December 18, 2010

Fashionable Canadians Come to Cancún

Until recently, Americans were the top nation taking their vacations in Mexico. Now so many Canadians have flocked to our beachside resorts, that they've ousted the USA. Moreover, they tend to stay longer and explore further than their neighbours.

Canadian and Mexican flags


Figures just released show a steady rise, throughout the decade, in Canadians heading into Mexico. These count those spending at least one night here:

2000.....691,900

2001.....688,600

2002.....607,400

2003.....715,800

2004.....705,200

2005.....794,400

2006.....841,300

2007..1,019,000

2008..1,124,500

2009..1,208,600

The 2010 numbers aren't there, as we're still in it, but the estimates all point to another increase. It is projected that 1.5 million Canucks would have slept overnight, in Mexico, this year.

luxury apartment in Mexico


All of this is despite smear campaigns and sensational news headlines, telling Canadians that the country is very dangerous. Even travel agents have a policy of warning holidaymakers not to stray from the resorts and never, ever befriend the locals(?). It is a view that irritates Alberto Lozano, of the Mexican Embassy in Ottawa. He's pointed out that only 20 Canadians have died in Mexico, during the past four years. Alcohol was involved in the majority of deaths, including the seven who plunged from hotel balconies, while messing around up there. Most were accidental deaths and the rest were natural causes. None of them were killed in gangland violence, nor even saw it.

Chichen Itza


For the Canuck vacationers, the biggest problem that they will encounter, in Mexico, is that they eventually have to leave again. Of course, some don't. The Canadian Expat Association in Cancún has 65 members. It's also a good job that Kelly ignored all of the dire warnings not to speak to locals. Otherwise she would never have met and married one, moved to Cancún and started a family. For the rest of us, that means that we would never have had the amazing 'A Canuck in Cancún' blog!

Incidentally, here is what she had to say about the 'danger' issue:

So, is Cancun safe for tourists? Yes. Crime happens here, sure, pick pockets, thefts from hotel rooms, etc, etc, but violent crime against tourists, no. The type of crime that happens here occurs in every city around the world, tourist attraction or not. Use your common sense and street smarts and you'll be fine. I would venture to say that Cancun is safer than most big cities around the world, I don't feel any different here than I did in Toronto or New York or Los Angeles. In fact, I probably feel safer.
'Tourists Safe in Cancun' by A Canuck in Cancun

But what does she know? She's only lived here for nearly 8 years.

Canuck in Cancun


Meanwhile, the cultural exchange isn't just one way. In Mexico, there are an increasing number of events, where Canadian food, film, music and other exports are introduced to locals and tourists alike. 'La Sombra del Sabino', held in Tepoztlán, is just one such example.

For many Canadian travellers, the taste of home isn't why they rush to Mexico. This is especially true in the winter months. After all, it's currently -5°C (22°F) in snowy Toronto. Meanwhile, on the beaches of Cancun, people are sipping their margaritas, applying sunscreen in temperatures of 29°C (84°F). It's hardly rocket science to work out why the Canuck tourists come.

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