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Mexico tourism plummets in the face of cartel violence
Mexican tourism has suffered a big drop this year, and the cause appears to be rising cartel violence. Homicides, kidnappings, and other violent incidents at popular tourist destinations are causing many would-be visitors to stay away.
By Paul Pate
Feb 22, 2018

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WASHINGTON D.C. — Mexico's hotels are reporting a 10% drop in occupancy this year and 35,000 reservation cancellations, as tourism drops amid deepening fears over drug-related violence near tourist hotspots. Cancun, Los Cabos, and other locales have witnessed rising gun violence, grisly murders, and other crimes in the past year, and large numbers of would-be American visitors are staying away.

The U.S. State Department issued a travel warning about violence south of the border in August. Carlos Gosselin, head of the hotel association for Cancun and Puerto Morelos, said that group tourism "automatically" went down in August after it went out.

"U.S. citizens have been the victims of violent crimes, including homicide, kidnapping, carjacking, and robbery in various Mexican states," the warning stated.

Mexican authorities opened 31% more homicide investigations in the first six months of 2017 than they did in the first six months of last year. Homicides rose even in some areas that had long been presumed safe from cartel violence, such as Baja California Sur, Veracruz, and Mexico City.

Gunman opened fire at a Cancun nightclub in January and killed five people, including one U.S. citizen, Alajandra Vullanueva Ibarra of Denver, Colo. And in June, an ice cooler containing two severed heads turned up at a resort in Cabo San Lucas while a cooler with two mangled corpses appeared two days prior in Cabo. Police found six more dead bodies near the same two resorts in March.

Mexican tourismfrom the United States and elsewherehad been on a growth spurt. A Fox News report indicated 35 million international travelers to Mexico in 2016, a 9% increase from the year before.