Tourists concerned about violence in Mexico

LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) - It's not clear how many American lives may have been lost in escalating drug violence in Mexico over recent years.

Some tourists choose not to travel there, yet local travel agents say others refuse to let fear stand in the way of their fun.

The beautiful beaches of Mexico are a favorite vacation spot for many but with increasing concern about Americans getting caught in the crossfire of drug violence in Mexico, some travelers are hesitant to travel to places like Cancun and Cozumel. Brandi Smith with Partners in Travel admits probably half the people interested in travel to Mexico have questions about safety. "Well there has been a growing number of people expressing concern over traveling to Mexico," she admits. Yet she says once they consider the good deals and how they compare to other destinations most go ahead and go. "Some of the resorts are just so much nicer than what they can get in other areas for a much higher price tag."

And she says no one they've sent to Mexico has run into trouble. "We've had no complaints. We have people going to Mexico every week and have had no one have any kind of scares."

Brandi points out people living in southwest Louisiana are actually closer to the violence than they would be if they travel to Cancun or Cozumel. "We here in Lake Charles area are approximately 500 miles from the border towns where they are having these occurrences and down in the resort, tourist areas that we sell, Cancun, Cozumel, Mayan Riviera, that's approximately twelve hundred miles."

As well says with tourism being Mexico's livelihood she believes police there are doing a lot to make sure tourists feel safe. "I would go without any hesitation. I went last year, I felt perfectly safe and I would go back."

According to the U.S. State department an estimated 106 Americans were victims of executions or homicides directly related to drug battles in Mexico last year, compared to 79 in 2009 and 35 in 2007.

And not all may be accounted for because some people just disappear.

We'll talk to a local travel agent to find out how Lake Area travelers are responding to the situation.

Copyright 2011 KPLC. All rights reserved.