Monday, 22 October, 2018

Five Mexican states get Unite States 'do not travel' warning

Tijuana Mexico. U.S.                      Justin Sullivan Tijuana Mexico. U.S. Justin Sullivan
Patty Aguilar | 11 January, 2018, 21:27

Mexico - long a destination for world-class museums, archeological sites and beach resorts - now has five states tagged with the US State Department's most severe travel warning.

"It's significant that the five tourist destinations that account for 80% of foreign tourist travel to Mexico (Cancún, Riviera Maya, Los Cabos, Puerto Vallarta-Riviera Nayarit and Mexico City) were not classified with restrictions for worldwide travelers by the State Department", the statement said.

"Violent crime, such as homicide, kidnapping, carjacking, and robbery, is widespread".

But five Mexican states - Sinaloa, Guerrero, Michoacan, Colima and Tamaulipas - were given the highest rating of "do not travel", the same designation applied to near-failed states plagued by terrorism and open warfare.

The State Department's travel warnings are often tricky a subject with the Mexican government, which is sensitive to any suggestion that its lucrative tourist areas are unsafe for USA travelers. "The U.S. government has limited ability to provide emergency services to U.S. citizens in many areas of Mexico as U.S. government employees are prohibited from travel to these areas".

But an additional 11 Mexican states got a level 3 warning Wednesday, which urges people to "reconsider travel" there. Mexico has 31 states, half of which are under level 3 or 4 warnings.

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Resort areas and tourist destinations are said to be generally safer, though the State Department notes that there are exceptions.

However, the resort towns of Acapulco and Iztapa-Zihuatanejo are located in Guerrero, which was designated a "do not travel" country.

The newly indicated no-travel states have for some time seen foreign tourist outflow.

Mexican Secretary of Tourism Enrique de la Madrid Cordero told Newsweek that USA tourists feel safe in Mexico, despite State Department report findings that 264 Americans died there in 2016, of which 75 were related to homicide. However, despite the cartel activities, Los Cabos saw 16 percent increase in tourism arrivals and an 18 percent rise in hotel occupancy in 2017, reports said, citing Rodrigo Esponda, managing director of the Los Cabos Tourism Board.

The state is believed to be under the control of Jalisco New Generation, the former armed wing of El Chapo's Sinaloa cartel that splintered off when he was jailed, though the two gangs are fighting for control.

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