According to a study of the newspaper EL UNIVERSAL in México, published about 10 days ago, during the past three years, the Mexican Government spent about 70 million US $ in trying to change the perception of México in the world, especially around the so-called drug war.
Rodolfo López Negrete, Deputy Director-General of the Council of Tourism of Mexico (CPTM) maintains that "strategies for diversification of markets and promotional campaigns employed by the Consejo de Promoción Turística Mexico (CPTM) converted the numbers of visitors to the country to new records, compared with previous years, and do make the country more attractive to international tourists of different latitudes".
He acknowledged that insecurity forced the SECTUR (Mexican Secretary of Tourism) to change promotional strategies and had to devote resources“to put Mexico in a real context” (1). And it seems true, if you trust the official figures: Americans and Canadians still flock to Mexico, despite bloody headlines (2) (3).
THE “REAL CONTEXT”:
Last week the “real context “ was an attack on a diplomatic vehicle from the U.S. Embassy in Mexico that wounded two U.S. officials and a Mexican Navy officer, while driving on a highway that connects Mexico City with Cuernavaca, Morelos (4).
The new wave of ´narco-bloqueos´ recently reported, including a concentration of incidents in the states of JALISCO and COLIMA, also on the border to NAYARIT, certainly does not improve the picture. Mexican press reported 15 narco-blockades in the town of Guadalajara, JALISCO. Another 13 in the neighborhood of Mexico´s second largest city, including shootouts and many vehicles torched (5).
Last year, more experts were hired by the Federal Government. According to these experts Public Relations does not help much to change Mexico´s image. The problems are deeper: "What the country needs is a complete social reform".
SECTUR, the Secretary of Tourism, maintains that the drug war does not affect the number of tourists arriving, nor does it impact negatively private investment in the sector. When SECTUR was audited last year by the Federal Auditing Agency (AFS), the results were disastrous. (6).
If Public Relations won´t fix the problems of the country, then why hire experts in Public Relations? (7)
Mexican Drug Trafficing Organizations (DTO´s) AREAS of DOMINANT INFLUENCE, subject to (constant) change, given their fluid nature:
What’s happening in Mexico is a poisonous new hybrid combining criminal organizations and insurgencies. The Drug Trafficking Organizations are a serious threat to the stability and prosperity of Mexico and no one really knows how to stop them.
Excerpts are from a sobering report on Drug Trafficking Organizations (DTOs) from the Congressional Research Service at the Library of Congress titled Mexico’s Drug Trafficking Organizations: Source and Scope of the Rising Violence
The news that didn’t fit the print: CIA “hit” in Tres Marias: http://mexfiles.net/2012/08/29/new-didnt-fit-cia-tresmarias/#comment-35001
(1) INSEGURIDAD afectó estrategia turística: http://rivieranayaritone.blogspot.mx/2012/08/inseguridad-afecto-estrategia-turistica.html
(2) The Mexican Ministry of Tourism (SECTUR) ´massages its numbers´:
Evidenced by the Federal Transparency Institute (Institute of Access to Information/IFAI), the Ministry of Tourism of México (SECTUR) massages its numbers. Since Sept. of last year, SECTUR has been reporting a massive success regarding the numbers of tourists arriving in the country, as well as on their average spending.
An analysis by the former president of the National Tourism Confederation (Confederación Nacional Turística/ CNT) suggests that the numbers have been massaged to support the President Calderon’s political position on tourist development.
SECTUR also seems to have been reporting “unaudited figures” on private investment projects in the industry and jobs created.
(3) The Christian Science Monitor. Despite bloody headlines, Americans still flock to Mexico: http://www.csmonitor.com/World/Americas/2012/0725/Despite-bloody-headlines-Americans-still-flock-to-Mexico
(4) Federal Police open fire on a U.S. Embassy vehicle: http://justiceinmexico.org/2012/08/26/federal-police-open-fire-on-a-u-s-embassy-vehicle/
(5) Chaos in Guadalajara, JALISCO, as it eperiences a surge in violence: http://www.borderlandbeat.com/2012/08/chaos-in-guadalajara-as-it-experiences.html
(6) SECTUR mantiene sigue creando el mito que la inseguridad no influye la llegada de turistas. SECTUR sigue “bailando en la obscuridad”. Recibe una desastrosa evaluación de su desempeño por la ASF: http://rivieranayaritone.blogspot.com/2012/02/sectur-desastrosa-evaluacion-de.html
(7) ORIGINAL BBC News Report (in English): TOURISM in México. Can the country re-brand itself? http://rivieranayaritone.blogspot.com/2012/02/tourism-in-mexico.html