10 March 2009

Travel warnings in the media for Mexico.

In light of recent travel warnings and media coverage on travel to Mexico, we want to give you a clear idea on exactly what’s happening and which areas of the country this is affecting. The following is a letter written by the president of CEO Mexico in response to this issue and how it affects tourism to the Mayan Riviera which runs along Mexico’s Caribbean coast:
I am writing you this email to address any concerns you may have about the safety of your groups, clients or family traveling to Cancun and the Riviera Maya.

I have seen some of the news reports coming out of the U.S. and they are really doing our destination a disservice. While there are problems in some parts of Mexico, Cancun and the Riviera Maya are as safe as they have ever been for tourists.
The violence that is being reported is very real, but it is primarily along the Mexican border with the U.S. The 5 major drug cartels in Mexico are at war with each other and with the federal authorities leading to more than 1,000 dead just in this year. Those being killed are drug dealers and traffickers of rival factions as well as authorities who are trying to bust up the cartels. It is a very dangerous place to be and I do not recommend anyone travel to these areas.
I do want to make you aware that there was a major military operation in Cancun several weeks ago. A retired high-ranking military general was contracted by the Major of Cancun to head a task force to curb the influence of the cartel in our area called Los Zetas. Soon after his arrival to Cancun, he, his bodyguard, and another companion were kidnapped and murdered. As the police were unable to solve the crime, and it seemed some crooked cops may have been involved, the military came in to clean house and oversee the investigation. They were successful in a very short time to capture 6 suspects believed to be the murderers along with millions of dollars and a cache of serious weaponry. Some of the weapons were police issue in fact leading to the detention of the Chief of Police who is now being interrogated in Mexico City for his role in enabling and protecting Los Zetas. Having achieved their mission and at the same time dealing a major blow to the cartel, the military presence in the area is reduced. Tourists during this period were only inconvenienced by strategic military roadblocks and extra patrols.
While I know it may be risky to reveal the dirty laundry of a resort destination, please keep in mind that Cancun has a population of 1,000,000 people and the Riviera Maya another 500,000 people and violence per capita is lower here than what you may find in Phoenix for example. Have you heard of any travel warnings to Phoenix? Thought not.
The U.S. media is guilty of painting Mexico with one broad brush. I was outraged yesterday morning watching Fox News interview two college-age spring breakers asking them how they dare to still go to Cancun with all the killing in Mexico. If there were major gang wars in Chicago would you not go to Florida because of it?
If you need more convincing that this destination is safe, my sister, brother-in-way and two nieces just left Saturday morning after a tremendous week-long vacation. Do you think I would let them come if it was in any way dangerous for them to do so? I will also be happy to connect you with any and all of my clients that have been here in 2009 if you need further assurance.
Friends and clients, please know you are welcome and safe in Cancun and the Riviera Maya.
Sincerely, John Nedeau
CEO Mexico

This is a map of where the main problem areas are in relation to the Riviera Maya.

As you can see the problem areas are almost on the opposite side of the country from the Riviera Maya. The affected areas are very dangerous indeed and we most certainly reiterate John Nedeau’s words in saying that it is absolutely not safe to visit these US/Mexico border towns at this time. The State Department also re-iterates these warnings about this area. You can read their comments of the US Department of State website http://travel.state.gov/travel/cis_pa_tw/pa/pa_3028.html . Fortunately these areas are a long way away from us.
On a personal note, I live full time in the Akumal area and have been living here for 3.5 years now. Day to day we are seeing absolutely no effects of this drug cartel violence in the area. Everything continues as it always has with people on vacation enjoying the sun, warm Caribbean Sea, and the world class beaches. John Nedeau mentioned an incident around Christmas time. The only effects that we saw of this was a bit of a traffic jam heading into Playa del Carmen as the military were doing some checks. This is something that they do as standard anyway now and again so we didn’t know anything about it until we read about it afterwards. I feel very safe living in this area and of course living in such a beautiful place means my family and friends come and visit all the time. If I thought for a second that there was any risk to the safety of my family and friends I would certainly not let them visit, and to be honest if I thought that there was any risk to my own personal safety I wouldn’t stay there either. As with anywhere in the world, as long as you stay away from rough areas with drugs and prostitution you will be absolutely fine.
If you would like to talk to any of us about this in person, please don’t hesitate to call us here at Akumal Direct on our toll free number 877-489-6600.

More information can be found at:

Travel Industry Wire: http://www.travelindustrywire.com/article37650.html
Mexico Premier: http://www.mexicopremiere.com/?p=983
Mexico Tourism Board: http://www.visitmexico.com/wb/Visitmexico/Visi_Home
US State Department: http://travel.state.gov/travel/cis_pa_tw/pa/pa_3028.html


Cancun Mexico said...

Hi, thanks for this analysis. We work with travel packages riviera maya and we have received questions about this problem. Thanks again.

Rick said...

Well, thx for the info planning a trip to Maya.


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