Spring break means party time. Spring breakers: numbers are down.

Cancún violence stirs worries over tourism

Spring break visitor numbers expected to be down this year

Increasing violence in Cancún is leading to increased worry in the tourist industry, which is currently seeing a decline in the number of spring break visitors.


Security specialists say local police need better training and that the situation needs to be brought under control quickly.

One police officer was executed and three others wounded in two separate incidents on Tuesday in the latest outbreak of violence in Cancún.

Orlando Camacho of México SOS, an organization that specializes in justice and security issues, stressed the need for immediate action.

“What we are saying is that it’s necessary to act now, immediately, because the feuding between gangs can carry on multiplying and becoming more complicated, as has been seen in other parts of the country.”

He said hotel owners have met with México SOS and are very worried.

María Elena Morera of another non-governmental organization, Causa en Común, or Common Cause, says the outbreak of violence is not isolated and urged strengthening local police forces and implementing more intelligence efforts.


“Certainly fewer tourists are going to come to [Quintana Roo],” she said, but pointed out that security measures also worsen the perception. “. . . students arrive and see soldiers everywhere; this doesn’t leave a good impression either.”

Those students are traveling to the state for spring break, but their numbers are down, say hoteliers. Cancún hotels association president Carlos Gosselin Maurel said 40,000 visited the city in 2016 but he expects they won’t even see 30,000 this year.

He estimated the number of Canadian “spring breakers” is down 40% due to violence in the city. They are traveling instead to the Dominican Republic and other Caribbean desintations, Gosselin said.

The majority of spring break tourists come from the U.S. Last year they represented about 85% of the total, while Canadians numbered some 8%.

Gosselin noted that those who travel despite the threat of violence must deal with the threat of extortion once they arrive. He said he has heard of more than a dozen cases of spring break visitors being victims of extortion or bribery, with demands that they pay between US $50 and $100.

Spring break is a mixed blessing for many tourism operators. Many don’t like the market because it brings a low economic return while being a hotbed of drug and alcohol sales.

Source: Reforma (sp), El Financiero (sp)

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  • Ed Zactley

    Time to pull their collective head out of the sand and do something about it before it’s too late. On the other hand, I think a drastic reduction in the number of tourists would be a blessing for those that live in the area and especially, the environment.

    • Güerito

      “I think a drastic reduction in the number of tourists would be a blessing for those that live in the area.”

      Really? Do you have polling data on that??..

    • Güerito

      Those with their heads in the sand have been those denying the increasing wave of violence in MX.

      Good luck telling those losing their jobs in tourism that it’s a blessing for “the environment.”

  • Kimberly Fleitz

    Mexico is the shit. (T-shirt symbol). What’s happened is that the shit has hit the fan. There is not respect, love or carino in this country anymore. I have lived here for 33 years and am very sorry that the communities have changed so much.

    • collegeboy2007


    • Hailey Mannering

      Sorry that you´re painting all of Mexico with the same brush, I certainly think there are still good places in Mexico. Lonely Planet rates Merida as one of the top 10 communities to visit in 2017. 7,000 people a month are moving to Merida. What makes you think there´s no love or respect here in Yucatan state now?

      • SickofLiberalbs9999

        You’re relying on tourist publications to tell you the truth about Mexican violence and corruption?
        No wonder you’re clueless. Get out of your bubble and see reality for the majority of Mexicans.

        • Hailey Mannering

          You´re making more false statements ! I don´t get my info from tourist guides ! I´ve lived in Yucatan state for years and not in a gated community, nor moving around by private vehicle. I mention the Forbes and Lonely Planet assuming people will understand that they´re not going to recommend unsafe cities or states. If you don´t believe what I say, you´re free to check online. Why not ask people who know Merida and Yucatan state before claiming it´s unsafe? You´re clearly not credible nor polite.

      • Pesobill

        Hailey must be in real estate to be this delusional…

        • Paul Beith

          It is true that most of Yucatan Peninsula remains safe. I´ve lived here for years. Just the other day CNNMoney rated Merida, (largest city in the Yucatan) as the best city to retire in during 2017 ! Merida is also rated near the top by Lonely Planet, International Living and other sources. There has never been a Travel Advisory against visiting Merida nor anywhere in Yucatan state. Anyone can check this online. Pesobill is saying malicious untruths about the Yucatan and should be considered a troll.

