New Warnings Arrive In Wake Of Xcaret Shooting Last Week
It should be made clear that this is only an advisory and not a ban of any sort.
The advisory was posted onto the US Embassy and Consulate for Mexico’s website and offers some general advice for those still intending to travel to the region. Although it does not specifically mention the most recent events, there is little room for doubt that last week’s bout of violence was the precursor for the decision.
The advisory states:
“ In light of recent security incidents and criminal activity in popular tourist destinations including Cancun, Playa Del Carmen, and Tulum, U.S. citizens are reminded to exercise increased caution when traveling to the state of Quintana Roo. Criminal activity and violence may occur throughout the state, including areas frequented by U.S. citizen visitors.”
The announcement offers the following advice for those who are intending to travel to Cancun or the greater Quintana Roo region.
- Monitor the local news for updates, follow directions from local officials, and in case of emergency, call 911.
- Avoid crowds.
- Be aware of your surroundings.
- Review your personal security plans.
- Contact the U.S. Consulate or Embassy if you need assistance.
Quintana Roo has suffered from a string of violent attacks in the past months. The vast majority have been related to organized crime and haven’t directly impacted tourists, but the apparent encroachment upon tourists hotspots is proving to be a worrying concept for the US.
The most high-profile incident saw the tragic death of two tourists in Tulum who were caught in the crossfire between criminal gangs. Two women, one American resident and one German were the victims in this case. Just weeks later, beachgoers in Cancun were witness to the assassination of two men in broad daylight.
The Mexican government went as far as installing a “Tourist Security Battalion” in November. The National Guard branch was deployed around Quintana Roo to deter any possible gang violence that may have occurred in the region. Their presence has been generally welcomed by tourists.
Last week’s events grabbed headlines across the globe for several reasons. In the infancy of the reporting, it appeared that two tourists had been killed in the safety of a high-end resort in the middle of the day. Developments in the case revealed that both of the deceased were involved in high-end global criminal organizations, turning it into an assassination case.
The severity of the killing was highlighted by the subsequent involvement of the Canadian and US government. One of the deceased was a wanted criminal in Canada with a $50,000 reward offered to anyone who could help lead the authorities to his arrest. He was accused of laundering millions of dollars in drug money throughout the US and Canada.
Canadian authorities have already announced they will be investigating the individual’s presence in the country.
Several people have already been arrested for the murders, one being a Canadian citizen, and another supposedly being accused of providing a firearm to the killer.
The news will be a blow for Quintana Roo. The state’s tourist industry has weathered COVID, gang violence, and is struggling through an orange designation on the country’s epidemiological traffic light system.
Visitor numbers have remained steady and 2021 catapulted them to the center of global tourism. Numbers showed no signs of dropping after other violent incidents, and even with increased restrictions revelers are still flooding in. Whether an official advisory has any genuine impact on tourism remains to be seen, but potential visitors appear to be looking at the violence in a larger context – tourists are generally not being hurt unless involved in drugs while there.
The bigger obstacle going forward will most likely be the worrying possibility of a red designation which could see businesses like restaurants close for everything but take-away and delivery.
Those intending to travel to Cancun or the greater Quintana Roo region are strongly advised to keep on top of any possible changes to restrictions, as well as increased infection rates. Contacting accommodations before traveling is always a good idea.
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