Addressing the U.S. State Department's Travel Warning to Mexico
Yesterday afternoon (8.25.2017) the Mexico Tourism Board sent a letter to the largest tour operators and wholesalers serving Mexico regarding the travel warning that now includes the Mexican states of Quintana Roo and Baja California Sur encompassing Cancun, Playa del Carmen, Riviera Maya, Tulum, Cozumel, and Cabo San Lucas, and San Jose del Cabo. Here is a link to the fact sheet the tourism board has written for distribution.
As tour operators and wholesalers have commented, the focus seems to be on the statistical facts that these destinations remain absolutely safe. Not crime free per se, but it’s highly unlikely that any visitor would see or experience any problems.
In the fact sheet, one of the talking points we want to pass along to our customers is this:
"The overwhelming majority of incidents of violent crime have taken place in locations not frequented by international tourists, such as inner-city areas or private properties. The Mexican government and the tourism industry have been working on keeping areas frequented by international tourists safe. They maintain, these destinations remain completely safe.”
These Mexican states are generally safe in comparison to American cities. For example, below are the crime statistics and safety ratios for Chicago as compared to Cancun. You can see the moderate to high crime stats for Chicago versus the low to moderate crime stats for Cancun. Other major U.S. cities, such as Dallas and Orlando, have similar statistics. In my research of reported crime in larger U.S. cities, I had to scroll down the list until I came to Charleston, South Carolina to locate a U.S. city with crime stats about even or just slightly above Cancun’s. I also looked at Canada’s three largest cities, Toronto, Montreal, and Vancouver, known as being some of the safest cities in the world, to find cities whose crime stats in comparison are below Cancun’s.
Putting things in perspective: Visitors to Cancun are not at a high risk to be victims of violent crime during their visit. Theft appears to be the only type of crime carrying a higher risk, so travelers need to be cautious and aware of their surroundings.
Some things to consider:
* The overwhelming majority of incidents of violent crime have occurred in locations not frequented by international tourists, such as inner-city areas or private properties.
* The Mexican government and the tourism industry have been working on keeping areas frequented by international tourists safe.
* Americans that have been kidnapped or murdered have been involved with the drug cartels and do business with the gangs, not tourists.
* Mexico is the 8th most visited country in the world with 35 million visitors a year, 6.2 million just in the first half of this year from the United States, nearly all of them never see any violence or experience any problems.
* There is a risk traveling anywhere, whether you travel internationally or stay in the U.S. Statistically, American cities have the highest crime rates among the most developed countries around the world.
* The demand for heroin and other drugs in the U.S. is rising and rival gangs are battling over control of this business.
* Travel warnings issued by the U.S State Department seem to be based on raw numbers and not on the level of risk. Mexico has high crime numbers, but the level of risk is very low when factoring in the number of Americans visiting Mexico each year.
Lastly, you should read the travel warnings put out by other countries to their citizens traveling to the United States. They are eye opening. Talk about putting things in perspective.