D.C Conference Was Designed To Reinstall Faith In The Mexican Caribbean Despite Recent Violence
A recent meeting between Mexican And United States diplomats sought to ease concerns regarding tourist safety in the Mexican Caribbean. The meeting came in light of multiple security warnings issued by the US government to its citizens.
Representing Mexico was Secretary of Tourism, Torruco Marques, who traveled to Washington, D.C to meet with Ambassador Rene Bitter. Bitter, who functions as an undersecretary for consular affairs in the Department of State, is one of those responsible for designating security and travel advisories for specific countries.
Marques was accompanied by representatives of the tourist boards for both Quintana Roo and Cabo- the United States’ most popular destinations in Mexico.
The main goal of the meeting was to discuss the detail in which the United States delivers its travel advisories. In the past year, Mexico as a whole, but most importantly Quintana Roo, has seen a drastic uptick in violence related to organized crime. Cancun and Tulum have found themselves at the center of a vicious turf war between multiple gangs, resulting in several high-profile instances of violence.
Currently, the state of Quintana Roo’s travel advisory states “Exercise Increased Caution Due To Crime”. It then goes on to explain that –
“Criminal activity and violence may occur in any location, at any time, including in popular tourist destinations. Travelers should maintain a high level of situational awareness, avoid areas where illicit activities occur, and promptly depart from potentially dangerous situations.
While not directed at tourists, shootings between rival gangs have killed or injured innocent bystanders. Additionally, U.S. citizens have been the victims of both non-violent and violent crimes in tourist and non-tourist areas.”
The representatives from the tourist department of Mexico are asking the US State Department to be thorough with their designations and the specificity with which it explains the decisions. Although it is true that violence has risen considerably in the past year, tourists do remain overwhelmingly safe in almost all circumstances.
The point was stressed that these events typically happen far from the presence of tourists, posing little or no threat to the millions of American visitors every year. Additionally, a comprehensive safety and security plan was handed over to the American representatives for them to analyze and use in their own decision-making process.
It is a concern that the broader descriptions of the violence in Quintana may put many tourists off from traveling to the region out of fear for their safety. Millions of Americans have areas visited the state this year, but the numbers could increase further if the American government was able to give more specific warnings about the destination.
The government has put many new safeguards in place to help secure Cancun and beyond. National Guard soldiers now patrol the main beach spots and hotel zones and the police have increased access to security cameras and systems in the same zones allowing responses to be much quicker in the event of an emergency.
Drug use continues to fuel the violence in the region, and the biggest difference can be made by the tourists themselves. Visitors making sensible decisions to avoid drugs and enjoy their vacation in a safe manner will help secure Quintana Roo’s future in the long run.
Multiple schemes are in place to remind tourists of the consequences of being found in possession of drugs, including jail time and even death. As controversial and worrying as the campaigns were for many people, their message was important. Many view Mexico as a country where one can do anything with no legal consequences, disregarding the laws already in place.
Travelers heading to Quintana Roo should continue to behave responsibly and be part of the broader effort to safeguard the state for others.
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