Visits by tourists increasing in Mexico
Across Mexico, international tourist visits increased as drug-war casualties rose in 2010 — and experts expect both trends to continue, says an article in the Los Angeles Times.
“It’s quite remarkable to see tourism and violence tallies rising together at the national level,” says Charles Pope, assistant director of the Trans-Border Institute at the University of San Diego.
Mexican tourism secretary Gloria Guevara Manzo has set a goal of boosting total tourist numbers by 15 per cent this year.
Figures from the Mexican government show more than 12,000 drugwar deaths in 2010, nearly twice as many as there were the previous year.
Although the violence has been spreading, the government reports an estimated 45 per cent occurred in the states of Chihuahua — south of El Paso, Texas — and Sinaloa, which includes the tourist destination of Mazatlan.
Meanwhile, several other states remain relatively calm — including Baja California Sur in the southern portion of the Baja Peninsula, where six drug-related deaths were reported last year, and Quintana Roo (which includes Cancun and Playa del Carmen), where 42 were killed.
In the northern half of the Baja peninsula, including Tijuana, the 352 drug deaths in 2010 was actually a decrease from the 589 a year earlier.
From the tourism perspective, more than eight million international travellers visited Mexico in 2010 — nearly 18 per cent higher than 2009 and almost seven per cent higher than 2008.