The U.S. State Department late last week updated its travel alert for U.S. residents headed to Mexico (which thousands of spring breakers are gearing up to do in coming weeks). The move was precipitated by an increase in violence, especially near the Mexico/U.S. border.
Here's a snippet:
While millions of U.S. citizens safely visit Mexico each year (including thousands who cross the land border every day for study, tourism or business), violence in the country has increased recently. It is imperative that travelers understand the risks of travel to Mexico, how best to avoid dangerous situations, and whom to contact if one becomes a crime victim. Common-sense precautions such as visiting only legitimate business and tourist areas during daylight hours, and avoiding areas where prostitution and drug dealing might occur, can help ensure that travel to Mexico is safe and enjoyable.
For the full alert, click here.
It should be noted that the State Department has labeled this a travel alert, not a travel warning, which is a more severe step aimed at discouraging Americans from traveling to a particular area.
Tourism is an extremely important source of revenue for Mexico, which is why the Mexico Tourism Board has been quick to respond to the State Department's recent alert by pointing out that Mexico is a) the 10th most visited tourist destination in the world, b) the country welcomed 22.6 million international visitors -- a 5.9 percent increase from the previous year -- in 2008, and c) the peso is down against the dollar, making Mexico an especially good value for American travelers at the moment.
Have you been to Mexico recently? If so, where? Did you feel safe?