Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Mexico: A case for good PR

Just got back from a beautiful trip to sunny Mexico! I stayed in a luxury hotel just outside the lovely fishing village of Puerto Morales. For two weeks I enjoyed nothing but eating, swimming, drinking, eating, eating a bit more and, of course, afternoon snacking!

I love everything about Mexico: the people, the weather, the beaches. Oh, did I mention the food? I think I ate my body weight in guacamole!

But what troubles me about this country is the bad publicity this nation is generating with the media. Oh, the blasted one-sided media! Yes, there are some serious problems in Mexico, thanks in large part to the insatiable U.S. appetite for drugs, which unfortunately travel up through Mexico. The Mexican drug cartels and the violence associated with them are ruining this country’s brand image on a global scale.

I was researching my trip prior to leaving and I was inundated by the amount of cautionary tales about travelling to Mexico. There are tons of travel warnings issued by the Canadian and US governments. Now if you think on taking a family vacation to Juarez or Tijuana, well, amigo, think again. This is probably the area you want to avoid at all costs. But the beautiful state of Quintana Roo, where you will find the glorious beaches of Playa de Carmen and Cancun, are a beach traveller’s dream and far away from any cartel gun warfare -- at least where tourists are concerned. I’ve been to Mexico 15 times, and not once have I seen tourists in the middle of gun fire. I’ve been ripped off on price when haggling for silver jewellery in the street market, but that’s about it! I really wish the media would put this story in better perspective. Cancun City is more like Daytona Beach than the Gaza Strip as the media would have you believe.

There have been a few stories about tourists who have had some trouble in Mexico and all I can say is don’t go acting like a drunken jackass at three o’clock in the morning in the pueblo and you’ll be okay. I wouldn’t act crazy in the streets of Toronto – so why would you do it in another country?

If the Mexican tourist board in Canada needs a little help dispelling the misconceptions of Mexico, I’m here to help. Call me. I don’t even want any money for it. Just keep the guacamole flowing my way.


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