Despite Drug War, Mexico Sets Tourism Record

By McCarton Ackerman 02/14/12

50,000 drug war killings failed to scare away 22.7 million visitors last year.

Mexico's beauty is pulling them in. Photo via

Despite the raging drug war in Mexico that has killed 50,000 people over the last five years, tourism numbers in the country have reached an all-time high. Mexico's tourism agency has released figures which show that 22.7 million foreigners came to the country by air in 2011—the highest recorded number since the Bank of Mexico began keeping track in 1980—and represent a glimmer of hope. Although air travel from the US to Mexico dropped three percent last year, tourists from countries such as Brazil, Russia and China easily made up the difference. While beach haven Acapulco remains one of the deadliest areas in the country, most of the violence there occurs off the main tourist strip. And most of the resort areas geared to foreign travelers such as Cancun and Los Cabos have not suffered drug-related slayings.

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McCarton Ackerman is a freelance writer and editor living in Portland, Oregon. He has been a contributor for The Fix since October 2011, writing on a wide range of topics ranging from medical marijuana in Colorado to the world's sexiest drug smugglers. Follow him on Linkedin and Twitter.