Hundreds of hotel room reservations have been disregarded. Scores of tour buses have discontinued in Laredo. In Nuevo Laredo, five hotels have been closed. Day trippers bought jewelry, handicrafts and leather goods from the busiest border crossing in south of San Diego. In Tijuana, more than 200 tourists have been killed in drug violence in 2008. According to reports, tourism is down as much as 90 percent when compared to 2005 records. The number of robberies and assaults of tourists have been increased.
The sight of passengers seeing Mexican army, heavily armed coming down the streets have led a black mark in Tijuana and all other towns near the U. S Mexican border. Mexico beach resorts are not immune to the drug violence and have seemed to bid goodbye because of the declining number of tourists (Economist). Because of the drug violence, many people have started to move to United States in order to look for work. The drug war has led to closing of various kinds of businesses and shops and many people in Mexico have become jobless and are living on scrapes by with odd jobs.
However, San Diego is taking benefit from Tijuana’s problem. Visitors, who used to shop on Avenida Revolution in Tijuana, are now busy in San Diego’s Old Town. However it is also a fact that the tourism in other parts of Mexico has not been affected. Most of the drug related violence is confined to the border communities. Mexico still enjoys a good rate of tourists in the year 2008 despite the media reports of drug related violence. Despite the negative publicity by the Western media regarding the safety of tourists in Mexico, the government has reported that tourism actually increased with spending of more than seven percent.
While violence in the tourist provinces and areas is not a problem, the planting of dead heads in public locations was aimed at frightening tourists. Tourism has been deeply affected in the northern border region with the United States. An estimated one hundred million dollars was lost due to the drug wars in these areas in 2007 (Economist). Tourists get frightened by the presence of heavily armed soldiers and federal police at checkpoints. The Mexican government however has insisted that there have been no major attacks against tourists.
They point out to a few isolated incidents which do not mean that the country is unsafe for tourists. They also state that drug related violence has hurt only the border regions while the overall number of tourists has increased in the country. Since most of the northern region has factories which assemble products for the United States, the narco violence has affected the local economies. Some migrants from Central America that came to work in these factories have also fled because of security concerns. Some Mexicans have fled to the border in the United States of America.
The daily violence, killings, and kidnappings have negatively affected the economic activity of the border regions. However most of Mexico remains safe from the drug related violence. Mexican government officials argue that the threat of a tourist being killed or robbed is not much than the chance of Mexicans getting killed in New York City or Washington. The government has attempted to renew the safety concerns of the tourists by launching numerous programs which are aimed at attracting the tourists. While the flow of American tourists has gone down, local tourists from different parts of Mexico have been visiting the tourist states.
American students from Texas have also refused to accept the threat of drug related violence as threats to them. Many students still visit Mexico because of its cheap rates and attractive tourist locations. However some business organizations that are dependant on tourists for their economic survival have complained of low revenues this year because of the drug cartel violence. These organizations have responded by attempting to lower the price of tourist items, hotel rents, and dining outlets in order to attract more tourists.
Tourism is a major source of revenue in Mexico as an estimated ten million foreigners visit the country. In 2007 the numbers felt slightly because of a series of gruesome attacks on police stations and journalists. The government has assured tourists by deploying Mexican soldiers in the streets of the major tourist resorts. Local mayors have beefed up security by hiring security guards. The security steps are considered vital for the protection of the tourist industry according to the Mexican government.