Tourism Cancun: Gang violence, murder, car jacking, poisoned food, sexual assault and armed police

Tourism Cancun:  Gang violence, murder, car jacking, poisoned food, sexual assault and armed police

Urgent travel Warnings against Mexican resort towns including Cancun and Riveria Maya are the latest attempt to urge tourists to think twice before traveling to Mexico. Police officers armed to their teeth are controlling the popular tourist beaches and resorts in Cancun and Riveria Maya, Mexico. Are they able to prevent the many cases of gang violence, shootings on beached, dodgy alcohol, mass food poisoning, sexual assaults, fake cops, bus robberies, carjackings, and kidnappings?

The situation has got so bad the US State Department and the British Foreign office put out a warning for Americans and British visitors.

Tourists are traveling into the middle of a violent gang war. They could be victims at any time. They could witness a shooting and they have to contend with potentially getting drugged with dodgy alcohol and robbed or even sexually assaulted. Even going to the cashpoint you need to have your wits about you as there are robbers around.



Mexico in particular the Cancun and Riveria Maya resorts are popular holiday destinations for both British and Americans.

Tour operators like TUI have been pushing them as “safe destinations” as Brits steer clear of countries like France due to the risk of terror attacks.  But with the new found popularity comes the dark underbelly and violence as gangs battle to control the lucrative tourist drugs trade.

The British Foreign Office has updated its travel advice pages to reflect this ongoing crime wave.

It states: “Crime and violence are serious problems in Mexico and the security situation can pose a risk for foreigners. You should only travel during daylight hours.”

A nightclub in Playa Del Carmen killed dozens in the resort of Cancun including a vendor on a tourist beach as shocked guests sunbathed.

Two people were also shot in a packed shopping center car park in September while a severed head was left on a busy street near a bank.

Over 129 killings have been registered in Quintana Roo province up until September including over 13 in one month.

The Director of Tourism for Cozumel and Riviera Maya tourist board said special operations have been in place since August, adding: “The presence of Federal and local forces is continuing. They focus on tourists zones and their presence is permanent.”

The latest advice also warns of robberies and assaults by unlicensed taxi drivers and also says “don’t leave food or drinks unattended in bars and restaurants. Travellers have been robbed or assaulted after being drugged“.

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They also suggest using ATMs in “daylight hours” due to the risk of attack and also warn of express kidnappings where victims are forced to withdraw cash from their credit cards to secure a partner’s release.

There have also been a spate of alleged sex attacks on tourists in the Riveria Maya resort linked to tainted alcohol as well as deaths.

The US Government has taken the unusual step of issuing a warning to travellers about dodgy booze and TripAdvisor also came under fire for removing posts where holidaymakers had referenced attacks in the resorts of Cancun and Riviera Maya.

Tourists also need to be wary of hailing an Uber taxi as local cab companies are involved in a campaign of intimidation with the ride app.

This has already seen drivers attacked and others run off the road and attacked with baseball bats

Author: Juergen T Steinmetz

Juergen Thomas Steinmetz has continuously worked in the travel and tourism industry since he was a teenager in Germany (1979), beginning as a travel agent up through today as a publisher of eTurboNews (eTN), one of the world’s most influential and most-read travel and tourism publications. He is also Chairman of ICTP. His experiences include working and collaborating with various national tourism offices and non-governmental organizations, as well as private and non-profit organizations, and in planning, implementing, and quality control of a range of travel and tourism-related activities and programs, including tourism policies and legislation. His major strengths include a vast knowledge of travel and tourism from the point of view of a successful private enterprise owner, superb networking skills, strong leadership, excellent communication skills, strong team player, attention to detail, dutiful respect for compliance in all regulated environments, and advisory skills in both political and non-political arenas with respect to tourism programs, policies, and legislation. He has a thorough knowledge of current industry practices and trends and is a computer and Internet junkie.

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