A campaign has been launched in Quintana Roo to reduce drug use in tourist destinations famous for their party cultures, in which visitors will have to sign a letter acknowledging their understanding of drug laws.
The Sé Parte de la Solución (Be Part of the Solution) campaign is being promoted to tourists in airports, marine terminals and hotels in an effort to combat the drug trade.
Government spokesperson Fernando Mora Guillén said tourists will have to sign a letter of commitment at their hotels. “It’s expected that hotels in Cancún, the Riviera Maya and other destinations will submit a letter of commitment in which guests state that they know possessing and trafficking drugs is a crime,” he said.
Mora added that the strategy of showing powerful images on posters was recommended by U.S. Ambassador Ken Salazar.
The campaign will run indefinitely and be communicated in English, Spanish, French and German.
Governor Carlos Joaquín said that the campaign was about protecting tourists. “Motivated by the next tourist high season, we are promoting the campaign in collaboration with business people to warn tourists about the risks and consequences of consuming drugs during their stay in Quintana Roo,” he said.
Some 12 million tourists visit Quintana Roo every year, but violence threatens the reputation of the state long seen as a safe destination. Agents from the Quintana Roo Attorney General’s Office have arrested six people for the murder of four men in Playa del Carmen. Those men are also being investigated for kidnapping and murder of 13 people.
In late January, two Canadians with criminal histories were shot dead in Xcaret Hotel near Playa del Carmen. The U.S. government then issued a security alert for Quintana Roo, shortly before a beach club manager was shot dead in Playa del Carmen.
In October, gunfire left two tourists dead in Tulum and another incident saw two drug dealers shot and killed on a beach in Puerto Morelos in November.
In March, an English businessman was shot dead in front of his 14-year-old daughter in Playa del Carmen.
A range of international criminal groups are known to be present in the state and the increase in violence triggered the deployment in December of a new tourism security battalion of the National Guard.
The U.S. government launched an FBI investigation into criminal activity in Quintana Roo in February.