Ambassador Praises Quintana Roo’s Security Efforts At Conference
The American Ambassador for Mexico, Kenneth Lee Salazar, made several statements proclaiming that Cancun is extremely safe for tourists. His comments come in the wake of several high-profile incidents that have seen Cancun and the state as a whole’s safety questioned.
His statements were made at a conference between the governors of Southeast Mexico, which he was also taking part in. Speaking of US tourists’ travel inclinations, he said, “Cancun is a safe place. If I did not have an official position as Ambassador, I would like to be in Cancun here with my family because it is a divine place, a safe place.”
He went on to compliment the wealth of attractions, saying “there are many windows of opportunity. The biggest windows for tourism are history, the sea, the jungle, an almost magical place and a unique place in the world. Yes, more tourists come. Let more travelers come from the United States.”
His words come as a helpful boost for Cancun, considering that the US and Canada just last month placed a travel advisory on the region. Although it was not a ban, only a warning, it was a public declaration to the international community and all American citizens that the government didn’t have faith in the security situation in the region.
The advisory was announced shortly after a string of violent incidents connected with organized crime shocked the region. Two men had been shot in broad daylight at the Hotel Xcaret resort in this particular case. Both men were high-level members of a Canadian-Vietnamese crime syndicate. One of the men was wanted by the Canadian government for laundering millions of dollars and smuggling weapons and drugs.
The event drew global headlines and painted Quintana Roo in a poor light, feeding a narrative to potential tourists that their lives may be at risk while visiting. The reality is far from the truth. Despite an uptick in gang-related violence, including some genuinely tragic events that have directly impacted tourists, visitors to the region are incredibly safe. In fact, according to some recent statistics, Cancun is safer than some other travel destination giants like Paris and Las Vegas.
Stopping organized crime entirely is a complicated problem and one that will take years to achieve, if ever. Regardless of how unlikely it is to affect them, tourists can be justifiably concerned by shocking events in seemingly safe places like hotels and restaurants. Just last week, two more men were shot dead in a popular beach restaurant in Tulum.
The government has been taking steps to help reduce the effects of organized crime in the region, although the tourist industry believes more needs to be done. The new branch of the national guard named the Tourist Security Battalion began making regular patrols of the major tourist spots in November. The soldiers are regularly seen making the rounds on famous beaches and near the main bar streets.
Their presence is intended to discourage any violence between gangs. Some statistics have suggested the program is successful, but of course, when shootings occur, tourists may struggle to look at the bigger picture.
With that said, tourist numbers look good and seem relatively unaffected by the violence. The Easter period is approaching and cities like Playa del Carmen are approaching 100% capacity. The recent removal of most COVID restrictions is also likely to help Cancun and other towns. The possibility of trip disruption during Quintana Roo’s time in the yellow and orange zones did lead to some cancellations and delays.
But with those out of the way and the rest of the world moving towards some semblance of normality once again, Cancun can set its sights on holding onto its spot at the top of the world’s most popular destinations. The statements from the Ambassador can only help trust in the region and may contribute to some extra tourists in the coming weeks who were on the fence.
Those intending to travel to Cancun soon should keep on top of any possible changes to restrictions both in Mexico and in their home country.
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