News Column

Travelers head back to Mexico

August 16, 2014

By Lisa Schwarz, St. Cloud Times, Minn.



Aug. 16--Travelers are apparently flooding back to Mexico despite years of violence that has sparked U.S. government travel warnings for large parts of the nation.

Mexico's central bank reported last week that the country's international tourism grew 19.6 percent in the first half 2014 over the same six months last year. The Bank of Mexico says 14.2 million foreigners visited Mexico between January and June. Some of that surge is attributed to a brutal winter in the northern United States and parts of Europe.

Years of flat tourism revenues in Mexico have started to climb, according to data from the World Bank. Tourism receipts in U.S. dollars rose to $13.32 billion in 2012, the latest figures available from the World Bank. That was a gain from $12.458 billion reported in 2011.

For a nation that ranks 64th in wealth among the world nations, according to Global Finance, tourism matters.

Warnings

The most recent U.S. State Department advice to potential travelers to Mexico came in January, when a travel warning noted that while 81 Americans were murdered in Mexico during 2013, 10 more than in 2012, millions more travel there without incident.

The warning (www.travel.state.gov) called attention to a 32 percent rise in the number of kidnappings, including some by police, to more than 100,000 in 2013. Almost 90 Americans were reported kidnapped between April and November of that year. The State Department advised American travelers to "lower their profiles" by avoiding displays of wealth or clothing with U.S. sports team logos.

Still, large swaths of Mexico are deemed safe for American travelers. The State Department's state-by-state travel assessment shows the major resort areas of Quintana Roo (Cancun, Playa Del Carmen, Riviera Maya and Tulum) that are popular among Minnesotans have no travel advisories in effect. The same is true for the city of Mazatlan, the state of Oaxaca and Mexico City, among others.

Follow Lisa Schwarz on Twitter @LisaSSchwarz.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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(c)2014 St. Cloud Times (St. Cloud, Minn.)

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Source: St. Cloud Times (MN)


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