Scared of narco-terrorists? So are we.
But that doesn’t mean we’ve written off all of Mexico, where the ramped-up war against and between violent drug cartels has spooked many would-be visitors.
Border areas notwithstanding, “most of the country has a pretty low crime rate,” and tourists usually aren’t targets, notes international security expert Bruce McIndoe of iJET Travel Intelligence. “Yes, there’s room for collateral damage, but you can get struck by lightning, too.”
Even the U.S. State Department, whose recently expanded warning cautions against non-essential travelto parts or all of 14 (out of 31) Mexican states, exempts most of the country’s marquee tourist spots — including this:
Stretching 100 miles along Mexico’s Pacific coast from Nuevo Vallarta north to San Blas, this region packs a lot of stylistic variety. Prefer all-inclusive chain hotels? Try Nuevo Vallarta. If money’s no object, slip inside the gated enclaves of Punta Mita. If you like water sports by day and watering holes by night, the town of Sayulita is your spot. If you’re seeking peace and quiet in an artsy village, check into one of San Francisco’s (aka San Pancho’s) small hotels. Beach options range from secluded, rocky coves to palm-fringed expanses flanked by the Sierra Madres.
MERIDA, Mex. – Despite relentless coverage of the Mexican drug war by U.S. news media over the last several years, tourism to Mexico is rebounding strongly.
Following three years of sharp decline that began in April 2009, when fears over H1N1 – the virus commonly known as “swine flu” — effectively shut down most of the nation to foreign travel, visitors arriving in Mexico by air jumped to 22 million in 2011. That number is expected to increase again this year, as worldwide interest in the “end of time” 2012 phenomenon — the ancient calendar of the Maya ends in December 2012 — shifts into high gear. The end of the calendar cycle has generated worldwide interest, resulting in a variety of end-time theories, documentaries and even a big-budget Hollywood film.
During the peak of the H1N1 crisis in 2009, Mexico came to a halt as schools, museums, shopping centers and movie theaters were ordered shut, causing hundreds of thousands of foreign visitors to cancel their vacations and trips. While averting a public health crisis, the forceful action taken by Mexican authorities had unintentionally sent the tourism industry into a tailspin.
Since then, the combination of global economic recession and drug-related violence had only exacerbated the decline in tourism.