        • csb4546

          Or she’s President of the local tourism board.

        • Dave Earle

          I’m not in the Yucatan or Baja. I’ve lived in Chapala/Ajijic, Jalisco for over 10 years. I go into Guadalajara at least once a week. I have not noticed any deterioration.
          The only problems I see is the foreigner growth of the Chapala/Ajijic area and traffic in Guadalajara. I have no intentions of leaving.

    • Pesobill

      Hilarious and yes it is mierda ..Agree,

  • MortimerSnerd

    As a Canadian traveling by a car with Canadian license plates, we were hassled at a number of check stops by cops and in Chiapas on MEX199 we were attacked by 5 armed banditos dressed black and wearing balaclavas. We barely escaped by reversing at high speed and risking gunfire in the process. At a military checkpoint they seemed ambivalent when we reported the incident, so we reported to a security guard at a Pemex station who took notes and phoned the police in our presence. In that area you never know who you can trust. In a post on here 8 months ago, it was reported that a bus was attacked in the same area, 50km from San Cristobal de Las Casas on Mex199, and the security guard noted that highway banditry had been an ongoing problem. Do not drive that route up to Cancun or Pelanque… you are at extreme risk of being attacked.

    • Güerito

      But Ed Zactley, above, is not concerned about that. He says:

      “a drastic reduction in the number of tourists would be a blessing for those that live in the area and especially, the environment.”


      • MortimerSnerd

        Guerto, when we were in Cancun, there were killings in Playa Del Carmen over who got to sell drugs at a popular event, a number of nationals including a Canadian were gunned down, we were to understand that extortion of local businesses is rampant in Playa del Carmen, and the high prices charged for just about everything reflected that…one popular club has completely shut down due to the risk of violence. While we were in Cancun there was a gunfight not 2km from where we were staying in the Hotel Zone, where more were killed… the details are foggy but the violence was certainly drug related. Prices in Cancun are sky high anyway.. and NEVER use an ATM on the street… only at the premises of a major bank such as Banamex or Bancomer because there may be Bluetooth data skimmers implanted into the street machines by dishonest maintenance workers.

        • Güerito

          MS, I’m very grateful I’ve never been to Cancún or anywhere on the Yucatan Peninsula coast. On your next trip to Mexico (if you dare) you should try a non-tourist location.

          • Hailey Mannering

            I´ve spent numerous years near the Yucatan peninsula coast. The only unsafe places I´ve heard of there are Cancun and perhaps Playa del Carmen. Yucatan state is often rated as the safest in Mexico. Merida, Yucatan was rated the 3rd best place in the world to visit by Forbe´s. Merida´s considered the safest major city in US or Mexico. Everyone here goes on daytrips or to the beach in Yucatan state. By the way, why do you say #if you dare” about going to Mexico? I´m much safer in Yucatan state than I would be in almost any US state.

          • SickofLiberalbs9999

            Just because you’re fortunate enough to have found a safe “bubble” to enjoy, don’t be fooled.
            Robbery and kidnapping are the highest levels of any developed country in the world.
            And after you’ve been victimized for the first time, you’ll likely change your tune.

          • Hailey Mannering

            When you say I live in a “bubble” that´s a false statement ! I know from living here 10 years that the only unsafe areas in the Yucatan peninsula are Cancun, plus maybe Playa del Carmen and Ciudad del Carmen.

          • SickofLiberalbs9999

            What I mean is that between your gated community, and the region of Mexico where you live, so far you have not been exposed to a lot of the security concerns many Mexican residents are experiencing. So I hope your “bubble” of safety continues.

            But many areas of Mexico that were safe in the past have suddenly become high risk zones.
            Today’s popular “safe” locales for tourism, retirement, and security could be next year’s battle zones. Sad, but true.

            Look what happened to Acapulco just in the last 5 years.

