In 2009 international tourism, and especially Puerto Vallarta tourism, died because of “terrorism,” “swine flu,” and “drug cartels.”
Fear of the foreign overcame the search for the new and exotic. Vacations became a thing of the past and people were happy (or forced by peer pressure and economic considerations) to stay close to home and have hot dog BBQs with the relatives and to sit in front of the TVs with the kids and cold Buds.
Fortunately not everyone is so brain dead. Let’s face it, not everyone is cowed by media fear frenzies and certainly everyone is not satisfied with hot dog BBQs with the coworkers or relatives.
I’m prejudiced, of course, tho not commercially. I live in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, and have for quite a few years, now, so I am both the recipient and victim of this new found fear of travel. Before I settled here, I was a “disaster” opportunistic tourist. That is, I would jump on any cheap tickets to areas of the world that had suffered some type of economic or physical or political “disaster.”
I went to San Francisco for the Y2K New Years, to New York City on the first flights after 9/11. I went to Bangkok during the SARS “epidemic.” And I went to Puerto Vallarta immediately after hurricane Kenna “demolished” this town.
All of these “disasters” were bogus, in my mind, since life is a disaster anyway you look at it and I was just flowing on the coat tails of cheap travel.
Nothing shut down when 1999 became 2000. I didn’t get SARS (nor did most other people), I didn’t have an airplane full of Arab terrorists armed with box cutters fly me into high rises and I didn’t suffer from any tidal abnormalities on the beach here.
Where ever I went during these “disasters” I was met with extremely friendly, open, eager locals who knew the truth about these “disasters” that had been so widely broadcast about their homelands, just as I now know the truth about the recent “disasters” plaguing Mexico: the drug cartel “wars” and the swine flu “pandemic.”
People are easily manipulated by fear; it’s much easier to make people fearful than to make them brave. The phenomenon is amazing. One would think that the general populace could believe anything, news-wise, no matter how bizarre or inaccurate, solely if it were repeated often enough on CNN or Fox.
My solution of the day: Make your getaway a business trip. Go to Mexico for that dental work you’ve been putting off. Go for that cosmetic surgery. Heck, go for that *real* medical operation your “insurance” won’t cover.
The prices here are so much less than anywhere else NOTB and the doctors and the facilities are the same or better. I used to advise people to go to Thailand for medical vacations, but Mexico is so much more accessible and the culture is so much more accommodating.
It would pay to come to Vallarta if any type of medical or dental work costing over $600 in the US were necessary. A person could get airfare, room, food AND the procedures done for less than whatever amount is quoted NOTB. For those who fear the medical establishment here, I can only say, from personal experience, that it’s as good or better than in the States. And many of the doctors speak English, another “concern” for many people contemplating a medical vacation.
Of course, for those who don’t need an excuse, Mexico is still a warm, friendly and inexpensive destination for relaxation, intrigue or romance. It hasn’t ever changed in those respects….
by Rick Hepting