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Mexico Resort Real Estate Update from The Settlement Company
email this pageprint this pageemail usJohn K. Glaab - settlement-co.com
July 06, 2010



According to statistics released by the Mexican Secretary of Tourism the number of foreign visitors coming to Mexico in the first 4 months of 2010 increased 5.7 percent, versus the same year ago period.
Welcome to our Second Quarter 2010 newsletter. The quarter was off to a fast start with two major real estate industry meetings. They were followed by an historic June meeting of environmentalists in La Paz.

In Washington, D.C. the National Association of Realtors (NAR) convened its annual Mid-Year Meetings the second week, in May. A few days before that AMAR (Asociacion Mexicana de Asistencia en el Retiro) met in San Antonio, Texas.

Realtors Congregate in Washington for Mid-Year Meetings

Each year, the National Association of Realtors stages two Conferences and Trade Shows. The smaller session is called the "Mid Year Meetings and Expo". It is always held in May in the same city, Washington D.C., and attended by about 7,000 Realtors. The larger conference moves from city to city and more than 25,000 register for that one. In May, I attended the NAR Mid-Year Meetings. Click HERE to read all about it.

50+ Sector Life Style Communities and Destinations

The Mexican Association for Retirement Communities (AMAR in Spanish) met in San Antonio Texas, May 7th and 8th. Attendees came mostly from Mexico, but also from the U.S. and Canada.

The conference brought together word class speakers, consumers, marketing professionals, real estate developers and professionals from the world of finance. Different topics were addressed, such as health care, living option for the + 50 Sector in Mexico, financial models, the integration of development and operation, among these. Owners and operators that cost for development and infrastructure are 50-60% less than in Canada and the U.S.

It was reported that Mexico has about 20 million visitors annually and they spend about $ 13 billion, annually.

Mexico Experiences an Increase in Foreign Visitors

According to statistics released by the Mexican Secretary of Tourism (SECTUR) the overall number of foreign visitors coming to Mexico in the first four months of 2010 increased 5.7 percent, versus the same year ago period.

Tourists came in larger numbers from Australia (17.3%) Spain (16.4%) Canada (9.2%) and The United States (5.9%). An increase from Latin America was also noted. Visitors coming from "The Low Countries," decreased 2.9%, while visitors from Japan and Germany decreased 2.2% each.

New Hotels in Los Cabos and La Paz

Construction of a new hotel by the Marriott group in Cabo San Lucas is expected to commence before the end of the year. The "five star" 139 room property will be located on Medano Beach in the center of Cabo San Lucas.

In La Paz, construction of a new Seven Crown Hotel has commenced. It will be an upscale sister hotel to the Seven Crown Hotel on the Malecón. At the Costa Baja Resort and Marina, work on the new boutique type Heritage Hotel is nearing completion. It is the remodeled Hotel Fiesta Inn, featuring larger rooms and a restaurant, which will provide international cuisine. Also at Costa Baja work continues on the new Gary Player designed golf course. It is scheduled to open in November and is the first that he has designed in Latin America.

Mexico's President Visits La Paz - Los Cabos

Felipe Calderon, the President of Mexico, recently came to La Paz and Cabos San Lucas to participate in two important events.

In La Paz, he inaugurated the new hospital Juan Maria de Salvatierra at a cost of $760 million pesos ($630 million USD). It is a specialized institution with 129 beds and 24 intensive care units. The hospital has the latest high tech equipment to be found anywhere on the globe.

Further down the road in San Jose del Cabo, President Calderon inaugurated the new Hotel Barcelo... Barceló's brand new, sleek beach front resort is 547 suites with an innovative design including 34 specialty swim-up suites (the first and only in Los Cabos), an American sports bar, a cigar lounge, and much more. In addition to upscale accommodations, it also boasts 7 themed indoor restaurants, outdoor grills, swim-up pool bars, a world class spa, and a convention center.

Waterkeeper Alliance Meets in Mexico

A dispute between fishermen and a chemical company on the Hudson River gave birth to the concept. Instead of violence and demonstrations a company was sued. The fishermen were awarded the princely sum of $2000 USD. That will provide you with an indication of how long ago the dispute was settled and the movement started.

The Waterkeeper Alliance group really gained impetus, when the environmental activist Robert F. Kennedy became its President in 1999. Now it is affiliated with 200 like minded organizations on six continents. It is playing at the moment, a major adversarial role over the disaster in the Gulf of Mexico. Click HERE to learn more.

Mexico Travel Warning in Perspective
Source: bajainsider.com

Looking at the Facts...

Updated May 31, 2010 As of March 14, 2010 the U.S. government has issued a Mexico travel warning now which supersedes the Travel Alert dated February 22, 2010. The warning has been renewed on May 6, 2010. The Mexico travel "warning" was issued based on one event this week in Ciudad Juarez where there has been a history of drug related violence. There were 3 murders in the same day that Houston Texas had 9 and these were not drug war related. In other words this "Warning" the U.S. is sending out to Universities and other travel site is really unfounded at least in the states of Baja and Baja California Sur.

BajaInsider.com is not saying there are not problems, crimes and violence in Mexico and even Baja, but the crime rate has dropped in northern Baja and Baja Sur has seen very little serious crimes.

According to the U.S Department of State "Travel Warnings are issued to describe long-term, protracted conditions that make a country dangerous or unstable."

Almost all of the events that have occurred in Mexico also occurred in tourist destination in the US during the same time period. The war between the drug traffickers, each other and the government has not targeted tourists at this time. Travelers should remain alert to their surroundings. Without a doubt, the world wide economic situation has added to petty crimes in tourist areas world wide.

