A considerable amount of Americans visit Mexico. According to the U. S State Department, the number of American citizens visiting Mexico has been estimated to 15 to 16 millions annually. However, with the advent of drug wars in Mexico, tourism is at stake because of various reasons which includes kidnappings of tourisms in the northern border cities such as Mexico City, Chiapas, etc, killing tourists, etc. Due to the drug wars terrorism reaching at a dangerous level at the border towns, tourism to Mexico has suffered.
The border area between the United States of America and Mexico is suffering from aggression and violence that the State Department have released travel alert which creates the awareness of the drug war between the criminal associations for the power and domination of the profitable substance trade which persists along the border (Wall Street Journal). Foreigners including Americans have become targets of criminal activities because of the ongoing drug war.
The Mexican and American media provide daily information and news on the tortured, mutilated and sometimes decapitated dead bodies of tourists which are regularly dumped on the roads and city streets. Sister cities El Paso, Texas to Juarez, Mexico are for all intentions and objectives one body with discrete governments sharing the same problems. The superseding crisis in Juarez is the power and domination of Mexican drug cartels, chiefly the Juarez Cartel which has been caught up in violence with Sinalao Cartel.
Juarez today has become the center of disorder, turmoil and aggression. The Mexican army arrived at Juarez after the brutal series of murder of police commander who declined to protect Juarez Cartel, two reporters, few tourists and others threatened. It also attracts tourists which contribute to the country’s economy. The similar is the case of El Paso. Both sister cities are dependent on each other for trade, business, tourism, etc. A recent survey conducted demonstrated that 64 percent resident of El Paso feared that the Juarez violence will have a negative impact on the border.
Mexican shoppers also contribute to tourism in El Paso. But with the recent fear of getting caught in cartel cross fire denotes the decline in tourism in El Paso and vice versa. Although, El Paso has not become the target of drug violence, the local economy of the city is at stake. According to Howard Campbell of University of Texas at El Paso, the economies generated by the tourism of all major border regions will suffer until and unless the drug cartels do not end (Economist).
In the beginning of 2008, more than three hundred tourists have been murdered between the Juarez-El Paso borders. The border crossing at McAllen-Reynosa is the center of activities of Texans heading to Mexico for visit and vice versa. However, the current situation of the Mexico’s drug cartels operational in Reynosa, are battling to take the control of the market. The threat to tourists is significant because of the brutal and vicious turf war being waged by the drug cartels. These situations are not present where an ordinary tourist on the average street is safe.
The US State Department in its travel advisories in 2007 and 2008 called for American tourists to avoid the border provinces in Mexico because of the drug cartel wars. Nuevo Laredo is a popular destination for tourists because of its extensive night life and entertainment industry. In the past year a large number of organizations simply shut down their operations because of security concerns. This has even led to security concerns in the American cities which are across the border.
The economic and business ties with the Mexican border states have been disrupted and threatened because of the spread of the drug related violence. There have been fears that the narco violence might spill into the American cities. Laredo and Nuevo Laredo are considered to be one metropolis even though they are part of two different countries. The series of brazen killings taken place in Nuevo Laredo in daylight hours nearing shopping centers and on streets have made the town completely deserted. In other words, Nuevo Laredo has become a ghost town because of insignificant tourist activity.
Tourists coming from Laredo to Nuevo Laredo have declined, causing the retail sales to fall down by 40 percent in Nuevo Laredo (Economist). In Juarez, The violence in the region is affecting the economy negatively. Various U. S companies administer assembly line factories called Maquillas in Mexico side which contributes 35 percent of Mesiuco’s GDP. These companies are responsible for providing jobs, housing and health care facilities to thousands of people in Juarez alone. In Laredo- Nuevo Laredo, the job market is lessening and restaurants, hotels and souvenir shops have been closed.