Mexico still not safe says cruise line

Mexico still not safeIn the latest round of bad news for travel to Mexico, Princess Cruises pronounced parts of Mexico still not safe Monday and that they would not be calling on Puerto Vallarta or Mazatlan any time soon. That’s double-bad news for a struggling Mexico that just wrapped up a week-long anti-crime campaign among other efforts to rebuild tourism. Our ongoing coverage continues.

“As the safety and security of our passengers and crew is our highest priority, and based on the continued violence in these areas, we’ve made the decision to cancel our calls to Puerto Vallarta and Mazatlan,” Princess spokesperson Karen Candy told USA TODAY.Concerned about violent crime that continues south of the border, the line renewed its objection first voiced in January by canceling calls to Puerto Vallarta and Mazatlan through the end of the year. Princess had only one ship visiting Puerto Vallarta this year, the 2,670-passenger Sapphire Princess, and that ship will miss just three stops. But beyond economic void caused by the 7000 or so passengers that might have gone ashore, the message is clear: Mexico has a long way to go to win back the confidence of cruise lines.

Mexico knows that and has heard the call for safety loud and clear.

Deploying more than 300,000 police officers, Mexico just concluded a week-long anti-crime campaign that resulted in over 3000 arrests and the recovery of 1,258 stolen vehicles.

“The fundamental purpose was to prevent and fight crime, such as vehicle theft, robberies of passengers during transport, kidnappings, recovery of arms and dismantling of criminal gangs, as well as actions intended to ensure compliance with judicial orders” the government said in a statement reports MSN News.

In addition, Mexico tourism officials have been working overtime to paint a picture of a different Mexico, and with good reason. The continuing violent crime in Mexico is isolated to remote areas of the country where tourists would not normally go. That’s important information for travelers that Mexico officials want us to know.

Mazatlan, poster-city for Mexico crime vs cruise ships, could have done without this latest news from Princess Cruises. Many visitors arrive in Mazatlan not via cruise ship but by air with American Airlines recently adding non-stop daily service between Dallas (DFW) and Mazatlan (MZT).

“Tourism is very important to Mazatlan and its residents. The destination plays host to nearly 2 million visitors per year from all over the world and the number has increased steadily for the past five years” said Julio Birrueta, spokesperson for the Mazatlan Tourism Trust.

Crime involving tourists is an ongoing problem in Mexico. Tourism officials have been accused of attempting to minimize the issue. The US Department of State has urged caution visiting Mexico issuing a Travel Warning in September of last year saying “It is imperative that U.S. citizens understand the risks involved in travel to Mexico.”

Risks or not, Mexico remains a popular vacation destination as well as home for many American, British and Canadians who find the cost of living, climate and lifestyle of Mexico attractive.

In our latest coverage of trouble in Mexico we saw that Mexico travel safety kind of depends on who or what we listen to.

On one hand we have the tourism people like Gloria Guevara, Mexico’s secretary of tourism who told who the Miami Herald “We do have a challenge, but Mexico has the equivalent of 2,500 counties. What I tell the travelers is they need to get a map. It would be very helpful for them to understand what cities are involved.” adding “They might have trouble in Juarez; 2,000 miles from there is totally safe. It’s like in the U.S.: If there is an issue in L.A., does that mean that you don’t go to New York? Or if there is an issue in Las Vegas, do you not go to Chicago?”

On the other hand, recent news supports the decision made this week by Princess Cruises. Leonard Schell a Canadian father of two was stabbed 25 times in his Puerto Valarta home last month and robbed of about $13,000, bank cards and passports reports CTV.ca. “They cut him from his lip to his throat. It’s terrible, and just to rob money,” Schell’s wife, Elba Ruiz said.

Princess hasn’t canceled Puerto Vallarta calls on sailings beyond the first of next year though. Maybe there’s hope yet for a return in the future.

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Flickr photo by HBarrison



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