Department has caused a good deal of controversy; however we consider the importance of putting the situation in context. In agreement with Leslie Bassett, Business Representative of the U.S. Embassy in Mexico “the alert does not intend in any way to discard Mexico as a tourist destination, but to inform citizens on the precautions to be taken when facing definite violent situations.”
Mexico is the tenth most visited tourist destination in the world and the first destination for American tourists. As well it´s a very large country with safe destinations to visit. It is important for tourists who visit Mexico to be aware of the importance of using common sense and take the proper precautions that they would in any other country. In addition, it’s important to note that the security related to drug trafficking is concentrated in identified cities and not in the tourist destinations.
I want to emphasize that it is the Mexican’s government top priority to guarantee that our tourists go home with only the best memories of Mexico and that they enjoyed the experience during their stay in our country. This has been our main focus and that is why year after year we continue to welcome a larger amount of tourists.
Mexico remains a safe destination and this is reflected in the almost 23 million tourists that visited us in 2008, of which 18 million of these were Americans, a 5.9 percent increase compared to 2007.
Tourism is the third source of income for Mexico, and I want to assure you that we will continue working tirelessly to maintain a positive image for Mexico and to continue receiving tourists from all over the world that choose Mexico as one of the destinations with the greatest diversity of tourism offerings and the highest standard of quality and services Mexico has been traditionally known for.
Mexico Tourism Board”