Mexico tourism chief downplays violence, says Texas warning hasn’t slowed visitors
The Mexico Tourism Board says international tourism to Mexico increased in the past year, despite a travel advisory from Texas Gov. Rick Perry’s administration warning Texas families to stay out of Mexico during spring break because of escalating drug violence.
The travel advisory, which urged citizens to “avoid traveling to Mexico” altogether, was issued in March by the Texas Department of Public Safety after grisly reports of drug-related border violence in Mexico alarmed the international community.
Which image of Mexico will prevail? (AP/Eduardo Verdugo)
Despite that, the Mexican Ministry of Tourism reported Thursday that 4.99 million international tourists visited Mexico in the first four months of this year, up 5.3 percent compared to the same period last year.
“While we obviously recognize and have been challenged by these episodes of violence that have occurred, they happened in very specific pockets of the country not connected to the major tourist destinations in Mexico,” said Rodolfo Lopez Negrete Coppel, chief operating officer of the Mexico Tourism Board, who said that 23.4 million international travelers visited Mexico in 2011, breaking the record set in 2008 and exceeding 23 million for the first time in the country’s history. He added: “23.4 million people cannot be wrong, and they continue to come to Mexico.”