Thursday, October 3, 2013

México: Arrivals Grow By 8.5% Compared to 2012, On the Flipside, See Critical Security Tips

According to The Latin American Tribune, the arrival of foreign tourists by air to México grew by 8.5% in the first eight months of 2013, compared with the same period in 2012, the Tourism Secretariat said Wednesday (October 2).

From January 1 through August 31, 8.11 million foreign tourists traveled by air to México, compared with the 7.47 million who arrived during the same period in 2012.

In August 2013 alone, the number of foreign visitors by air rose 12.1% compared with the same month in 2012.

The top country of origin for the people who visit México the most is the US, contributing 5.55 million tourists between January and August, which represented an increase of 8.9% over the same period in 2012.

The report emphasized the growth in the number of visitors from Colombia, 58.4%; Russia, 51.3%; Perú, 46%; and China, 30.3%, during the first eight months of 2013, compared with the same period last year. 

COMMENT: As most of our regular readers know, the increase of foreign arrivals in México is only a small part of the tourist landscape.

In the interest of the safety of our readers, México City has been designated a CRITICAL threat destination (the highest level of threat as assessed by the US Department of State).

As a result, the following advice is offered to all travelers to México, keeping in mind that criminal threats in the capital and other constituent consular posts within the country do vary, although the threat in Mexico City remains to be CRITICAL:

1. Register your travel itinerary online with your nearest embassy or consulate before you leave home;

2. Purchase international medical treatment and evacuation coverage before departure from home to cover medical treatment in the event of injury or illness. Without such coverage, travelers may be forced to pay for their treatment in cash BEFORE services are rendered;

3.  NEVER take firearms of any kind into México;

4. Leave all expensive and expensive-looking jewelry at home and wear an athletic watch that costs no more than $40 (including wedding rings);

5. Use a backpack to transport any expensive electronics rather than an expensive briefcase;

6. Never walk back to your hotel after purchasing high-value merchandise;

7. Always carry an unlocked, quad-band mobile phone 24/7 that is compatible in México or other countries to  be visited;

8. Contact your embassy or consulate and ask them for a list of reputable taxi services. NEVER use other taxis NOT on the list;

9. Don't use in-room safe deposit boxes; they all have a back door;

10. Never carry more than $100 in cash;

11. NEVER use ATMs that are NOT located inside of a reputable financial institution;

12. Never hail a taxi in México. Use the list of reputable transport services your embassy or consulate provides you;

13. Never exchange currency on the black market; undercover and corrupt cops may use such scams to arrest foreigners;

14. Never let your carry-on luggage out of your sight; 

15. Avoid contact with local police; they are not your friends. Many commit crimes themselves when off-duty;

16. NEVER resist an armed robbery as doing so may result in your death;

17. Take taxis everywhere as pedestrians are vulnerable to criminals;

18. Dress "down," as dressing as if you have money will make you a target; 

19. Avoid local bars unless you're wanting to be "fleeced"; and

20. "Date rape" drugs are commonly used by criminals to immobilize foreigners of both genders, so keep a close eye on your drink.