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Travel Agents Contradict Tourism Authorities

By: David Real | Real Acapulco News - 11 August, 2011

(Acapulco, AN 11 August) Acapulco travel agents reacted incredulously to the affirmation by state tourism secretary Graciela Báez that violence has not badly affected tourism in Acapulco. Carmen Pineda of PGC Group Acapulco, speaking on behalf of local travel agents, said that not only do press reports discourage tourists from coming, but the tourists themselves spread the word. Many witness acts of violence while on vacation, and write about them on travel websites and blogs. The travel agents perceive the problem as getting worse, not better. Ms. Pineda’s company works very little with international tourists, but mainly with people originating in Mexico City and Guanajuato. She said that current traffic is “about 6 on a scale of 1 to 10.” (In Mexican educational institutions, 10 is the highest grade, and 6 is failing.) “Compared to last year, the number of tourists coming for summer vacation has been very low,” she said.

“Obviously we are affected by the violence. We cannot hide what is going on; if we are asked, we try to explain that the violence takes place in the poorer neighborhoods outside the tourist zone, but recently, the tourist zone has also been affected,” Ms. Pineda declared. One of her clients witnessed the murder of a man outside the Mojito disco in Condesa. Pineda quoted the woman: “The woman said, ‘I came here to have fun, and a dead person falls right in front of me.’ No matter how pleasant the rest of her trip, that one disagreeable event will spoil everything.” Pineda also pointed to the murder last Sunday of a taxi driver and the burning of his vehicle right in front of the Cici Water Park in Costa Azul. She had clients who had taken their children to the water park. They personally witnessed the murder and arson. “This sort of thing cannot be remedied by public relations and denials of the impact of the problem,” she said, clearly referring to recent statements by tourism officials that minimized the impact of violence on tourism in Acapulco.