New travel warnings to Mexico

Frederick Owens
January 12, 2018

A travel warning has been issued by the U.S. State Department against traveling to certain Mexican states.

Violent crimes including homicides, kidnappings, carjackings and robberies are widespread, officials said.

The new advisories this week place the states - Sinaloa, Colima, Michoacan, Guerrero and Tamaulipas on the Texas border - on the same danger level as countries such as Afghanistan, Syria and Iraq.

The country as a whole had a "level 2" rating, which meant USA tourists or travelers should "exercise increased caution".

"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", the advisory read. There are no United States government restrictions for travel to tourist areas such as Cabo San Lucas and San Jose del Cabo.

A huge part of northern Mexico, including the border states of Coahuila, Chihuahua, Nuevo Leon and Sonora among others, was under level 3 warnings.

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The advisory delivered a stark reminder of the formerly ritzy seaside resort city Acapulco fall from grace.

Homicides skyrocketed in Colima in recent years due to the growth of the Jalisco New Generation drug cartel, and the state now has Mexico's highest homicide rate, with 83.3 killings per 100,000 residents, according to figures from the first 11 months of 2017.

In a statement, Mexico's Tourism Ministry noted that more than 28 of its most popular tourism destinations for worldwide travelers have no restrictions. "This exception to tourism destinations highlights the fact that the vast majority of crimes in Mexico do not occur in areas frequented by worldwide tourists", the board added. 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 advisory underscored the limitations that the USA government faces in providing emergency services in many areas of Mexico because US government employees are prohibited from traveling to those areas.

Earlier this week, Tourism Secretary Enrique De la Madrid said, "In my opinion, the most important challenge we have in the tourism sector are crime events occurring where they didn't before, for example in Cancun, la Paz and Los Cabos".

Other reports by LeisureTravelAid

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