Over the last couple of weeks, the online world has been covered in stories from Mexico to Kenya, from murders to kidnaps but despite all these negative reports, would you still go away to countries that are constantly in the news?
Mexico has been seen as one of the main holiday destinations for American and European tourists over the past few years, with the sandy white beaches down in Acapulco, the renowned famous bullring in Mexico City and of course, not forgetting the home of the heavenly liquor that is Tequila.
But things in this city have taken a turn for the worst recently as drug cartels have been on a, shall we say, public shopping spree and aren’t short of gaining power in the ways they conduct their bargains.
If you are a keen reader of the news, you will know that the ring masters of these cartels have been ‘bumping off’ people who have written negative posts about their rulings in Mexico, as well as fighting and killing each other for regional control.
According to the Foreign Office website, in 2010, there were 15,273 victims of drug-related violence in Mexico compared with 9,614 in 2009 with the Mexican authorities saying at least 89% of the fatalities are suspected gang members killed in turf wars between the different organizations that compete for control of trafficking routes into the US.
Newspapers in Britain have constantly reported on how the drug cartels have amputated and then hung people off bridges; beheaded them and dumped their bodies on busy free-ways and roads for the public to witness what will happen to them if they are to post anything negative about their way of life and their power in the city.
As of last week, Sky News reported that one of the main drugs leaders in the country has been charged with drug smuggling and running a campaign of murder and intimidation. He has also been reported as being responsible for the deaths of 21 people who were tortured and hanged before their bodies we dumped on the outskirts of Morelia in June this year.
It’s no secret that drug smuggling and turf wars have been happening for many years now, and people who holiday in Mexico know where to stay as well as what they should and shouldn’t do to stay safe in the corrupt country.
Bringing together several newspaper articles of the reporting of these murders, which included graphic images, I asked a few members of the public, along with showing them the articles, if the newspaper’s stories would influence their decisions when choosing a holiday destination.
Many people I interviewed agreed that stories would influence their decisions especially when there have been lots of news reported in that area holiday spot.
Therese, 21, told me that “yes [it does influence me]. I don’t want to get caught up in any political violence whilst I’m trying to enjoy my travels.”
She continued, ““I don’t want my parents to see my picture on the news. I’d rather go to a peaceful place to learn about their culture without being harassed or killed.”
Pam, a student in Cardiff told me that the stories ‘kind of’ influence her going abroad but “it depends on the story and what’s going on because Mexico is like Britain, it’s so big that I’d avoid the area that its happening in and go elsewhere in the country.”
And even though Mexico has been hit with the drugs circle, Kenya has also dominated the news with woman being kidnapped from their coastline apartments by Somalia pirates as their spouses are killed before jet setting off to Somalia with the woman in tow.
Gracing the news a few weeks ago, it was reported that one of the woman taken hostage had died in captivity and the pirates were asking for money to release her body back to the U.K.
As someone who has spent a lot of time in Kenya, travelling along the coastline, it will be a huge blow for tourism and beach holidays as I found out when speaking to people about the situation on the shoreline.
Peter from Newport, an Africa lover, said “it’s a massive blow. My wife and I love visiting Kenya and now this whole kidnapping story is around, I think Kenya is off the list for a while at least, until it is all sorted out.”
Getting back in touch with the Kenyan charity workers who looked after myself and the people I went with, they were devastated over the pirate situation on the coast, as they absolutely adore their country.
Rosie, a charity worker told me “it’s horrendous that this is happening in my country. You always hear about the pirates capturing boats and cruise ships but never coming onto land and kidnapping woman. Those people who tipped off the British couples are evil.”
Also speaking to another Charity worker, Ozzie, he said “I don’t think it will stop people coming over here, it’s just on the coastline by Somalia but people are going to be more careful if they do holiday on the Kenyan coastlines. When the volunteers when the U.K come over every year, we know where to go and where not to go, so if people stayed away from that coastline, they’d be more safer.”
Although there are difference of opinions about whether it would be safe to go to both these countries, just remember that these countries strive on tourism, and as long as you avoid the areas hit by civil disputes, drug cartels and kidnappings, you’ll probably find a lot of people will still go and take a holiday in Africa and Mexico – even more so if the price is right.