According to statistics from the governor of Quintana Roo, less than .1% of tourists in Cancun are affected by security issues during their vacations.
In an interview with Travel Pulse, Governor Maria Lezama said that the exact percentage of tourists affected by the state’s insecurity is 0.000002%.
“The dirty war against tourist destinations does not affect the government, they affect the citizens of the place we live,” said Governor Lezama.
In response to the United States Department of State issuing a travel advisory urging U.S. citizens to exercise increased caution in Quintana Roo, Governor Lezama defended her state. She decried the advisory as part of a “dirty war” against tourism in the Mexican Caribbean.
The advisory issued by the United States says that “U.S. citizens should exercise increased caution in the downtown areas of popular spring break locations, including Cancun, Playa Del Carmen, and Tulum, especially after dark.”
The Uptick In Violence In Quintana Roo
There has been a wave of high-profile criminal attacks across Mexico and the state of Quintana Roo in recent months.
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Most recently, the city of Tulum, located south of Cancun in Quintana Roo, had to release an advisory in response to safety concerns in the area.
According to the advisory, visitors and citizens have been isolated from the violence and turf wars taking place in the city.
In Cancun itself, a recent shooting resulted in four bodies being found near a popular tourist strip. Tourists reported hearing the gunshots from the beach.
This shooting took place only weeks after an American was shot in the leg in a nearby city.
Law Enforcement Response
Government and law enforcement officials have taken action in response to recent violence and in preparation for large-scale tourism ahead of the Easter holidays.
Governor Lezama is spearheading a security operation that will bring together 5,000 police and military personnel to maintain order during periods of high tourism.
Law enforcement intends to maintain high visibility in areas frequented by tourists, such as beaches, restaurants, and commercial plazas.
In recent months, security camera monitoring has been developed in the region. This expansion will be put to the test as the Mexican Caribbean’s C5 security complex hopes to track crime as it happens.
Additionally, Mexican authorities will set up vehicle checkpoints and random security checks for the holidays.
Despite the headlines, tourists continue to flock to Cancun and other tourist destinations in Quintana Roo.
Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador recently celebrated American tourism in Cancun in light of the travel advisory issued by the state department. Despite the advisory, “Cancun is full of Americans,” he says.
Like Governor Lezama, President López Obrador was not a fan of the U.S. travel advisory against Quintana Roo. He claims that when it comes to security, the reality in Mexico is different from the picture painted by the United States, saying that his government does “not accept when foreign legislators say that you cannot visit Mexico.”
Jack Ezon, the co-founder of the Embark Beyond travel agency, shares the same outlook as President López Obrador and Governor Lezama.
Ezon said that he has not seen Americans canceling their bookings in response to the negative headlines and applauded tourists for “overcoming sensationalism.”
David Grigoryan, an American tourist in Cancun at the time of the shooting resulting in 4 deaths, had a different experience.
Since he had visited Cancun so often, David says that he “was never one who really cared” about the travel warnings. However, he says that “seeing it happen… literally feet in front of you, kind of makes you rethink a little bit.”
Nevertheless, government and industry officials remind travelers that very few tourists in the Maya Riviera experience any sort of violence or crime during their stay.
Despite the uptick in crime, Quintana Roo is still considered to be under a level 2 advisory from the Department of State, putting destinations like Cancun and Tulum on par with France and The United Kingdom in terms of safety.
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