Mexico’s new secretary of tourism, Gloria Guevara, addressed worries about safety and security
An excellent article from Travel Weekly. Gloria Guevara, Mexico’s new secretary of tourism, held a webinar/interview on Nov 18 at Travel Weekly.
Echoing what we have been saying for well over a year and a half, Ms.Guevara confirmed that Mexico is a safe place to travel, as well as answering those who wonder “is it safe to travel to Cancun?” Yes, it is safe to travel to Cancun. Drug-related violence is a reality, but it is confined to some border towns and cities.
From the article:
Applying generous doses of fact to combat whatever fictions, fears and misperceptions travelers and the trade might entertain about her country, Mexico’s new secretary of tourism, Gloria Guevara, addressed worries about safety and security south of the border in an exclusive Nov. 18 webinar appearance at TravelWeekly.com.
In the hourlong webinar, titled “Mexico: Perception vs. Reality,” Guevara assured her host, Travel Weekly Editor in Chief Arnie Weissmann, and thousands of registered webinar participants that Mexico is a safe tourist destination.
Despite a steady stream of negative coverage in the U.S. news media regarding drug-related gang violence along the border and around Acapulco, she said, Mexico remains a popular, safe and, most importantly, value-rich vacation destination.
“All countries or societies have problems to solve,” Guevara said, “but Mexico is one of the top 10 tourist destinations in the world.”
Moreover, she said, Mexico is a leading luxury vacation destination. “According to a recent survey conducted by Virtuoso, Mexico came up as the No. 2 country … preferred by their members,” Guevara noted. “It is also No. 1 in terms of spas in the world, and three out of 10 Americans report return visits within just 12 months.”
Guevara admitted, “There are a few places in Mexico to avoid,” but she noted, “It’s easy to do.” She specifically cited two towns along the Texas border, Matamoros and Ciudad Juarez; the latter alone accounts for 30% of all drug-related conflict in Mexico.
“But for the rest of the country, you can relax and enjoy yourself,” she said. “Our major destinations continue to be world-class, and they can be visited anytime.”
Mexico’s major tourism destinations are, for the most part, located hundreds, sometimes thousands, of miles from crime hot spots. Cancun, for instance, is almost 1,000 miles south of Ciudad Juarez, about the distance between New York and Birmingham, Ala. And Copper Canyon, popular for its desert railway trips, lies 206 miles from the border, the distance from New York to Baltimore.
“Let me ask you: If you were planning a trip to New York, would you cancel it if you heard about challenges in Baltimore?” Guevara asked. “Of course not. Copper Canyon is very safe and very nice.”
Webinar attendees flooded TravelWeekly.com with more than 200 questions for Guevara during the session, at one point temporarily freezing the server. Guevara did her best to answer as many as possible within the time allotted.
• On responding to negative media: “For the last couple of years, we as the government made the mistake of leaving a gap of information. When you leave a gap, what happens is that it’s filled with bad information. What we’re doing right now is working with a [public relations] agency to put [these] things in context.”
• On the deadly Nov. 14 blast at the Grand Riviera Princess Hotel in Playa del Carmen: “We haven’t received the final report … so we don’t want to draw any conclusion, [but] we’re sure it’s something that’s not going to happen in any other hotels. This was very sad, and of course we’re very concerned and sad for the travelers affected.”
• Hotel certification: “We will be standardizing our [hotel] ratings. We will be certifying every single hotel from whatever stars they have to the maximum number of stars, so that you’ll have a seal that will mean the service from that hotel is guaranteed. We’re deciding right now on what standard we should use.”
More useful links & information:
Is Cancun Safe? You bet! – A post with testimonials about the safety of Cancun and Riviera Maya, from “ex-pats” living and working in the area.
Is Cancun safe for Spring Break 2011? Top 10 tips for your safety Coming to Cancun to enjoy your Spring Break 2011? We talked to a local doctor and came up with this list of Top 10 tips to ensure a safe & fun Spring Break Cancun 2011. Check it out!
Read our popular post “How Safe is Travel in Mexico?”
Until next time, stay safe & warm regards from paradise!