Is Cancun Still Safe for Travel?
Mexico has been making the headlines for quite some time due to drug-war related kidnappings and killings. It’s gotten so bad apparently that the United States State Department has issued travel warnings for several Mexican cities such as Acapulco, Monterrey, Mazatlan and Ciudad Juarez. College campuses have counseled students against going to Cancun for spring break, with some schools even advising against any travel period in Mexico.
The City of Cancun reports that over the last year there were 5.9 million visitors from around the world, which was a good 400,000 more than the year before. However, this year enough people have canceled their trips to cause Cancun to worry. Although Mexican tourist officials have been projecting good numbers, Cancun has not seen the expected amount of tourists arriving so far this year.
Cancun is reputed to be the number one vacation spot in the Caribbean. In order to keep that title and to keep the tourists coming, Cancun is working on improving its security. As part of this campaign, tourist company Funjet will be flying in over 200 top US travel agents so they can see for themselves just how safe the area is. To cater to American tourists, Cancun officials have changed the phone systems so in case of an emergency, they can dial 911 instead of the local 066. At the airport there are police officers with assault rifles and transportation advisers that will guide you to airport approved transportation so the likelihood of you getting kidnapped is minimized.
Even though most of the cities that are being plagued with violence are located on the opposite side of Mexico from Cancun, some people have been nervous about heading to this popular vacation spot as well. The main problem, states a member of the Cancun Convention & Visitors Bureau, is an image one. Yes, there is some serious drug related violence going on in some parts of Mexico, but the visitor’s bureau insists that no Cancun tourists have ever been killed due to that violence.
It’s hard to determine whether Cancun is telling the truth about how safe the area is. It is difficult to find statistics on crime in Cancun – if you ask the visitor’s bureau, they do not have them on hand. The United States State Department attempts to keep track of non-natural deaths of United States citizens that occur on Mexican soil, but the list is oftentimes incomplete thanks to lack of information from the Mexican government. According to the list that the State Department has been able to compile for 2010 so far, eighteen Americans died in Cancun during the first six months of the year. Most of the deaths were not caused by violence or other people.
Cancun really cannot afford to lose their tourism. Most of its economy is based on tourism. The state Cancun is located in, Quintana Roo, receives so many tourists a year that 50% of all of Mexico’s income from international tourism comes from here.
Don’t forget to check Planning a Trip to Cancun.