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Protecting tourism

Tourism is a thriving and dynamic industry for Mexico but insecurity and impunity are a risk for this industry
Federal agent patrolling Acapulco beach – Photo: Salvador Cisneros Silva/EL UNIVERSAL
31/01/2018
08:56
Mexico City
Newspaper Leader by EL UNIVERSAL
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Half a century ago, tourist destinations in Mexico began to become famous worldwide. Back then, Acapulco was at the forefront as was frequently visited by prominent social figures and Hollywood celebrities. As years went by, other destinations began to emergence as well, such as Los Cabos, Ixtapa, Huatulco, and the Riviera Maya, today still an international reference.

For Mexico, tourism has become the third source of income and an industry which generates 10 million of jobs. Mexico is the eighth country with the most number of visitors and it contributes to 8.7% of our gross domestic product. It's a dynamic and thriving industry.

What would happen if our tourist destinations were to copy to perfection or, worse yet, heighten Mexico's biggest problems, which are violence and insecurity? The consequence would be no more tourists – a severe blow to the national economy and the pockets of many families.

So far, violent events have happened few and far between in Los Cabos and Cancún, two of the major tourist hotspots for international visitors, yet Acapulco knows of the impact violence can cause. This port has had to endure seasons without tourists due to security reasons.

In order to provide more safety and tranquility conditions for the population, it was announced yesterday that 5,000 federal agents had been deployed – “to begin with” – in Los Cabos, Cancún, and Manzanillo, in addition to Colima, Tecomán and Juárez City.

The presence of federal agents patrolling main public areas may help visitors and inhabitants feel secure yet this hardly solves the underlying issue.

Several cities and states ravaged by criminal groups have been the stage of federal operations with all too familiar results: temporary containment of the situation but no long-term solutions.

The comprehensive solution depends on many. From the local authority who should provide resources and training to its law enforcement body and implement strategies that change social structures consumed by illegality, to the full enforcement of justice, where each crime is punished and we put an end to the rule of impunity.

Protecting tourism industry should be our priority but rather than a display of strength we need to look beyond to truly encourage change from the roots. Let's hope this is only the first step.

am

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