Mexico : At least eight people died after attackers hurled gasoline bombs into a crowded Cancun bar early Tuesday. Although the bar is outside the popular resort zone in a residential area unfrequented by tourists, the apparent drug-related killings are among the latest in a string of bad news for Mexico's beleagured tourism industry.
Early Wednesday, the bridge that connects Puerto Vallarta and the Pacific Coast resort area of Riviera Nayarit collapsed in rain-swollen currents, stranding travelers. The bankrupt Mexican airline Mexicana suspended operations last weekend, leaving passengers across several continents. And on Friday, the U.S. State Department extended its Mexico travel warning to note that children of U.S. government personnel are being ordered to leave the business capital of Monterrey because of concern about recent gun battles and kidnappings in the city."Millions of U.S. citizens safely visit Mexico each year, (and) resort areas and tourist destinations do not see the levels of drug-related violence and crime reported in the border region and in areas along major drug trafficking routes," the current advisory notes. Nevertheless, it adds, "violence has occurred throughout the country, including in areas frequented by American tourists.""Tourism has dropped dramatically, and many small businesses have been forced to close.
It is a difficult time made more frustrating by the knowledge that visitors to our part of Mexico are perfectly safe," Tony and Cheri Head, co-owners of the Luna Blue Hotel & Garden in Playa del Carmen wrote in an e-mail. "We hear the same story from guests: their families, coworkers and friends warned them not to come to Mexico as it was too dangerous.
The violence in northern central Mexico is indeed extreme and horrifying. However, it is a problem which does not threaten the peace or the beauty of Mexico's Caribbean coast, and (Tuesday's bar killings) in a non-tourist neighborhood far from the hotel zone in Cancun have done nothing to change that perspective."