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Travel warning to Mexico hurts businesses

Travel warning to Mexico hurts businesses

CREATED Feb 9, 2012

Reporter: Marcelino Benito

TUCSON (KGUN9TV) -Beaches and booze, it's all part of spring break in Mexico. Although the spring break season is still months away, the U.S state department's already issued a dire warning for those headed south of the border. But those warnings meant to protect U.S citizens can take a toll on U.S businesses.

9OYS asked students what spring break means to them. "Like a tropical area, with all your friends on the beach," said Jacqueline Urbanus, a sophomore at the University of Arizona.

But what about drugs, violence and highway robberies. It's what the state department is warning travelers about in its latest travel warning.

"Yeah my mom was completely automatically no way you are not going to Mexico, it's not very safe," Urbanus said.

It's that perception that hurts businesses like Planet Scuba, on Tucson's north side.

"They will just come in and say they're not going to Mexico," said co-owner Tanya Goodwill. She says their trips to Mexico are still on.

9OYS asked if she thinks these warnings are overexaggerated. Goodwill said, " Yeah, I really do. They always seem to come out before spring break.

And that's the worst possible time for the warning. Rocky Point Rides, a shuttle service from Tucson, counts on a tripling in business for spring break. Travel warnings can put a kink in that.

9OYS asked business owners what they want people to know. "Rocky Point is safe, it is safe for tourism," said Eduardo Vivanco, owner of Rocky Point Rides.

But as of late crime has spiked. The number of U.S citizens murdered across all of Mexico jumped from 35 in 2007 to 120 in 2011. Josh Palmer has led scuba trips to Mexico before. He says it's not worse than the U.S.

"It's just like being on the southside of Tucson, you don't want to be caught in the wrong place past a certain time," said Palmer.

As for Sonora alone, 5 Americans were killed in 2010, the last year for complete numbers. That equals the same number of people killed in Tucson so far in 2012, and that's just six weeks. Still with the dire word of the warning, we wanted to know if this will affect spring break plans for college students.

One student said it would not affect his travel plans to Mexico. But several others said they'd think twice.

This past year Mexico spent millions of dollars on advertising, all part of an effort to increase tourism, but U.S state department warning do hinder Mexico's effort to attract U.S visitors.