Drug War Invades Resort Towns as Some Struggle, Others Survive - Mexico Institute in the News
Fox News Latino
In August of 2011, five headless bodies were discovered in Acapulco, three of which were in the city's main tourist area.
“This type of crime, especially the sensational type, always has a negative effect on tourism,” said Christopher Wilson, a Mexico expert at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington, D.C.
Despite heightened levels of violence in some Mexican resort towns, international tourism actually rose in 2011 in Mexico – when the last count was taken - and the vast majority of violent acts were not directed at tourists.
Mexico’s tourism agency released new figures that showed the number of foreign travelers arriving by air in 2011 rose to 22.7 million, the most since the Bank of Mexico began keeping track in 1980. These figures come as an estimated 70,000 people died in violence related to the country’s ongoing drug war. An escalation in murders and other violent crimes arose soon after Calderón took office in 2006, when he declared an all-out military blitz on Mexico’s drug cartels.
The agency did report a 3 percent drop in air travel from the U.S. to Mexico, other tourists – particularly from Brazil, Russia, Peru and China – bolstered the uptick in visitors.
Experts argued that major cartels know their limits and don’t want to draw heat from federal or U.S. authorities.
“Organized crime and gangs in Mexico are trying not to draw attention to themselves,” Wilson said. “The more organized they are, the less interested they are in going after tourists. They operate like a business.”