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TOURISM - $30 million ad campaign says Mexico is safe


The Mexico Tourism Board is fighting U.S. perceptions that it's unsafe to travel there with a new $30 million ad campaign.
Part of the campaign will feature TV ads -- due to premiere in the next couple of weeks -- that will feature real-life vacationers arriving back from South of the Border getaways. The idea: "Americans talking to Americans to communicate that it is a great place and a safe place," tourism board chief marketing officer Gerardo Llanes says.

He says those picked for the "Mexico Taxi Project" are offered a ride home at the airport and don't know they're being filmed in vehicles driven by actors. The driver asks about their stay, including safety, then cameras are revealed and riders sign papers giving permission for their comments to air. So far, respondents have been positive about their stays, Llanes says. "Most of the people say, 'Anything we can do for Mexico,' " when asked to give permission, he says. He thinks having Americans tout Mexico is more effective than "an institution" saying good things.

"We don't deny there are some spots in the country that have issues," Llanes continues, such as drug cartels run amok and crime. But he says tourist areas such as Cancun shouldn't be considered treacherous.

A website due to be up and running soon,, will have ad clips and more. And Llanes says the campaign will include a social media blitz and even billboards in places such as Times Square showing vacationers having fun in the sun, live.

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