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Mexico says it will produce a crime index for travel agencies

Cancun, Q.R. — Mexico’s federal tourism secretary, Enrique de la Madrid, says that Mexico plans to produce an index of criminal statistics that will allow members of the travel industry to show tourists are safe in the main destinations of the country such as Cancun and Baja California.

De la Madrid added that Mexico would be more proactive in dispelling false information, recalling the country’s response to reports of contaminated alcohol in resorts last year “too slow”.

“We will not tolerate any kind of information that is deceptive and harms our reputation,” he said.

“This was not contaminated alcohol. This was drinking abusively,” he said about the case of the death of a guest.

During a recent meeting with more than 1,700 US Travel Weekly travel agents, De la Madrid said that “The security measures implemented in Mexico has led to a significant reduction of crime in the main tourist areas of the country.”

“The only way to prove that many of the events and crimes that have taken place do not affect tourism or tourists is to show the numbers.

“We want to give you this information so that you can, in turn, give it to your clients and say ‘These are the numbers and this is the level of risk you face if you go to Mexico, which is almost zero.'”

De la Madrid described the ways in which the country’s crime reduction efforts are working. In Baja California and Quintana Roo, he said, the strengthening of the local and state police, reinforced by an additional military presence, has yielded good results.

Since October, the homicide rate in Baja California, home to Los Cabos and La Paz, fell 90 percent, he said.

De la Madrid said that Mexico is sometimes “treated unfairly” when it comes to security.

“If Mexicans decide to travel to Washington, Los Angeles or Chicago according to crime rates, it is very likely that we would not go,” he said.

“But we know we would not go to the areas where those things happen. We know we would not have a great time. It’s the same story in Mexico. The crime rates that people see do not affect international tourism.”

He says travel agents can help put crime in perspective and should remind travelers that the “world is not a place of zero risk.”

According to the United States Travel Advisories and Alerts, Mexico is rated as Level 2, the same as Britain, France and Germany among other popular European destinations.