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A Letter from Mazatlan

Earlier this week I received a letter from my good friends at the Mazatlan Tourism Office regarding the recent decision by some of the cruise lines to scale back cruises to the Mexican Riviera and Mazatlan in particular.

The letter is timely in light of the recent shooting incident where a Penticton man was caught in the middle resulting in being wounded in the leg.

Naturally the tourism officials in Mazatlan are disappointed of the itinerary changes.

According to Julio Birrueta, spokesperson for the Mazatlan Tourism Trust, who kindly hosted the Informed Traveler back in the fall, “We highly value our long-standing relationships within the cruise industry, and are dedicated to ensuring that Mazatlan remains among the top cruise destinations on Mexico’s Pacific Coast. Mazatlan has hosted nearly 1.5 million cruise passengers since 2008 and is widely regarded as one of the safest destinations in Mexico.”

He concludes, “Tourism is very important to Mazatlan and its residents. The destination plays host to nearly 2 million visitors per year from all over the world and the number has increased steadily for the past five years.

Additionally, nearly 9,000 U.S. and Canadian citizens have made Mazatlan their permanent or seasonal home and find Mazatlan a safe, warm and welcoming destination in which their comfort and security is, as always, top priority.

Incidentally it was interesting to hear that Mike DiLorenzo, the shooting victim from Penticton, insists the experience hasn’t tainted his view of Mexico. He still believes the shooting was a rare and random event and hopes it doesn’t deter other people from traveling there.

His opinion is the general feedback I get about traveling to Mexico, that is, those who have been there before will return with no hesitation and those who have never been remain skeptical.

Needless to say Mexico has had their issues with safety and drug related violence, we’ve mentioned it before and it doesn’t seem the violent incidents are going to go away.

Everyone has a right to their own opinion and travel where they please but to paint Mazatlan as a dangerous destination because of one tragic incident is as wrong as painting Calgary a dangerous destination after our recent downtown shooting New Years Eve.