Oscar Escobedo, Baja California's Secretary of Tourism, said it is illogical to change the alert for Tijuana due to events in Ciudad Juarez. "Let's say something happened in Austin, Texas and you would have that same reaction for California. It's thousands of miles away. And what happens in one town doesn't mean it happens all over the country. So I don't think it is justified."

As a tourist you should of course be careful and aware of where you are in any country these days. Due to the economic crisis everywhere in the world there are bound to be at least more petty crimes if not more violence.

First and foremost, let us remember that more Americans will visit Mexico by noon tomorrow than will visit London in a year. A vast majority enjoy that visit without incident. Most of foreign destinations, with the exclusion of Canada, are more dangerous to visit for Americans than is Mexico on an incident per visit ratio. With more than 50,000 Americans vacationing here per day and another million that live here, there are bound to be some reported incidents.

Mexico is dangerous - if you work for the Cartel!

Looking at the statistics, Tijuana (TJ) is one of the more dangerous cities in Mexico, but it would be in the lower third of large US cities in terms of violent crime. Philadelphia, about the same size as TJ, has roughly the same crime statistics.

Most of homicides in the Mexican border areas have been inter drug cartel exclusively. If you deduct the gangland related murders from the statistics, visiting Mexico is safer than visiting most US cities. New Orleans, the most dangerous city in the US, is about 3 times more dangerous than TJ.

In late 2007 there were a significant number of stories in the US press regarding incidents involving Mexican travelers, particularly in Baja California ('norte' for the rookies) and that the government is ambivalent or even complicit in these attacks. By late 2009 the positive actions of both local and federal authorities has made the region safer for tourists again. But, please read on, this statement is not without caveats...

Although the situation with drug cartels and the government crackdown remains active, no US citizens have yet been injured in these actions in Baja California or Baja California Sur.

Mexico has become more aggressive in pursuing drug traffickers. This has resulted in some gun battles in the last 6 months of 2009. Neither any or innocent parties were injured in these events. Mexico has statistically become the world leader in kidnapping for profit. To a great extent, the focus of this is in Mexico City. Mexican corporate execs, family members and even doctors employed by corporate hospitals have been abducted for the anticipated ransom.

Kidnapping and kidnapping attempts have occurred in both states, of locals of profitable targets. It appears only one of these appeared to be a tourist in Tijuana. As a tourist, kidnappers have no idea what you might be worth in random. Take off the Rolex before you visit, don't appear overly flamboyant and enjoy Baja.

Travelers should always take precautions against thefts of personal belongings when traveling in their native country or abroad, as thieves everywhere find tourists an easy mark. Just as everywhere in the world during these economic times are tough, petty crime is on the rise here in Baja.

Bilateral Initiatives Announced by Canada and Mexico during President Calderon's Visit to That Country

Several new Canada-Mexico initiatives were announced during President Calderon's visit to Canada in late May. The most important one to tourism is the updated Air Transport Agreement. Amendments to the existing bilateral Air Transport Agreement (created in 1961 and amended in 1999 and 2007) will provide airlines from both countries with greater market access for passenger, combination and all-cargo services and greater pricing flexibility to respond to market conditions in a competitive manner.

It is anticipated that this will result in more people and cargo travelling between the two countries, enhancing business and people to people ties. Mexico is Canada's third largest international air travel market after the US and European Union. Five Canadian airlines and one Mexican airline offer direct, own-craft air services between the two countries.

Among the other initiatives were anti crime projects and Canadian contributions to the Mexican judicial system. Canada will contribute to Mexico's robust and ongoing efforts to combat corruption and help to reform its legal system.

The Government of Canada will provide approximately $1.6 million (2010-2011) towards increasing the ability of Mexican judges to manage the new adversarial system in the courts. Anticipated activities include the provision of training, workshops and seminars; development of courses and training tools; and the sharing of best-practices, techniques and methodologies, including a 10-day study mission to Canada for six Mexican judges.

In addition to projects announced today, Canada has also provided RCMP personnel and funding to help train Mexican Federal police under the Anti-Crime Capacity Building Program. Specifically, eight Spanish speaking RCMP instructors were dispatched to Mexico last summer to provide training in forensic interview techniques for Mexican Federal Police recruits.

In addition, 42 Mexican commanding officers, and over 250 mid-level Mexican officers travelled to Canada for three weeks last fall to receive training in police management, decision making, investigation and intelligence skills at the Canadian Police College. These initiatives were announced by Prime Minister Harper in Guadalajara, Mexico, on August 9, 2009.

International Community Foundation Releases Findings U.S. Retiree Real Estate and Housing Trends in Mexican Coastal Communities; A Report from The International Community Foundation

NOTE: The International Community Foundation is a public charity founded in 1990 with a mission to expand the level of charitable giving internationally by U.S. donors with an emphasis on Mexico and Central America.

The International Community Foundation released its report "Housing and Real Estate Trends Among Americans Retiring in Mexico's Coastal Communities" to make recommendations to policymakers in both the U.S. and Mexico, as well as to educate and inform U.S. retirees about key issues to consider when purchasing real estate in Mexico. The report is the third of five research studies that will be published by the Foundation.

For years, U.S. & Canadian retirees have re-located to Mexico as an alternative retirement destination that was affordable, offered desirable weather and was close to their communities of origin in North America. To further analyze these trends, especially in the context of the current economic crisis, the International Community Foundation surveyed over 840 U.S. retirees in coastal areas of Mexico over 50 years of age. Click HERE for more information.
John Glaab has been a member of NAR's International Section for over a decade. He has earned the Certified International Property Specialist designation and is a founding member of AMPI Los Cabos. He spends half the year in La Paz, Baja California Sur and the other half in Uruapan, Michoacan. For further information, contact John at John.Glaab(at)settlement-co.com.



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