Precautions, Not Hysteria

For some reason, whenever we ask my daughter where she wants to go for vacation she responds by saying Mexico.

By: By Kenneth Shapiro

Kenneth ShapiroFor some reason, whenever we ask my daughter where she wants to go for vacation she responds by saying Mexico. (Actually, it comes out more like "Meckicko.") She’s 4 years old and although she’s never been to Mexico, she has definite ideas of what it’s like there.

"It looks like roses," she tells us. "Sunny roses."

Sounds nice, huh?

Of course, I’ve been to Mexico many times — it’s one of my personal favorites — and I am looking forward to finally taking my daughter there. But when I mentioned this to someone recently, they looked at me like I was nuts.

"Isn’t it way too dangerous?" the person asked me.

This response broke my heart. Not only for all the hard-working hospitality professionals I have met there over the years, as well as for travel agents and others who rely on steady tourism across the border for their livelihood, but also for the average, hard-working Mexican citizen who has watched the country’s image be hijacked by a relatively small group of thugs. I’m not saying there aren’t real problems with crime in the country that need to be addressed, but the situation can never get better as long as accurate information is trumped by rumors and hysteria.

"While millions of U.S. citizens safely visit Mexico each year … violence in the country has increased recently," a new U.S State Department Travel Alert to Mexico reads. "It is imperative that travelers understand the risks of travel to Mexico, how best to avoid dangerous situations and whom to contact if one becomes a crime victim. Common-sense precautions such as visiting only legitimate business and tourist areas during daylight hours and avoiding areas where prostitution and drug dealing might occur, can help ensure that travel to Mexico is safe and enjoyable."

Sounds reasonable to me.

TravelAge West will continue to update readers on the security situation in Mexico in upcoming issues, but, personally, I don’t intend to stop visiting the country with my family. I will just make sure we take the appropriate precautions and, in time, I’m confident that Mexico will look rosy again to everyone.