Border violence hurting Laredo insurance business
The tourism industry in Mexico has been hit hard by reports of gun battles in Mexico and even some businesses here on our side of the border are reporting a dramatic decline in customers.
Agencies providing auto insurance to those traveling into Mexico are also struggling as Mexico continues its war on drugs.
Insurance agents here in Laredo say in some cases, businesses is down at least 60-percent.
While much violence has gone un-reported in our neighboring country the damage its done here is very clear.
“There were a lot of people going into Mexico especially driving over there.”
Guillermo Pena says he remembers the good 'ol days, which were only a few years ago.
Plenty of people wanting to take a drive into Mexico, equaling big business for Pena insurance.
Now the story is different.
“Within the past year or so our tourist business has declined almost about 60 percent.”
“There’s not too many people looking for insurance to Mexico especially the driver right now.”
About a year ago it was the h1n1 virus that was wreaking havoc on tourism in Mexico now its horror stories of violence fresh in people mind that’s destroying the industry.
“Getting stopped on the highway. They're not as freely going into Mexico they don’t feel safe.”
According to the tourism department, Mexico’s revenue from foreign tourism dropped 15 percent to 11 point three billion dollars in 2009, down from over 13 billion in 2008.
This year, spring breakers were met with travel warnings and while some Mexico hot spots have reported a slight increase in tourism business owners say the good news hasn't spread here just yet.
“I had people calling from Nebraska Arkansas Minnesota Wisconsin just to have a policy ready, sometimes I would come in on Saturday to provide it to them I haven’t received any calls this year.”
Only time will tell if it ever will.
“I hope it gets better.”
Pena says his business doesn't solely depend on Mexico insurance but says he feels for those who do.
We contacted other insurance agencies in Laredo who say they are also seeing the same trend.