18 January 2007

Oaxaca no longer off limits - for some

Avolar jet in Oaxaca

The U.S. State Department rescinded its travel advisory for Oaxaca yesterday, but the Canadian government still says its citizens shouldn't go to the southern Mexican state - scene of a nasty teachers' strike that descended into open revolt against the local PRI governor. The Canadians at least acknowledge, "The situation is showing signs of improvement."

Headlines of a 19-year-old Canadian traveler in Acapulco meeting an untimely end on Jan. 7 generated endless headlines in Canada and promoted no shortage of calls for a blanket advisory cautioning against Mexican travel. Perhaps that explains the Canadians' tepidness in lifting its Oaxaca advisory. But Adam DePrisco was struck by a vehicle, according to autopsies performed in both Canada and Mexico. It was most likely a hit-and-run collision, although his family alleges murder.

The two situations shouldn't be linked in any way. I've booked my ticket for Oaxaca - just 2,150 pesos round trip from Guadalajara on Avolar - and I suspect others will follow suit. The state could use the boost and it's not to be missed - even if the Canadian government can't get its act together and scrap the travel advisory.

*For a telling statistic on how bad the tourism economy in Oaxaca is, look at these stats from the local airport operator, which saw a 32.6 percent fewer passengers in Dec. 2006 than in Dec. 2005.

1 comment:

Ron Mader said...

The local airport only saw a 32.6 percent decrease in passengers in December 2006 (compared to 2005)? I thought it would have been higher.

That said, things are looking up in late January. Intrepid snowbirds are returning and no doubt word of mouth will lead to a return of tourism. That said, most Oaxacans don't believe things will be the same. "After all that's happened, things will be different," one friend told me.