Violent crime is on the rise in the tourism hot spots of Cancun, Playa del Carmen and Tulum, jeopardizing a $20 billion-a-year business that attracts millions of American visitors.
USA Today reports that violent crime is encroaching on the Mexican tourism hot spots of Cancun, Playa del Carmen and Tulum, jeopardizing a $20 billion-a-year business that attracts millions of visitors lured by the white sand beaches, archaeological ruins and pulsing nightlife. Although the crime wave so far is mostly limited to areas outside the resorts where tourists stay, Cancun shows signs of following the ill-fated path of Acapulco. That city was once the granddaddy of Mexican tourist destinations, but now is one of country’s deadliest areas and no longer a mecca for international travelers.
Crime and violence between rival drug gangs has surged throughout Mexico, creeping into other popular destinations, such as Los Cabos on the southern tip of the Baja Peninsula. Homicides there are up 400 percent so far this year, underscored by the discovery of 14 bodies in a mass grave in June. The spike in violence comes as Mexico welcomed a record 35 million foreign visitors in 2016, up nearly 9 percent from the previous year. Tourism officials acknowledge the problems plaguing tourist towns: low wages, inadequate housing for workers and increased crime. Quintana Roo state, where Cancun is located, recorded 133 murders in the first six months of 2017, more than double the total for all of last year.