The Mexican president Felipe Calderon has introduced 2011 as the “year of tourism” for his country. He is now focused on specifying particular areas that need to be improved for this phrase to become reality.
Mexico is currently in 10th position in terms of top tourist destinations around the globe. Most of the incoming revenue comes from the United States, which played a large part in the $6 million the country gained from tourism last year. It has been estimated that 22.3 million tourists visited Mexico last year. Places such as Cancun and Acapulco are known for attracting a mass of American students for their spring breaks. However, Mexico has to tackle a number of obstacles before the level of optimism is allowed to grow.
A huge problem is the drug scene in Mexico, which accounts for around 500 deaths per year. The media tends to feed on such scandalous behavior as narco-wars and potential tourists become afraid. Their fear is quite understandable, especially when cases such as the recent murder of US immigration officer Jaime Zapata are spread across newspapers and the Internet on a regular basis.
Publicity and the general impression people have of Mexico must improve for more tourists to be interested in coming and feel safe about it. When this happens, then Calderon’s dream of pushing Mexico up five places in the world list of most popular tourist destinations may come true. His “year of tourism” in fact means “year of improving reputation”. If beheadings, violent shooting and drug barons continue to dominate the headlines, the afore-mentioned figure of 22.3 million incoming tourists is very unlikely to rise.