With 21 million international visitors every year, Mexico remains one of the most attractive tourist destinations in the world. Despite some negative publicity from U.S. media fixated on isolated instances of violence, there is little evidence that foreign tourists are unsafe while visiting Mexico.
Recently, Mexican President Felipe Calderon’s efforts to court tourists were excoriated by U.S. media because of an isolated instance of violence in the state of Veracruz. The data on tourist perceptions of Mexico, showing that both domestic and foreign tourists are more worried about traffic than insecurity, do not support the image that the U.S. media is presenting. The U.S. Department of State emphasizes the enormous volume of safe tourism to Mexico, and the effective efforts by the Mexican government to protect tourists.
Unlike the United States, Mexico has a designated agency to promote and encourage tourism in the country, and it tracks data on tourist satisfaction. According to the 2010 data, 91% Mexican nationals, and 94% of foreign tourists rated their travel experience in Mexico as good or excellent. As the third largest source of foreign revenue, tourism is important to Mexico’s prosperity. The emphasis of U.S. media threatens to undermine this Mexican industry. While isolated instances of drug-related violence continue to be a challenge, the success of the Calderon administration’s efforts to provide safe tourist destinations in Mexico are evidenced by the experiences of tourists themselves.