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Tourism officials say, Mexico, Live it to Believe it
By: Melissa Gundersen
EL PASO, Texas -- Juarez, Mexico, is a city known for its violent killings and drug cartels, but it's reportedly getting a little safer. Now, the Mexico Tourism Board is trying to entice more visitors to the area.
The Mexico Tourism Board's new campaign is called: "Mexico, Live it to Believe it." Starting at the beginning of 2014, four new commercials highlighting Mexico tourist destinations will air on television internationally. The Mexican Consulate, Jacob Prado, said the commercials will highlight the fun and most beautiful parts of the country.
"(It will show) the flavors of Mexico, the music of Mexico, the culture of Mexico in addition to the archeological sides, the colonial cities, the touristic destinations," said Prado.
While these commercials won't highlight Juarez specifically, Prado said he's hopeful their efforts will have change the city's reputation.
"The security is much better than three or four years ago and there are many destinations in the state of Chihuahua and along the border that American citizens can enjoy," said Prado.
But many El Pasoans have their doubts.
"Violence, all of the cartels and the shootings that's what I think about. I think it will always be in the back of my head," said Alyssa Garcia.
Garcia grew up in El Paso but said she never crosses the border.
"My dad doesn't let me and I'm guessing (it's) because of the bad reputation that it has and all that," said Garcia.
Garcia's story isn't uncommon.
"During the past few years many El Pasoans have decided not to go to Mexico," said Prado.
Prado said with this new campaign they're also working with travel agents and tour operators that will try to push the area to customers.
"Of course I am not saying that things don't happen. But it is not what used to be three or four years ago. And the violence level are much lower than some cities in the United States," said Prado.
"Before it was really, really dangerous and I have to admit I did stop going to visit my family, but now I've seen the changes, I have, said Juarez native Anna Almeida.
Almeida said she's seen the city grow and feels this campaign is a good push in changing the areas reputation.
"Night life, it's really, really a hit right now. The bars, everything is so cool right now," said Almeida.
Similar efforts were made in Tijuana and numbers show its working. But Garcia has her doubts.
"It might help, but it will probably take a lot longer than they probably think it would," said Garcia.