De la Madrid, right: warnings won't hurt tourism ranking. De la Madrid, right: warnings won't hurt tourism ranking.

California not as safe as Baja California

Officials speak out in defense of Mexican tourism industry

Tourists are safer in Baja California than in the U.S. state of California, according to a comment made by the state’s tourism secretary in an appearance before the state Congress in Mexicali.


Óscar Escobedo Carignan made the assertion in response to lawmakers’ questions about insecurity in the northern border state.

“We had 27 million tourists last year, just over 16 million were from the other side [the United States]. There were two incidents that shouldn’t have happened, but [in terms] of the international numbers . . . they’re practically nonexistent,” he added.

Congressman Bernardo Padilla, who is also a member of the state’s Public Security, Civil Protection and Tourism Commission, questioned Escobedo about comments made by internationally renowned chef Javier Plascencia in relation to the security situation in the state and specifically Tijuana.

“. . . How could this affect the work that is being carried out?” the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) deputy asked.

“The voice of chef Plascencia concerns me because it resonates in the gastronomic sector at an international level. He said he was nervous about bringing public figures to Baja California.”

Escobedo responded by recognizing the problem but stressed it wasn’t confined to Baja California.


“What is happening is regrettable [and] concerning. He mentioned Tijuana in particular but in reality it’s in tourist destinations in the whole country like Cancún, Quintana Roo, or Los Cabos, Baja California Sur,” he said.

There have been 1,365 homicides recorded in Tijuana this year as of yesterday while rising crime and violence in Baja California Sur have been blamed for hotel cancellations in destinations such as Los Cabos.

Meanwhile, federal Tourism Secretary Enrique de la Madrid ruled out the possibility that an updated travel warning issued by the United States Department of State in August would affect Mexico’s chances of becoming the world’s seventh most visited country.

Mexico is currently the world’s eighth most popular destination, according to the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO).

Growing violence and insecurity will also not affect Mexico’s tourism growth, de la Madrid said, stressing that the dangers of travel to Mexico for overseas visitors were minimal.

“The chances that you, as a foreigner, are affected [by insecurity] are frankly very low,” he declared at a tourism event in Cancún yesterday.

He also called on Mexicans to stop branding the country as unsafe because of the negative effect it will have on tourism.

“If we manage to convince the world that we are an unsafe country, someday we are going to pay for it with fewer tourists, less employment and less progress,” de la Madrid said.

Twenty-six million international tourists arrived in the first eight months of 2017, representing a 12% increase over the same period in 2016 while a total of 35 million international tourists visited Mexico last year, up 50% on 2012 figures.

Increases in visitors from Argentina, Brazil, France and Canada were all cited by the tourism secretary while he also said that more Mexicans are choosing to vacation at home.

De la Madrid also made his own comparison to the relative safety of tourists in Mexico compared to the United States and beyond.

“In Mexico, we don’t have insecurity where one person guns down more than 50 people at a concert . . . We don’t have insecurity where you’re walking down a European street and a terrorist comes and shoots people who are drinking coffee . . . .”

“In Mexico the insecurity we have, unfortunately, most of it has to do with . . . criminal groups competing among themselves to gain [control] of a plaza.”

Source: Reforma (sp), El Universal (sp)

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  • cooncats

    No because you sent a bunch of your gang bangers to California where the leftist fools gave them carte blanche to commit crimes. Smart of you all, not so smart of CA. Time to annex it and bring 3 million Mexicans home!

  • WestCoastHwy

    Óscar Escobedo Carigna should get on the phone with his cartel buddies and have them knock it down a notch. Let’s all be reasonable, there is enough to go around, and no room to be greedy. But like all human associations, there is always an Azzhole somewhere to be had. But seriously, comparing SoCal with Baja; keep it in your pants Oscar Escobedo Carigna, we all know it’s really big!…………not.

  • notfromhere

    Yeah sure; 1930 murders in all of Cali last year; 1365 just in TJ so far this year.

  • Güerito

    “He also called on **Mexicans** to stop branding the country as unsafe because of the negative effect it will have on tourism.”

    LOL. That’s called censorship, folks.

  • Fester N Boyle

    Foreign visitors to Baja are probably safer from the peasants than the corrupt Mexican police and politicians.

    • David Nichols

      Love your nom de plume…!
      Maybe I will change mine to Lance Eiit…

  • Stylez

    No one in MX reports crime to the police. They are the crime and corruption. No reports = no crime stats. Works great in the numbers game.

    The real problems are-

    1- All those dead bodies keep popping up they are hard to deny. Solution- MX just need a more gangster morticians who clean up messes better and do better disappearance jobs.

    2- The guns fights that rage on in the middle of town. Solution ? I do no ? Making gun illegal sure hasn’t worked.

    3- The media, as Donald would say “Fake News” these reporters keep reporting fake murders and gun fights. Solution- Kill/(make them disappear) faster before more news gets out.

  • TioDon

    California not as safe as Baja California

    hahahahahaha….whew! hahahahahahahaha………so funny.

  • 101st

    I’m from So. Cal., now living in Baja Cal., and completely agree. I dread going to la otra lado. California has become
    an ugly place.

    • David Nichols

      Just don’t go to California…the land of fruits and nuts doesn’t represent the USA…

  • Tijuana is much safer than San Diego – it is well known in the area. Anyone who says otherwise has not visited the area recently.

    • David Nichols

      Glenn, I hope your preposterous post was sarcasm…if not you are living in a world devoid of facts…
      San Diego, population 1,400,000 had 49 homicides in 2016, 3.5 per 100,000 residents…
      Tijuana, population. 1,700,000 had 910 homicides in 2016, 54 per. 100,000 residents…
      And Tijuana has had in excess of 1300 homicides so far in 2017, so they have already set a new record…
      And you imagine TJ is safer than SD…??

  • delmaracer

    Do ya think that must be the reason that so many chefs from around the world have declined to come to Tijuana for the annual cook fest. Too scared to cook in Baja? International chefs invited to the seventh annual Baja Culinary Fest, scheduled October 19-22, have opted to stay out of Baja California over fear for their lives, according to El Sol de Tijuana.

  • Geoffrey Rogg

    De La Madrid is a failed politician whose statement was absolute rubbish. Mexico is a failed state with areas of progress and stability entirely due to private sector initiatives with their own security wholly independent of the Federal, State or local law enforcement agencies. I should also point out that included in the private sector initiatives are whole communities who have decided enough is enough and have booted out the criminals and corrupt officials from their midsts.

    • Serge Paul

      Exactly! The goverment here they themselves r criminals.

  • Felipe_Calderoff

    El mentiroso habla.

  • Mike S

    I would agree with senior Carignan’s assessment. Almost none of the murders in Tj or Cabo affect tourists or expats. There is a bloody drug war going on in Mx between cartels and cartels and the government. The very few violent crimes that tourists and expats encounter are usually related to illegal activities like drugs. Considering the vast number of international visitors and expat Americans living in MX and and subtracting out those involved in drugs or other illegal activities…Baja and most other states in Mx are far safer than California and Texas and most US states. There is an out-of-control gun culture in the US and murders are much more random and unpredictable.

  • HonestWally

    The US is the most violent and with the greatest incarceration rate in the world. When police departments act no different that the military, it tells you how American society is rotting away.