Mexico in travel websites
Yucatan Today entices visually, with bright colors, graphics, and photographs.. The site uses banner advertisements of spas, hotels, and the like. It seems to be geared toward prospective ex‐pats, or at least the demographic. The menu options are topics, destinations, events, accommodations, restaurants, and real estate. Even the order in which these options are listed creates a sort of narrative… A person who is English speaking and wealthy enough to vacation goes to the Yucatan, verses his or herself in the topics relevant to that region, visits beautiful historical sites while dining out and staying in nice hotels, and eventually decides to look for real estate in the are and move. The site seems to be assimilating parts of Mexican and Yucatecan culture into a product that will appeal to a certain audience. The advertised sites and media feed into a lot of the hype surrounding the Mayan calendar predictions for 2012. They seem to feed whatever audience they think will come. I wonder who runs this site, honestly.
Cancun Information is the official site for tourism in Cancun. This site looks more like Yucatan Today, and it is even more geared toward luxury seeking masses. Instead of advertising Haciendas like the Yucatan Today site, this lists all-inclusive resorts—which are HORRIBLE for the local economy. There is no attempt to sell Mexican culture here… Nothing reflects, informs, or depicts anything about the culture. There are photos of white skinned, blonde haired models lounging in the bright blue ocean. The list of dining options includes Italian, Oriental, Fine Dining, and steakhouses.. with Mexican food as a mere item on the list. You’ll start to notice that I absolutely detest Cancun…..
The U.S. Department of State’s travel website offers a completely opposite presentation of Mexico. There are no colorful graphics or advertisements, and all of the information is organized by a very streamlined and straightforward design. Rather than listing destinations and tourist hotpots like the Yucatan Today, these are the topics on the menuː
- Country Description
- Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP)/Embassy Location
- Entry/Exit Requirements for U.S. Citizens
- Threats to Safety and Security
- Victims of Crime
- Criminal Penalties
- Special Circumstances
- Medical Facilities and Health Information
- Medical Insurance
- Traffic Safety and Road Conditions
- Aviation Safety Oversight
- Children’s Issues
The narrative is very clear here… Go to Mexico, be prepared for danger. Of course, part of this reflects the way the entire website is structured, but these are the very concerns that circulate among Americans about travelling to Mexico. There is nothing about culture, food, or really anything positive.