We occasionally receive questions from people asking about the current situation regarding safety and security in Mexico. To provide some perspective, listed here are six reasons which demonstrate how Mexico’s drug-related issues, which remain a body of work to address, do not make Mexico wholly unsafe.
Visitor numbers keep rising: The Bank of Mexico is responsible for collating and publishing foreign visitor statistics. The latest figures reveal that over 35 million foreign tourists arrived in Mexico in 2016, up 9% on the year before, continuing the rising trend over the last several years. Mexico is one of the world’s top-ten most visited nations in the world. Despite some of the negative news-flow, and especially that around the drug-related violence, people keep coming to Mexico. Statistics from foreign consulate records consistently show that the overwhelming majority of visits to Mexico are trouble-free.
Mexico is evolving into one of the world’s most important economies. Years of sound economic governance, a welcoming economy with policies that encourage free trade and partnership (Mexico has tariff-free trade agreements with 46 countries around the world), coupled with shrewd investment, and relatively low debt (public and private) have created an attractive environment for investors and foreign companies. Mexico is today one of the world’s few ‘trillion-dollar’ economies, and mature nations are keen to work with Mexico.
No foreign resident exodus. In decades now long-past, when Mexico’s economy was less open and less stable, foreign residents would often flee home in the event of a peso crisis. Today, even with the drug-related flare-ups, no such exodus is taking place and, furthermore, we are seeing interest in relocation to Mexico rising substantially. Mexico’s government is expecting its expat communities to grow over the coming decade and beyond, and offers choices in facilitation of this, as welcoming foreign residents—who bring their energy and capital to Mexico—creates significant mutual benefits. If Mexico is a wholly dangerous place to be, why are existing foreign residents staying put and inquiries for relocation to Mexico growing?
The violence is mostly confined to drug-gangs. The research data show that the surge of homicides in Mexico over the last few years has come about through drug-gang members killing other drug-gang members. Tourists, business visitors, and foreign residents are not being targeted by the drug-gangs, and statistics from foreign consulates show that the overwhelming majority of visits to Mexico pass by trouble-free.
Mexico matters: Mexico is a good neighbor to the U.S. and is also one of the world’s most important nations—poised to play important roles in world affairs during this 21st century. Mexico and the U.S. share a very broad range of common interests and both nations work together on issues concerning trade and security in efforts to bring prosperity and well-being to the continent.
Mexico’s underlying story is strong and getting stronger. Notwithstanding the drug-related issues, the country’s macro-economics are in good shape; Mexico has substantial oil and gas reserves as well as considerable mineral and precious metal wealth; it’s also enacting structural reforms across key sectors with the intention to transition the country’s economy from being heavily dependent on oil and manufacturing into a multi-faceted, diverse and sustainable economic environment; foreign visitors keep coming back despite the negative news-flow; Mexico’s free trade agreements are bridges which cultivate understanding, trade and prosperity between the signatories of these accords.
Every day, tourists arrive in Mexico to rest themselves and enjoy its rich culture and heritage; business visitors arrive to trade and cultivate new friendships, and foreign residents living here are going about their lives normally, contributing positively in the Mexican communities they call home. These activities don’t make headlines, but they are indeed the real-life experiences of people visiting and living safely in Mexico.