On August 22, the US State Department issued a travel warning for Mexico. The report warned US citizens that “gun battles between rival criminal organizations or with Mexican authorities have taken place on streets and in public places during broad daylight”. There are also many kinds of kidnapping, homicides, robberies happening. Most Mexican destinations are to be impacted by the warning.
The warning was issued for almost all states except Campeche, Hidalgo, Mexico City, Puebla, Tabasco, Tlaxcala and Yucatan. Thus, 23 of 31 states are now on the US “black list”.
Mexico is traditionally a very risky, but still popular travel destination. However, this year, there has been a particularly high increase in homicides. Between June and July, the number declined, but the country is still set for their deadliest year in the last two decades.
More than 11 thousand murders were registered in the first five months of the year. There have been 300 homicides in Baja California Sur so far in 2017, which is a 300% increase compared to last year. Quintana Roo registered a 117% increase. This state alone draws 10 million tourists per year, as reported by Bloomberg.
For years some Mexican destinations and states have been featured on the “warning list” of the US State Department. The reason for this are constant drug-related clashes and violence. But there is some suspicion over the current warnings. Some Mexicans are convinced that the timing of this is no coincidence, as there are currently ongoing talks between the US, Mexico and Canada about the NAFTA trade agreement.
It is true that incidents have occurred near to tourist areas. However, the attacks are seemingly not directed at visitors. Last year, 35 million foreigners visited Mexico. US visitors increased by 12% and made up about 60% of people arriving in Mexico by air traffic.
However, Mexico is still working to address the crime and violence within the country, according to Enrique de la Madrid. He also added that the US warning was an impulse for improvement. “We Mexicans cannot afford to have tourism, one of the most dynamic sectors of the economy, slow down,” he said to El Universal. Moreover, de la Madrid said that it would be appropriate for Mexico to be less dependent on US tourists. He insists that “we should set a goal in the short-term that Americans don’t represent more than 50% of visits”.