Apple Leisure Group reassures travelers anxious about Mexico

Apple Leisure Group reassures travelers anxious about Mexico

Travel agents say that some clients are concerned about
going to Mexico due to tension between the U.S. and Mexican governments, but
Apple Leisure Group — a top company in Mexico leisure travel — assures that
Mexicans will continue to warmly welcome Americans.

“There is no resentment or bad feelings from Mexicans
to the American people. There is clearly a bad feeling toward Donald Trump. If
Donald Trump decides to go on vacation in Mexico, I wouldn’t be surprised if
someone yells something nasty at him,” said Apple Leisure Group CEO Alex
Zozaya.

Apple Leisure Group operates many resorts in Mexico via its
AMResorts division, and sends many travelers to the country through wholesalers
Apple Vacations, Travel Impressions and CheapCaribbean.com.

Since the Mexican tourism economy relies heavily on U.S.
travelers, Zozaya added that, if anything, Mexicans will likely be even more
welcoming to Americans right now in order to counter concerns American travelers
might have.

“Mexicans now have a task to prove to Americans that we
love them, that they’re totally welcome, that there is no resentment. They also
know that the majority of Americans voted against Trump. In that sense, we not
only have no issue with Americans, we are in solidarity with Americans,”
said Zozaya.

Travel sellers who specialize in Mexico report that they are
fielding calls from clients who are concerned about feeling welcomed while on
vacation, or even whether there will be a problem getting back into the United
States.

“They are very concerned about the U.S. and Mexico
right now not being such great allies,” said Sara Butruff, owner of a
Travel Leaders location in Apple Valley, Minn. “They are ready to cancel
their trips. The biggest concern was that they are going to be treated horribly
because of all the stuff we’re demanding of Mexico. Or that Trump could put
something into play or the Mexican government could put something into play and
they won’t be able to get home.”

Annette Youngbauer, a Travel Leaders agent in Delafield,
Wis., said that while the agency has not had any cancellations for Mexico, her
agency is getting calls from travelers worried that Mexicans won’t be
hospitable. In response, Youngbauer and her colleagues are referring clients to
the experiences of travelers they currently have in Mexico who are reporting
back that they are having a “fabulous time.”

Zozaya and Jack Richards, CEO of Pleasant Holidays, both
reported that despite worrisome headlines about U.S.-Mexico relations, Mexico
bookings are thus far strong for 2017, not least because of the good value
Mexico is due to the strength of the U.S. dollar. Richards noted that low
airfares are also helping to spur bookings.

“Our Mexico bookings are extremely strong this year and
we expect to have a very good year for Mexico. I wouldn’t say we have any
concern at this point,” said Terry Denton, a Travel Leaders agent in Fort
Worth, Texas.

But Mexico specialists and packagers also acknowledged their
worry about the effect on Mexico bookings if Trump’s harsh rhetoric continues
and U.S.-Mexico relations deteriorate.

“I’m concerned that if the current administration
paints Mexico as one of the bad guys, [people who] want to support their
president [will say], ‘I don’t want to spend money down there, so I’m not going
to go,'” Zozaya said.

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