News of another Canadian being killed in Mexico, for no apparent reason, is not going to help Canadian tourism traffic to Mexico this year. And so it shouldn’t. Until the Mexican government gets its house in order and stops the massacres that have taken more than 45,000 lives (most of them innocents) in the past five years, why go?
As was reported in the Canadian media this week, 64-year old Ron Mackintosh of Nanaimo, a retiree living in Mexico, was found dead, strapped by his neck to a tree, outside the coastal Pacific town of Barra de Navidad. He had been missing for several weeks and his children in Canada had been searching for him in vain.
Mackintosh moved to the beach town of Melaquein 2010, but since the burglary-related killing of another Canadian retiree, Robin Wood, earlier this year, also in a Pacific coastal beach town, he expressed fear for his own life to friends in the area.
Mackintosh was last seen driving from central Mexicoto his beach area home in his jeep, which had B.C. license plates, October 21.
Apparently it takes a lot to convince Canadians that Mexico is a dangerous place in many areas—not just the northern border states that the Canadian and U.S. government normally issue warnings about. About 1.5 million Canadian tourists still go there each year.
But according to the Conference Board of Canada, Canadians made only 1.1 percent more visits to Mexicoin the first seven months of this year compared to 6.6 percent more in the previous year. That’s a significant reduction in new tourism and much of this slight increase is accounted for by short visits to Cancun on the Caribbean coast, which according to government reports is still relatively safe, but according to local media is riddled with corruption throughout its police and local government departments. As a major transhipment point for drugs to theU.S., Canada and Europe, it’s just a matter of time before the drug violence spills over into the Cancun area too.
The CBC reports that Mexico has clearly struggled with safety image issues which are readily acknowledged by tourism authorities.
The news of even more murders of innocent people, retirees who mean no one any harm and are certainly not involved in drug cartels, will not help that image.
There are plenty of other places to go where the sun shines just as brightly.