Mexico Gets a Bad Rap - Time To Give It A Rest

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June 5th 2012
Published: June 5th 2012
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I thought this was a great article by Jen on...

This obsession with rushing to print and the subsequent naysaying and hand wringing that ensues every time there is an incident in Mexico has become ludicrous.

Mexico is the second most popular destination for Canadians - only just behind the US. An estimated 1.6 million Canadians visited Mexico last year, up about eight percent from the year before.

A recent CBC report said that based on more than a decade's worth of data from the Department of Foreign Affairs, an average three Canadians for every 100,000 visiting Mexico, are killed or assaulted annually.

However, when you compare that with other popular destinations Canadians visit, it’s only good/bad enough for third place. China tops the list with about seven assaults/murders per 100,000 Canadian visitors which produces a violence rate of 7.76 per 100,000 visitors.

Jamaica is second with approximately five Canadians per 100,000 facing violence each year (5.34).

Mexico is third (3.07), with Japan (2.65), Australia (2.47), Greece (2.08), the Dominican Republic (1.68) and Cuba (1.59).

The rates are based on the number of assault and murder cases reported to the Department of Foreign Affairs from 2000 to 2010, compared with visitor figures for overnight trips from Statistics Canada.

The US has an almost unbelievably low violence rate for Canadians of 0.08.

But various factors can change from destination to destination, including the average length of stay, the number of dual citizens and the type of travel and accommodation utilized by the traveller.

When it comes to murder, Mexico does even better (if one can use the term in reference to murder)

The murder rate per100,000 Canadian visitors is:

1. Jamaica 1.731
2. Mainland China 0.379
3. Dominican Republic 0.340
4. Australia 0.269
5. Mexico 0.268

So why is Mexico singled out when it comes to every tourist who gets into difficulty?

It doesn’t matter whether they are actual victims of violence, or whether they inflict violence upon themselves by excessive, aggressive, and downright risky behaviour – climbing over balconies while drunk or wandering into areas they have been warned against - the media is quick to leap upon the bandwagon of “dangerous, violent Mexico.”

Yes, there has been, and still is, violence in Mexico. The drug cartels have certainly damaged the reputation of the country with thousands being killed in drug-related violence. However, it has pretty well been restricted to non-tourist areas, and certainly I can think of no incident involving a Canadian tourist and drug-cartel related violence.

But, if tomorrow a Canadian fuelled by too many tequila shots falls off his balcony, or drowns in the ocean, you can bet it will make the front page and there will be, despite all odds, accusations of Mexican violence.

The only other tourism entity to suffer this type of bad press (and it's so often just stupid tourists doing stupid things) though not nearly to the same degree – are cruise ships.

So come on media, let’s be fair – even if we don’t get the headline – if we’re going to make it a story let’s put the blame where it belongs.
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