New waves of violence could end tourism in Mexico

Destinations such as Cancun and Playa del Carmen could go through the same situation in Acapulco, where violence ended with their tourism industry.

Mexico's tourist destinations reach historic levels of violence. Image: Liberal del Sur
Mexico's tourist destinations reach historic levels of violence. Image: Liberal del Sur

"We were at the reception when a family arrived with the receptionists to tell them that they wanted to cancel everything and leave the resort. The five children had witnessed the attack. Some still did not finish vomiting of fright. Nobody from the staff understood at first what they were saying," said a British tourist, regarding the events that occurred on June 3 on the beach that borders the Gran Bahia Principe Hotel in Tulum, Mexico, one of the most touristic places in the world. the Mayan Riviera, when a shooting was recorded in which a lifeguard was injured.

But this is not isolated and much less unusual in Mexico, where the current crisis of violence caused by drug trafficking activity. Only in the first two months of 2019, around 6 thousand murders were registered throughout the country, in what would be the beginning of the year, the bloodiest in its history.

In Quintana Roo, the number of intentional homicides doubled, from the 359 cases that occurred in 2017 to the 763 incidents in 2018, which would be an increase of 112%, as reported by the Executive Secretariat of the National Public Security System (SNSP).

According to the National Traffic Light, Quintana Roo is one of five states, wherein 2019 the number of homicides per year has increased alarmingly, as well as other serious crimes. The State's Attorney General, Óscar Montes de Oca, said that during the first months of the year, there were about 60 murders per month.

This wave of violence has strongly affected the tourist industry, from the administration of the now ex-president, Enrique Peña Nieto, which has left consequences as a decrease of 2% in the number of foreign visitors who arrived in Cancun, the tourist destination most important in the country, this being the first time in 7 years that its visitor rate has decreased.

"There is a slowdown that has manifested since the first quarter of 2018," said Miguel Torruco Márquez, Tourism Secretary.

According to the World Tourism Organization, Turkey has surpassed Mexico in the ranking of the countries that receive the most tourists worldwide, when the American nation went from sixth to seventh place in the list.

The main example of the effects of violence on tourism activity is the case of Acapulco, which for many years was the country's main holiday destination until its own wave of violence destroyed the industry.

With 110 murders per 100,000 inhabitants, it is the second most violent city in the world, according to the 2019 classification of the Citizen Council for Public Safety.

In the period between 2012 and 2017, Acapulco lost 63% of foreign tourism. This trend has been maintained in other tourist sites such as Huatulco, Merida, Tapachula, and Villahermosa, as indicated by the reports of Aeropuertos del Sureste (Asur).

Even Playa del Carmen, famous for being a focus of national and international tourism, has reached the 13th place in the most violent municipalities, with 99 murders that took place between October 2018 and March 2019.

These high levels of violence are caused by the activity of drug trafficking and organized crime in the country, which has reached spaces that many believed untouchable, such as virgin beaches, luxury hotels, golf courses, among others.

90% of the murders registered in these regions are "adjustments of accounts" of the narco, whose activities range from arms and drug trafficking to kidnapping, collection of floor and even human trafficking.

In an interview with the former Secretary of Tourism, Enrique de la Madrid, he expressed his disappointment at the perception of insecurity and how it has affected tourism, as it ensures that the crime situation in the country is "very different" from what happened. in luxury hotels to which visitors come, however, events such as last Monday, seem to point out the opposite.

By Mexicanist Source: Agencies

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