|by Michelle Baran||Mexico and Central America, Real Deals||3|
Last year, Mexico welcomed 22.4 million international tourists. Despite the ongoing negative press about Mexico, the destination continues to attract millions. How is that?
There are many reasons, many of which are the same reasons Mexico attracted tourists long before the problems with drug cartels and violence flared up—the country's beautiful beaches, colorful culture, wide range of resort properties, its archaeological sites and adventure offerings.
But there's another reason why many tourists aren't deterred by some of the bad news out of Mexico. For many, Mexico represents an unbeatable value for the vacation experience, a bang for your American buck, that is difficult to beat.
"Over the last 10 years, I know of no other destination in the world that has raised the standards higher while keeping the prices virtually stable—and in some cases lower—in terms of real dollars, than has Mexico," said Terry Denton, president of Travel Leaders in Fort Worth, Tex.
Denton noted that while airfares to Mexico have increased due to scheduled airline cutbacks and fewer charters, the prices of hotels and resorts south of the border have stayed relatively the same in recent years.
"One of the hardest hit places for negative press was Texas," said Sandy Babin, vice president of marketing for Apple Vacations. That was in large part due to a strongly worded statement issued by the Texas Department of Public Safety last month discouraging spring breakers from heading south of the border.
"While we did see a drop in Mexico sales at the height of the negative stories, we are seeing Mexico pick up again, and the feedback from our area travel agents is that the prices there are too good for people to pass up," said Babin.
For instance, a 7-day, air-inclusive package from St. Louis to the Dreams Palm Beach Punta Cana for select June departures runs about $1,450 per person. A 7-day, air-inclusive package to the Dreams Puerto Aventuras Resort & Spa for select June departs goes for about $980 per person.
Similarly, a 7-day, air-inclusive package from Chicago to the Dreams Palm Beach Punta Cana for select May departures goes for about $1,250 per person. While a 7-day, air-inclusive package from Chicago to the Dreams Puerto Aventuras Resort & Spa for select May departures runs about $950 per person, according to Apple Vacations.
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