Tourism Dropping in Mexico: Who Would have Thought?

I just happened to be reading this article while lounging in my hotel room in, of all places, Mexico. It seems the government is stumped why tourism may be declining here. I am not an expert but taking a wild guess, it may have something to do with fewer tourists entering the country by car and air, an increasing number of cruise ships canceling dockings here, and maybe a teeny bit to do with violence.

Sadly and more seriously, the violence that was once limited to certain border towns and other locations in Mexico is now somewhat widespread, including tourist destinations like Acapulco. Of course, that is what makes the news but the fact is, there are safe places in Mexico. For example, Cancun and Cozumel are still safe meccas for tourists (note: a shooting killed seven in Cancun this month though far from the resort city’s hotel area).

I happen to be working in Veracruz this week. This is also a relatively safe location in Mexico, though difficult to convince my worrying husband who is clenching rosary beads at home awaiting my return (this is a guy who has never held rosary beads in his life!). I have seen several vehicles manned with military and machine guns going throughout the streets to keep them safe. While they may be keeping the streets safe, it is very intimidating to see two bumper-to-bumper vehicles manned with 4 masked military each. I would have loved to snap a photo but my better judgment told me to just lie low and be inconspicuous. Of course, even with military protecting the streets, common sense urges certain precautions. I have a dedicated driver, not an ideal arrangement for tourists seeking fun in the sun, but prudent when traveling alone for business here. And once I’m in my hotel room after a day of work, I stay put. No roaming the streets or looking for a local restaurant. I wish I felt more comfortable to explore Veracruz further, but to be honest, I feel safer keeping the number of locations I go to at a minimum.


Would I take walks alone here at night? No, not any more than I would in many cities back in the U.S. Indeed, based on previous travels, there are only a few destinations where safety is only a small concern, places like Hong Kong, Norway, and certain Middle East locations.

So yes, Mexico has some serious problems with tourism and maybe they will figure out solutions one day. In the meantime, this article is a great reminder for those who travel to Mexico or anywhere else:

• Always know your surroundings when traveling.

• Travel in groups rather than alone.

• Leave the jewelry home.

• Try not to look like a tourist such as reading maps, carrying big cameras, and asking for directions on the streets.


  1. Tourism revenue has risen in recent years in Mexico. Mexico’s share of the global tourism market is declining, but that has happened with the US and Canada too.

  2. Tourism is on the decline not because of the magnitude of the violence, but the PERCEIVED magnitude of the violence. People hear a certain part of Mexico is dangerous and assume the whole country is that way. General American ignorance.

  3. Every time Mexico is in the news it’s all about someone getting killed, raped, beaten etc.. Oh and execution style killings with the bodies being dumped on the streets. Canada has a travel advisory for Mexico. I will won’t be visiting anytime soon.

  4. We used to visit resorts in Cabo and the Cancun area often but have decided against further travel there. We feel very safe in the resorts but increasingly uneasy about the trips between the airports and resorts and the return. I do feel very sorry for the good people who work at these resorts. Decreasing tourism undoubtedly will cost jobs. I am also sorry that the Mexican government cannot seem to curb the violence and killings.

  5. I think it’s really sad, especially with the cruise lines dropping out. We did the ACA-FLL Trans-canal on Princess 2 years ago and it was the best itinerary I’ve seen on this route! They even dropped Huatulco which isn’t dangerous in the least. We stayed 2 days in ACA pre-cruise and never felt in danger of anything. We had a great time!

  6. The areas of Mexico along the Caribbean saw an increase in passenger traffic in the first 11.5 months of 2012 compared to the entire 2011 calendar year.

    Mexico may even had an increase in total nationwide tourism revenue in 2012 over 2011.

  7. Since 2000 I have traveled to Mexico 15 times, including a trip last year where I spent 3 weeks with my husband in central Mexico, taking buses from city to city, and a trip last month when I visited Morelia for 2 weeks. We travel on main routes and keep our eyes and ears open. I can honestly say, I have never felt worried for my life. I don’t avoid cities such as Chicago or Philadelphia just because their news is full of reports of murder and rape. I simply avoid the specific areas where these are most likely to occur. Tourists are rarely the targets anywhere you travel to. The violence centers mainly around cartels and gangs that are involved in unsavory activities. But to each their own. We are all responsible for making our own decisions when it comes to choices about our personal safety. It just makes me sad that so many are missing out on a gorgeous country filled with culture and delicious food.

  8. It’s sad, I suppose as a solo female traveler I wouldn’t just go roam around a huge city like Mexico City all by myself. If you’re at the resort cities I think it doesn’t look too bad. Last Xmas I spent a week in Guadalajara with no problems at all. Its a beautiful city with plenty to see and great food and very few tourists. I never for once felt unsafe even at night. So I think it really depends on what city you visit in Mexico.

  9. Poor Mexico. I feel bad for anyone in the tourist industry down there. Maybe they could run ads reminding tourists that it’s cheap to fly there (and the good/bad part is that there’s a real good chance you might not need a return flight). Two years ago my husband and I found a very very very cheap cruise on one of the few luxury cruise lines. What had been $440+/day dropped to under $80/day. Even before we left the stops keep getting cancelled until only Baja and San Diego were left. Cruise started out as Mexican Serenade and by the time we left it was renamed Pacific something-or-other. We had a blast.

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