EL PASO — The ongoing violence in parts of Mexico isn’t hurting tourism through all of the country.
While border towns struggle to attract visitors, Mexico’s beaches continue to be a popular destination for travelers looking for a little sun and fun.
Riviera Maya is located just south of Cancun, and is Mexico’s top tourist destination. A record 3.6 million visitors traveled to Riviera Maya in 2011, and that number is expected to increase in 2012.
Life, however, isn’t so sunny for residents of Mexican border towns who rely on tourists.
“We don’t have tourists anymore,” said Jose Moran, a merchant in Juarez.
Due to a State Department travel warning for northern Mexico, many U.S. border cities are now discouraging travel to Mexico.
El Paso is one of those cities.
“In essence, shutting down our number-one tourist attraction,” said Bill Blaziek of the El Paso Visitors Bureau.
A couple of years ago, a map put out by local El Paso businesses excluded Mexico altogether.
Mexico is once again going to be included on the map, but tourism in the country’s border towns remains in need of a boost.
The same can't be said for Mexico's beaches, which are preparing for a busy summer of tourism.
Mexico's Tourism Office says the country saw a spike in air travel during spring break. In March, more than 645,000 visitors from the U.S. traveled to Mexico.