Hotel Association Want More Than Is Currently Being Offered To Help With The Situation
The Hotel Association of Cancun, Puerto Morelos, and Isla Mujeres is requesting added protection in the wake of yet another fatal shooting in Quintana Roo. The organization publicly stated the current systems in place are not doing enough.
The incident sparking the request was last Saturday’s shooting at the popular Tulum restaurant, Art Beach Restaurant. Several armed men stormed into the premises and unloaded a reported twenty shots, killing two men and injuring at least one other. The two men appeared to be targeted, and the possible but unverified discovery of drugs at the scene suggests they were rival drug traffickers.
The President of the Hotel Association, Jesus Almaguer Salazar, openly spoke of the hoteliers’ desires to have the Navy provide further support for the vacation spots.
Speaking of the soldiers currently patrolling the region, he said “there are never enough, and especially with the issue that occurred in Tulum, we have to make this request. I am sure my colleagues from other tourist destinations around the Riviera Maya have already done it or will be doing it. But for our part, we are asking the Secretary of Tourism to support us.”
The recent events in Tulum are not an isolated incident for Quintana Roo. In the past months, there has been an uptick in violence related to organized crime. To be specific, there has been an uptick in the violence that is directly affecting tourists to the area.
Mexico as a whole has long fought a public image battle as to whether it is safe for tourists. The presence of organized crime has persisted over the past decades but for the most part, tourists have been generally unaffected. But several high-profile incidents in the past year have drawn fresh criticism, particularly directed at Cancun and the rest of the state.
The most tragic case also occurred in Tulum last year, where gang members opened fire in a popular tourist restaurant, not unlike last weekend’s events. However, two tourists lost their lives in the shooting. They were never the intended target, but as rival gangs appear to be encroaching on certain areas within the tourist sector, collateral damage is always a possibility.
The recent violence drew the attention of the FBI and DEA last month when another two men were assassinated in broad daylight in the Hotel Xcaret. The deceased men in this case were high-level criminals associated with a Canadian-Vietnamese crime syndicate.
Although tourists are statistically very unlikely to be harmed by any level of organized crime, the uneasy headlines justifiably spark concern in many potential tourists. Tulum itself is facing problems with investment and marketing opportunities both abroad and within Mexico amid safety concerns.
Tulum currently has a smaller allotment of the Tourist Security Battalion than Cancun, the brand new military force designed to help discourage any potential violence that may occur. As to whether the smaller number of soldiers is impacting the choices of organized criminals is pure speculation at this point, but the hotel association believes there must be some validity to it.
The soldiers are regularly seen patrolling the beaches and major hotspots, but the concept of having more near every establishment would seem unpractical and possibly even more worrying for tourists than anything else.
Solving the security issues facing Quintana Roo is a major goal for the region moving forward. As the rest of the world opens its doors, it needs to continue offering world-class experiences in a safe environment or risk losing some of its newfound markets.
Regardless of whether it’s statistically safer to be in Cancun than some other major tourist destinations, the threat of organized crime, however small, will continue to loom over potential visitors.
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