          • SickofLiberalbs9999

            You sound like a stereotypical rich extranjero living in a gated Mexican community who says “what violence”? You, mam, with all due respect, are completely CLUELESS as you live in a country rapidly moving toward a complete collapse of the rule of law, anarchy, and chaos.

            And eventually the extranjero paradises you describe will be TARGETED by the bad guys.
            Enjoy your current secure Mexican life experience – there’s no way it lasts.
            I’m sorry, sometimes the truth hurts.

          • Hailey Mannering

            I am not by any means rich, I don´t live in a wealthy, gated community, I travel about Merida freely at any hour – almost always on foot or bus. Statements that Yucatan state, including Merida are incorrect, period ! Merida is not an extranjero paradise : it´s a major Mexican city, where a few thousand foreigners have moved in recent decades. If you think you can predict the future, that´s another story !

          • SickofLiberalbs9999

            Maybe I should move to Merida immediately. Sounds too good to be true.

          • Paul Beith

            It´s easy enough to check online with locals – almost none of whom live in gated communities. You could check Yolisto dot com

          • Pesobill

            It is , been there done that..

          • Pesobill

            Pure BS.. The crime numbers are vastly under reported . Mexico’s murder rate is more than 3 times the USA.. Enjoy your Mayan kool aid.. ,

          • Paul Beith

            Pesobill, the comment was on the Yucatan Peninsula, not all of Mexico ! I´ve lived here numerous years and know that it is true that most of Yucatan Peninsula is very safe ! That´s why the largest city, Merida, is rated so highly by Forbes, CNNMoney, International Living, Lonely Planet, ec. If you don´t believe me, ask locals online.

          • David L. Allison

            You know not whereof you speak. Sorry to say, but you sound like a person enmeshed in Fox news and the bullshit US right wing haters.

          • SickofLiberalbs9999

            Your next trip top Mexico should be – NO TRIP TO MEXICO.

        • Mike Marsh

          I was an ATM skimmer victim at A Santander Bank across from Walmart.

          • Hailey Mannering

            Thanks for the report, but which Walmart?

        • SickofLiberalbs9999

          Your story is so commonplace now.

          The big question is:
          Why would ANYONE go to Mexico in the current environment?
          The country, in many locations and states, is near anarchy.

          And while you were visiting Mexico, did you notice the citizens marching in the streets to protest the violence and government corruption? No? I didn’t think so.

          But I’ll bet you saw and heard a lot about Donald Trump, right?
          Trump is the best friend of Mexican politicians.
          He distracts the Mexican population from the corruption and violence of their own country.

    • SickofLiberalbs9999

      “In that area you never know who you can trust.”

      Sorry, my friend, there is NO AREA of Mexico where you can trust ANY security official, police, army, …………….

      Your biggest mistake was the Canadian license plates – that’s an invitation to victimize you.

      Your best bet is to never go to Mexico again – or wait until after the next Mexican revolution.

  • gypsyken

    See the comment regarding proposed “reforms” to Mexico’s “justice” system that I posted to the article on inmate abuse.

  • David M. Costa

    Let’s not forget that there is crime in every major city. Crime statistics in the United States, with the right to bear arms, are staggering. Police shootings and mass shootings happen every day in the States. That doesn’t prevent people from wanting to travel to the U.S. for vacation.

    Mexico is an amazing country, but you need to use common sense. Quintana Roo also has a lot of amazing areas besides Cancun that people can enjoy that don’t have the big city problems like Cancun.

    I agree that more should be done, and in fact, more has been done. There were only 50 federal police in QROO before the incidents this year and now there are over 500. That is a big improvement, and Federal police have a higher standard of training than municipal police.

    A shooting in Boston, Chicago, New York, Los Angeles, New Orleans, happens and no one blinks an eye.

    No one wants these problems to get out of control to the point where it ruins it for people to enjoy. There is no other industry in Quintana Roo, really, besides tourism.

    Maybe parents that pay for their college kids to go on a vacation for spring break won’t buy them tickets for Cancun this year, but is that really a bad thing?

    Spring break brings alcohol and drug abuse, the type of activity that attracts drug dealers. We really don’t need that kind of clientele here.

    I am confident that Mexico will protect this amazing resource. There is so much money being invested here that they have no choice but to act.

