Step up to the plate…

Chichen Itza needs some visitors…

Over the past few months, the irresponsible news about Mexico has gone from bad… to worse… to even WORSE! I have written about this before but find myself becoming totally frustrated with the amount of misinformation in the international media.

The tourism industry and other businesses that directly or indirectly depend on tourism are in BIG trouble. I don’t know how they are going to stay open much longer. It is sad, sad, sad… some of these companies and individuals have worked so hard to build up their infrastructure and as the international press becomes more and more anti-Mexico, their livelihoods become more and more precarious.

One such person is my good friend Sergio. He moved to Merida in 1985 after an 8.1 earthquake devastated his hometown of Mexico City. Since 1988, we have worked together. With total confidence, I have entrusted every single one of my student and LLL groups to him and he’s never let me down. He’s an excellent guide and a caring person. He loves what he does and it shows. He had built his small tour company up to the point where he had 3 vans and a little house he worked out of. His brother-in-law and son worked with him… Well, over the past two years, a lot of that carefully accrued equity has been sold to pay for the family’s living expenses. He has been through other low points but says, “This is just the worst I’ve ever seen!”

My friends who own B & Bs… who have restaurants… those whose dear little boutiques count on the tourist trade… boat charters… those who rent their homes on the beach… galleries who depend on walk-ins… travel agencies… book stores… taxi drivers… street vendors… The list goes on and on and on! In this city, nearly everyone depends to one extent or another on the tourism industry.

Well, you know what? I don’t believe we should sit back and just let this      happen. We need to be proactive. Visit the forums and voice your support for Merida. Write letters to the editors of newspapers and websites that spew all this drivel and set them straight. And most importantly… support our local tourism industry.

If you want to mark a special anniversary, why not spend the night at one of the charming places in our home town? Need to buy a birthday gift? You’ll find something unique and lovely in the downtown shops. Going out to eat? Try one of the small locally owned eateries. Got friends coming to visit this winter? Take them to the local points of interest and hire a guide.

If you aren’t already doing so, its time to step up to the plate. We enjoy a wonderful lifestyle in southeastern México… I think this would be an excellent time to show our loyalty and gratitude.  To those who are already helping wherever they can…  THANK YOU…what goes around, comes around.    

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8 Comments

Filed under Vida Latina

8 responses to “Step up to the plate…

  1. mcm

    While I agree with your assessment that the torrent of negative news stories about “Mexico” in US, Canadian, and European media have had a harmful affect on Yucatan’s important tourist trade, I also think that the general economic slump (for want of a better word), especially in the U.S., has set the stage for this “bad press” to have an even greater effect.

    Despite the promotional campaigns, I it seems to me that Yucatan is still largely unknown (Cancun, and to a growing extent “Chichen Itza” rings bells, but that’s about it). I’d bet that most of the folks who swallow the sensational stories uncritically are not that likely to have considered Yucatan in their vacation plans before reading the bad press.

    In addition to touting the tranquility of Yucatan, it might also be important to emphasize what a great bargain it is! Economical airfares via Cancun, comfortable & economical ground transport, and the burgeoning local-based small eco-culture tour businesses.

    Also, it seems (from what I read in the local papers about promotional campaigns geared to foreign trade) — that the bulk of the promotional resources are geared towards cruise tourism, large-scale package tours, etc. Are the smaller venues and local companies getting a fair piece of the promotional pesos?

    • Thank you for your thoughtful assessment. The Mexican government’s promotional efforts definitely do more for bigger destinations and properties. It has long been a sore point with the small businesses and cultural destinations like Merida. However the degrading international news reports seem aimed at destinations large and small all over the country. It didn’t used to be like this… let’s hope that cooler heads will once again assert themselves and we can return to sanity.

  2. Pam

    Hi Joanna –
    We (2 couples) will be coming to Merida in February, 2011 for 10 days. We love the area, but have never hired a guide before. I’m sure having one would make our trip even more special. Could you publish the contact information for Sergio?

    Your blog is wonderful, and very informative!

    Thanks so much –
    Pam

  3. Ron

    Is this blogger thing in November that you are in charge of going to happen?

    • Yes definitely. There are three of us who are hosting. But we also have much else going on in our lives… grandchildren being born, books coming out, businesses to run etc., etc. However, everything is all set up and we will post an update in a few days. Thanks for getting in touch.

  4. Yes I agree with you Joanna what the newsmedia is doing to Mexico is terrible. Most of it is sensationalism incorrect information etc etc .Maybe the newsmedia should focus more closely to their home towns and whats happening there.
    As for drugs… one should ask from where comes the demand?Who supplies arms to the Mexican drug lords ?
    .Where did the main focus on Mexico begin.?
    Which country would benefit more if the tourists didnt come here and stayed in their own country?
    People are so easily influnced today by the news media which uses the fear mode. So many people are so hung up on fear that they become frightened to even leave their front door.FEAR is only a word and if you allow it to take over your life your level of enjoyment will reach nil. WE are here to experience life and all its joys that has been provided for us by God or the God of your understanding .Look around you what do you see? Nature in all its beauty, alive and vibtant . So why not live your life like nature intended alive and vibrant with a positive attitude, fear will not affect one.With a positve attitude one can overcome whatever obsticles may come your way and not only that your positivity will reflect on others.
    Come to Yucatan Mexico and experience the wealth of nature we have here and look to the faces of the Mexican people ,see how they smile and laugh even the poorest. Tell me a place you can walk freely in the eveinigs, in the parks on the streets. Here in Yucatan you can.
    Wake up friends to the real truth of what is…..

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