At least one part of Mexico’s tourism industry seems to have successfully separated itself from headline-grabbing news of crime
south of the border. It was not without a great amount of effort and took some time, but Mazatlan
, Mexico is back as a viable, safe vacation destination.
While most cruise line’s still don’t stop in Mazatlan, the Pacific coast city is welcoming travelers with a lineup of unique events throughout the month of June. Call it the antidote for a heavy dose of bad press if you will, visitors are being offered better pricing, more events and better security than ever before.
Mazatlan’s tourism people have been busy promoting several events, some annual happenings that draw thousands, reassuring travelers that it’s business-as-usual when it comes to visiting at least that part of Mexico. Here are some highlights:
Mazatlán International Cycling Tour – Seasoned athletes and enthusiasts converge on Mexico June 1st for this five-day tour through scenic countryside, colonial towns and coastal vistas. Hosted in four stages, the event is the only tour in Mexico to combine all road cycling categories.
Quiksilver Clásico Mazatlán – Also on June 1st, five days of epic surf, fashion and live music as surfers from around the globe compete for this Association of Surfing Professionals (ASP) four-star event that features an $85,000 purse. Onshore festivities range from surf gear expos and fashion shows to local art exhibits and live music concerts by national and international artists.
Scents and Flavors of Mexico, A Gastronomical Experience on June 3rd is the day for foodies to visit Mazatlan when Mexico’s rich culinary tradition is showcased by celebrity chef Patricia Quintana. Guests will savor authentic regional cuisine like plump Mazatlán shrimp, succulent carne asada and handmade tamales.
GoMazatlan.com has all the details on these and a number of other events.
Travelers are still urged caution traveling in Mexico by the U.S. Department of State, primarily in remote regions not normally visited by tourists. Some other areas are still of concern and listed on their most current Mexico Security Update. Recent isolated incidents in Ciudad Juarez and Guadalajara have also been noted by the US Embassy in Mexico City.
Trusted tourism sources are giving Mexico the green light for travel.
“We have continued to see many consumers pick Mexico as a travel destination of choice despite these uncertain times. Mexico has the attractions, culture, experiences and most importantly, value that our travelers are seeking,” said Terry Dale, new President of the United States Tour Operators Association and former head of the Cruise Lines International Association.
Crime hot spots still center not around common tourist areas but along the US/Mexico border, so staying away from those areas is a good idea. But progress is being made there too, with one of Mexico’s most notorious crime boss’, Julio “El Negro” Radilla arrested at a hideout in Coatzacoalcos, a Gulf Coast port city, after a brief gun battle this week. Still, gang-related shootouts occur. Reuters reports twenty-eight people killed in a shootout among suspected rival drug gangs also this week.
Last week, Mexican President Felipe Calderon tried to reassure travelers that it is safe to come to Mexico, noting recent visitors had no problems.
“I saw thousands of spring breakers in Mexico having fun,” Mr. Calderon said in the Wall Street Journal. “My understanding is the only shots they received were tequila shots.”
Photo courtesy GoMazatlan.com