6 Reasons Why Mexico is Safer than You Think
Fully revised and updated for 2018
We occasionally receive questions from people asking about the current situation regarding safety and security in Mexico. To provide some perspective, listed here are six reasons which demonstrate how Mexico’s drug-related issues, which remain a body of work to address, do not make Mexico wholly unsafe.
Visitor numbers set a record in 2016, and broke that record again in 2017: The Bank of Mexico is responsible for collating and publishing foreign visitor statistics. The latest figures reveal that over 39 million foreign tourists arrived in Mexico in 2017, up by over 4 million visitors on the year before, and continuing the rising trend over the last several years. Mexico has established itself as one of the world’s top-ten most-visited nations in the world. Despite some of the negative news-flow, and especially that around the drug-related violence, people keep coming to Mexico. Statistics from foreign consulate records consistently show that the overwhelming majority of visits to Mexico are trouble-free.
Mexico is one of the world’s most important economies. Years of sound economic governance, a welcoming economy with policies that encourage free trade and partnership (Mexico has tariff-free trade agreements with 46 countries around the world), coupled with shrewd investment, and relatively low debt (public and private) have created an attractive environment for investors and foreign companies. Mexico is taking an active and positive approach to the NAFTA re-negotiations, and its leadership has expressed over and again that it is in the mutual interest of all three countries involved to cultivate an agile trading framework across the North American continent. Mexico is today one of the world’s few ‘trillion-dollar’ economies, and mature nations are keen to work with Mexico.
No foreign resident exodus. In decades now long-past, when Mexico’s economy was less open and less stable, foreign residents would often flee home in the event of a peso crisis. Today, even with the drug-related flare-ups, no such exodus is taking place and, furthermore, we are seeing interest in relocation to Mexico rising substantially. Mexico’s government is expecting its expat communities to grow over the coming decade, and offers choices in facilitation of this, as welcoming foreign residents—who bring their energy and capital to Mexico—creates significant mutual benefits. If Mexico is a wholly dangerous place to be, why are existing foreign residents staying put and inquiries for relocation to Mexico growing strongly?
The violence is mostly confined to drug-gangs. The research data show that the surge of homicides in Mexico over the last few years has come about through drug-gang members killing other drug-gang members. Tourists, business visitors, and foreign residents are not being targeted by the drug-gangs, and statistics from foreign consulates show that the overwhelming majority of visits to Mexico pass by trouble-free.
Mexico matters. Mexico is a good neighbor to the U.S. and is also one of the world’s most important nations—poised to play important roles in world affairs during this 21st century. Mexico and the U.S. share a broad range of common economic, social, and security interests, and despite some unhelpful alarmist rhetoric on Social Media, behind the scenes both nations continue to work closely together on issues concerning trade and security in efforts to bring prosperity and well-being to the continent.
Mexico’s underlying story is strong and getting stronger. Notwithstanding the drug-related issues, the country’s macro-economics are in good shape; Mexico has substantial oil and gas reserves as well as considerable mineral and precious metal wealth; it’s also enacting structural reforms across key industrial sectors with the intention to transition the country’s economy away from being heavily dependent on oil and manufacturing into a multi-faceted, diverse and sustainable economic environment; foreign visitors keep coming back despite the negative news-flow; Mexico’s free trade agreements are bridges which cultivate understanding, trade and prosperity between the signatories of these accords.
Every day, tourists arrive in Mexico to rest themselves and enjoy its rich culture and heritage; business visitors arrive to trade, cultivate friendships and agree business deals that create new wealth; and foreign residents living here are going about their lives normally, contributing positively in the Mexican communities they love calling home. These activities don’t make headlines, but they are indeed the real-life experiences of people visiting and living safely in Mexico.