18 January 2007
Oaxaca no longer off limits - for some
The U.S. State Department rescinded its travel advisory for Oaxaca yesterday, but the Canadian government still says its citizens shouldn't go to the southern Mexican state - scene of a nasty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.