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Travellers Plan to Avoid Mexico, Poll Finds
December 23, 2007

Mexico as a vacation destination has suffered in the eyes of Canadians because of recent unsolved crimes that many blame on incompetent police and a corrupt legal system, a new poll reveals.

The Ipsos-Reid survey, conducted for CanWest News Service and Global National and released yesterday, found 60% of Canadians say that if they had a choice of going to Mexico for a vacation this winter, they would avoid it because of the recent crimes committed against a few tourists.

Conducted among a random group of 1,000 respondents from Feb. 15-19, the poll conversely showed 40% would go to Mexico “regardless of what happened to a few Canadian tourists.”

About half of the respondents, 49%, said the recent crimes against Canadians in Mexico, including a double murder, have not been solved because “they have incompetent police and a corrupt legal system.” Another 37% believe the Mexican authorities don’t want to solve the crimes because it might negatively affect tourism if the deaths are attributed to Mexican citizens.

Meanwhile, only 14% believe the Mexican police and government officials are doing their best to solve the crimes but have failed to do so because the cases are “extremely difficult.”

Pollster John Wright said there is no statistical proof Canadian tourists are avoiding Mexico but it indicates the country is viewed with a jaundiced eye by Canadians. “What it does say is the Mexican government and the tourism industry in Mexico have a reputation issue in this country. We may not be able to predict how many people will act upon their impressions of the country, but we certainly have been able to measure what those impressions are.”

Inder Handa, owner of Handa Travel in Ottawa, said his business has not suffered any drop in bookings to Mexico. In fact, he estimated the number of trips in March has doubled.

“We have a large number of university students who travel through us and there are a lot more going to Mexico this year. If you travel regularly, I think you know these are isolated events. They are unfortunate, but Canadians are certainly not targeted,” Mr. Handa said.

Four Canadians have died in Mexico in the past year, including Nancy and Dominic Ianiero from Woodbridge, who were slain at their Mayan Riviera resort in a case that has been heavily criticized because evidence of the murder scene was wiped away by hotel cleaning staff.

In another case, Acapulco authorities said Adam De Prisco, 19, also of Woodbridge, died from injuries sustained in a hit-and-run car accident, but his family believes he was beaten to death.

As well, an elderly man was killed in a hit-and-run accident and a man from Welland, and a woman from Niagara Falls, were wounded by a gunman in an Acapulco hotel lobby.

The poll results show residents in Atlantic Canada, with 73%, are the most likely to avoid Mexico, followed by Ontarians at 71%; Quebecers at 59%; and those in Saskatchewan and Manitoba at 55%. The poll carries a margin of error of plus or minus 3.1 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.


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