Mexican Government officials have unveiled new plans to deploy troops to several of the country’s significant Maya attractions as part of its commitment to protecting tourists. The move is part of a wider effort to bolster security, especially in tourist hotspots, as millions of travelers flock to the Mexican Caribbean in search of sun, beach, and a glimpse of ancient Maya history.
According to a recent announcement by officials from the Mexican Government, more troops will soon be deployed across several Maya ruins. The decision is part of the National Development Plan and the Integral Strategy for the Protection of Cultural Heritage. The troops will mainly be deployed from the National Guard, a specialized paramilitary body that was created in 2019 to fight crime in the country.
The troops will mainly patrol the Chichén Itzá archeological site in Yucatán, one of the most important remnants of the Maya civilization in the Mexican Caribbean. The UNESCO World Heritage Site receives hundreds of thousands of visitors yearly, mainly tourists, and is one of the top attractions in the state of Yucatán. Authorities want to bolster security in the region and prevent organized crime from tarnishing its stellar reputation, and so far, the government has shown a great willingness to send more troops.
In a statement published by the national government, the operation’s main goal is to prevent and deter any type of illicit actions and to guarantee the safety of national and international visitors. Officials will also be paying close attention to protecting the inventory of ancient artifacts, which are valued in the millions, and are a valuable target for organized crime groups.
Visitors headed to the Maya site can expect to notice a greater presence of law enforcement personnel, who will mainly patrol and oversee the ruins. The new security strategy foresees several measures, including controlling access points and public roads in the vicinity of the archeological site, as well as conducting security checks in parking areas.
The National Guard will also closely cooperate with other law enforcement bodies, such as local and state police, as well as the army. Meanwhile, the National Institute for Anthropology and History (INAH) is working closely with relevant authorities to train them on protecting the area’s national historical and cultural legacy.
Authorities from the national and state government have announced fresh troop deployments several times this year. Over the summer, thousands of law enforcement personnel were ordered to patrol tourist hotspots, including Cancun, Playa del Carmen, as well as Tulum, to deter criminals. The operation was largely successful, as millions of tourists flocked safely to the Mexican Caribbean over the summer.
As winter approaches, officials are closely monitoring the safety and security of the millions of travelers coming in from North America. Although the Mexican Caribbean is a safe destination, petty crime remains an issue across many touristy areas, including Cancun. On previous occasions, authorities have advised visitors to follow important safety-related tips, such as avoiding walking alone at night.
Meanwhile, the Mexican Caribbean state of Quintana Roo is currently under a level 2 travel advisory according to the U.S Department of State. This means that whilst overall safe, travelers in the area should exercise increased precaution. The travel advisory also states that whilst rare, kidnappings and violent crime are possible and that organized crime remains a pressing issue.
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