Photo courtesy of Thinkstock
Ask anyone where you should go on vacation and they are quick to give their opinions. In some cases, they are quick to share their opinions on where NOT to visit too. As a result of some seriously infectious word of mouth, some of these destinations are struggling for visitors, but have they gotten a bad rap?
For example, the Mexican drug problems have made headlines and travelers have been cautioned to stay away. The truth is that there are some issues, but overall the area is safe as long as you watch where you are going and don’t just wander around.
Kerry Mooneyham of Midwest Travel Solutions is all too familiar with this. “Mexico is a top tourist destination, but I am surprised how often I am asked, “is it safe?” said Mooneyham. “Yes, Mexico is safe. I have found the people to be caring, kind and generally helpful. They have a pride in their country and are enthusiastic to share their history, and story with visitors.”
Samarah Meil said that it’s up to travel agents to help to improve Mexico’s reputation. “I still get people who fear Mexico, which is always shocking to me,” said Meil of Amarillo Travel Network. “Learning how to handle the questions, how to give honest facts and educate people is an important role of a travel agent.”
When Marianne DeIulio talks to her customers, she said the first thing they say is ‘no Mexico.’ “Mexico to me is still the most affordable for an all-inclusive, including transfers and air,” said DeIulio of Just Travelin’.
“I don't push clients, but I do always suggest it,” she said. “I have many clients who love Mexico and keep returning. Any AI on any island can offer you everything at your resort so you don't have to leave it for the clients that are skeptical. There are people who want to venture out and taste the food and see their surroundings and, for those who visit Mexico, I simply make sure we have a pre-booked tour with a reputable tour company.”
Margie Lenau of Wonderland Family Vacations said that Puerto Rico is probably one of the most underappreciated places to travel. “It is a great idea for Americans to travel there because you don't need a passport,” she said. “There are beautiful tropical beaches and the rain forest. If you have never seen this type of water with the glowing algae, it is amazing. And Puerto Rico is rich in history, easily seen in San Juan's colorful buildings.”
Interestingly, the Tenerife Bureau of Tourism said that the Spanish island, the largest of Spain's seven Canary Islands, receives more than six-million international travelers per year, but less than 20,000 come from North America.
“Despite its bad rap because of an airline crash back in the late 70's, Tenerife is home to two UNESCO World Heritage sites,” said Cyril Lemaire, a representative of the Tenerife Bureau of Tourism. “They are Mt Teide and the Spanish colonial city of La Laguna; as well as beaches, nature activities, and some of the top-rated family activities. With a new promotional marketing campaign to North America, it’s hoped that Tenerife will become a more popular destinations for Americans and Canadians in 2017.”