The government of Mexico is deploying over 6000 soldiers to Cancun on Easter weekend to help with the massive influx of tourists. Easter weekend in Cancun is expected to sell out completely and with a recent uptick in crime, the government is taking this step to keep tourists safe.
In the past six months, the state of Quintana Roo has been facing gang shootings that at times have pilled into the tourists zones of Cancun.. The majority of these crimes do not directly affect tourists but there have been a few incidents that have. For example, in November 2021, two gangs engaged in a shootout on a beach near Puerto Morelos, causing tourists at the Hyatt Ziva Riviera Cancún hotel to rush into the lobby and find shelter. While no tourists were killed it was a stark reminder that gun violence can break out even at resorts.
After a few isolated incidents happened in tourism areas, the state and federal government has taken strong action including the use of military soldiers.
For the government, it’s a difficult task to fortify these resorts and keep the feeling of a relaxing beach atmosphere at the same time. About a month ago, images began to surface of Military police walking down the beach as tourists sunbathed. This image encapsulated the balancing act that Mexico has to contend with.
A Multi Facetted Problem
Unfortunately, like most problems, there is no clear solution to the crime problem in tourist areas and in Mexico abroad. Óscar Montes de Oca is the prosecutor for the state of Quintana Roo, he stated: “Unfortunately people come to consume drugs and alcohol, They come to do things they wouldn’t do at home. This demand creates a supply and that generates all the conflict.” Basically what he’s saying is, the tourist themselves are creating the demand for drugs in resort areas, meaning the gangs are now operating in resort areas.
The government is also taking steps to mitigate this problem. Travelers who stay in hotels in Cancun and the surrounding area will now need to sign an acknowledgment form that they understand the drug laws of the country. The punishment for not following these laws can be really strict, including long prison sentences and fines.
Recently, authorities discovered massage and jet ski tents used for drug trafficking and dismantled those involved. These tents were, according to police statements, targeting tourists from the United States, Canada, and Germany.
At the moment, there is no spike in COVID cases in Cancun. Governor Carlos Joaquín reassured visitors that the Quintana Roo region will remain in the green zone during the following weeks and the strategies to guarantee visitors’ safety and clean the beaches have been successful. Cancun recently dropped its mandatory outdoor mask mandate, and, fortunately, good conditions are projected in the future. The country is basically back to its pre-pandemic norms.
Mexico currently has no covid restrictions for entry. Entering the country is a breeze, with no pre-departure covid test required. In fact, it’s one of a growing list of countries in the world without any covid related entry requirements.
It’s nice to see that the government is recognizing some of the problems that are beginning to creep into its tourism industry. More than recognition, they are taking actions that will change tourism in Mexico for the foreseeable future and make tourists feel safe on their beautiful beaches.
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