The warning has the potential to crimp a major industry in Mexico, the eighth most-visited country in the world according to the World Tourism Organization. Tourism contributes $19.6 billion to Mexico’s economy, or about 7 percent of its gross domestic product, drawing travelers to its beaches, pre-Colombian archaeological sites and colonial towns.
With both Caribbean and Pacific ports, Mexico is also a popular destination for cruises. The Cruise Lines International Association, which represents the major cruise companies in the industry, issued a statement, noting that ships “have the flexibility to alter their itineraries, as needed, to avoid areas of higher risk.”
To date, no cruise lines have changed routes in Mexico based on security concerns, according to CruiseCritic.com, which tracks the industry and has created a page with cruise port updates in Mexico.
Government forces and the private sector have stationed more police and military in tourist zones. But some business leaders worry that anti-Mexico sentiment, fueled by President Trump’s border wall promise and immigration threats, combined with the travel warning and the recent discovery that tainted alcohol was served at some resorts on Mexico’s Caribbean coast, will weaken demand for travel in the country.
“It could be a perfect storm,” said Alex Zozaya, the chief executive of Apple Leisure Group, which owns AMResorts, Apple Vacations, Cheap Caribbean and other companies. “Our plan is to be objective and give as much information as we can to travelers and invest additional resources to eradicate the problem.”
Security experts suggest taking some precautions, including avoiding traveling at night.
“Don’t hail cabs off the street,” advised Christopher Hagon, the managing partner of GlobalSecur, a Florida-based travel security firm. “They have to be engaged by a hotel and be regulated.”
Several areas that are popular with American travelers, including San Miguel de Allende,…