Travel Agent chatted with Rodolfo Lopez Negrete, chief operating officer of the Mexico Tourism Board, about the tragedy that struck a casino in Monterrey last month, in which 52 people were killed in an arson attack in northern Mexico, and learned that the Board will be launching a new campaign to clean up the city’s crime.
“I happened to be in Monterrey the day after the incident and it was very sad and very unpleasant because of the nature of that crime,” Negrete told us during a phone interview last week. “The people of Monterrey are very proud people and they really do run a sophisticated infrastructure. President Calderon said himself that there is a big initiative to clean up the destination, something that would take hours to tell you all about.”
Negrete says the destination has been safe for years but then came across some serious security challenges when a new government took over there a few years ago and hired an “inexperienced” police force.
“You need to understand that for years this city was the model for safety,” he says. “ It’s very safe, its very modern and its actually extremely Americanized. When everything changed two years ago, they really didn’t have an experienced police department. Because of that, Monterrey has been suffering some violent events over the last few years.”
But he did note that more safety initiatives will be coming soon to Monterrey with hopes of beefing up the security there.
“We mainly need to make sure the police are trained enough to deal with these challenges facing this great city,” he says. “ You have to remember, though, that this city is still thousands of miles away from Cancun and Los Cabos and other major tourism destinations, but we are still working to make Monterrey a safe destination again because this is such an architectural treasure for travelers visiting Mexico.”