State Department Confirms Mexican Tourism Safety

State Department Rolls Out New Travel Advisory Program

State Department Rolls Out New Travel Advisory Program

The United States Department on Wednesday issued a travel advisory where it warned tourists to completely avoid five Mexican states - due to increasing crime and gang activity.

"Members of these groups frequently maintain roadblocks and may use violence towards travelers", the advice added.

"We have been insisting that the alert be removed, it is not new, it is three, four years ago, but it has not been achieved by what the state of Guerrero means, not Acapulco alone, which has its problems a metropolis of a million inhabitants", Valezquez said.

The State Department had earlier asked the U.S. citizens to not travel to all or part of those states, but this time the warnings are stricter as they have been placed on a level 4 - the same category given to war-torn Somalia, Afghanistan and Syria due to greater likelihood of life-threatening risks.

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Violent crimes including homicides, kidnappings, carjackings and robberies are widespread, officials said.

Overall, the State Department gave Mexico a category 2 classification, meaning that U.S. citizens should "exercise increased caution", according to the Times.

Do not display signs of wealth, such as wearing expensive watches or jewelry.

Finally, the advisory suggested having a contingency plan for an emergency situation. Mexico as a whole was given a "level-two" rating considering the rising violence which claimed 22,409 lives in 11 months. This figure is higher than during any year since the government began publishing crime statistics in 1997. Between January and November, there were 62 homicides per 100,000 residents in Baja California Sur, where Los Cabos is located.

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However, US authorities made a decision to maintain a category 2 rating for Los Cabos.

"According to the rating granted to the main entities of the Mexican Republic, the 28 most popular tourist destinations among domestic and foreign travelers did not receive any restriction to be visited for reasons of pleasure or business", Sectur said.

The latest advisory threatens to further hurt Mexican tourism, a $20 billion industry accounting for about 7% of the country's GDP.

"I'm very respectful of what the State Department has to do. what I'm saying is those numbers aren't necessarily to be considered for tourism purposes because they're describing (a different) situation", he told The Dallas Morning News.

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