Gallego noted that most members of the group attacked are believed to be Spaniards living in Mexico City, and that Acapulco is a much bigger draw for domestic Mexican tourism than it is for international visitors.
Many Spaniards will go to Mexico during the long Easter Week vacation, and Gallego said he’s heard no talk from travel agencies or groups about reducing package tour prices because of the rapes.
Kathy Gerhardt, a spokeswoman for Travel Leaders, a network of independently owned and operated travel agencies in the U.S., said events in Acapulco barely registers on U.S. tourists’ radar anymore. ‘‘Those individuals trying to lump Acapulco into the list of top Mexico destinations U.S. travelers visit are misinformed. It has been decades since it was a hot tourist destination; today it is more of a destination for Mexican nationals rather than U.S. tourists.’’
In the group’s recent survey of over 1,000 travel agency owner, managers and agents, ‘‘not a single individual chose Acapulco as a top international destination they are booking for their clients,’’ Gerhardt wrote in an email, adding ‘‘we do not see any ‘spillover effect'’’ for areas like Cancun, which Travel Leaders lists as the number-two foreign destination for U.S. travelers, after Caribbean island cruises.
Gallego said it’s important for Mexican authorities to make arrests soon to prove that they can punish those responsible. Garzon, the state prosecutor, said ‘‘we have strong evidence to lead us to those responsible for this reprehensible act.’’
Acapulco is the granddaddy of Mexican resorts. Elizabeth Taylor was married there, John F. and Jackie Kennedy came on their honeymoon, and Howard Hughes spent his later years hiding out in a suite at the Princess Hotel, a pyramid-shaped icon in the exclusive Punta Diamante, or Diamond Point, zone.
Beheadings and drug gang shootouts, some on the city’s main seaside boulevard, became more frequent after 2006, as gangs fought for control of the city’s drug and extortion business.
Associated Press Writers Beth Harpaz and Alan Clendenning contrbuted to this report.