    Security specialists earn their dollars when people perceive a situation to be unsafe. Create a need and people will contract your services. There are other sides to the story. Just like every other news outlet, Mexico News Daily is printing what people will read, the negative stories that people like to gossip about it.

    Mexico is not perfect, nor is any country. I think people need to stop worrying and just enjoy life. Less news equals greater happiness.

    • SickofLiberalbs9999

      Yes, Mexico News Daily is printing what people want to read – and we see DAILY stories of violence and corruption. That’s because there are so many stories of corruption and violence to choose from.

      But how many thousands of stories of violence and corruption around Mexico are happening every day with NO media coverage?

      I don’t thnik we’re getting a distorted, exaggerated, or overly negative perspective from MND’s coverage.
      The reality is actually FAR worse.

      • Pesobill

        I have lived in Mexico for years and left , I have traveled it extensively for 30 years and have many friends there . Mexico and it’s rising crime is a very serious and real situation and it is quickly becoming much worse . Anybody who claims it is safer there than the USA is delusional .I lived in a small gringo beach community of 5k people and in 1 year there was 4 murders . Nowhere have I lived in the states that had anything like that . I feel sorry for some of my friends in Los Cabos where multiple murders are happening daily and they can’t sell their over valued real estate because there are few buyers and people are scared .Mexico is a beautiful country and it was safe 20 plus years ago but now ,not worth the risk ..

      • DeplorableVI

        Mexico has always been a corrupt, violent, 3rd world hell hole. Our Hollywood culture commandos use to present Mexico as dangerous forever. The gold of sierra mirada and the Frito Bandito who would hit American children over the head and steal their Frito Lays. There’s tons of old videos on you tube from a less PC era. I don’t know when liberals declared Mexico safe but I never did thought it was and I’ve been there many times. Just wait until the cruise lines stop going there.

        • David L. Allison

          Very sick puppies are terrified by the ‘others’ who are not white nationalist Republicans.

  • WestCoastHwy

    Only Hillbillies shoot themselves in the foot!

  • SickofLiberalbs9999

    It’s complete nonsense to compare the security situation in the US to Mexico.
    America has REAL police you can call upon for help with crime, criminals, threats, and security.
    Mexico? Don’t make me laugh. Who calls the cops in Mexico? Nobody – they know it’s a waste of time.

    “No one wants these problems to get out of control” ??????????
    I don’t know what bubble you live in, but these problems are already out of control.
    Take a ride on a rural highway in Mexico and see how long it takes before you are robbed, kidnapped, or murdered.

    As a parent, I wouldn’t let my kids near Mexico without an armed security detachment – of about a thousand guards.

  • Hailey Mannering

    Before discounting all of Mexico as a place to visit or live, I strongly suggest checking online with foreigners who live in various parts of Mexico you might be interested in. For Merida and Yucatan state, a good source is Yolisto dot com. I am concerned at false statements, mainly by rude people, who seem to hate Mexico. If they hate Mexico, I wonder why they live here or post here? If they don´t live here, why do they claim to know more than those of us who´ve lived here for years ?

    • rebecca

      Well said!! I have lived happily in Mexico (San Miguel de Allende) for 33 years. Love it despite the occasional issues you hear about (1000 times blown up with no real perspective – Trumpiteers and Mexico haters are are way worse than our reality). I would NEVER ‘dare” to live in the US these days. Crime is more pravalent there with so many haters on the loose.

      • csb4546

        “occasional issues you hear about”
        You have zero credibility after that ridiculous statement.
        Do you follow Mexican News? “Occasional issues”? Wow.
        Consider yourself lucky – but don’t lecture others in Mexico whose security is collapsing rapidly.

      • ben

        yes an old person like me is worse than a drug cartel. worse than the rapist the mugger & isis. thank you for your steller intellect.

  • Hailey Mannering

    To read about reality in Merida and Yucatan state, view US and Canadian government travel advisories. There have never been advisories against travelling there. On Facebook, there is “I love Merida” and “Merida Amigos”. There are some posters on here who aren´t to be taken seriously. One has lived in Mexico 15 years, but thought the “states” were called counties. If the trolls keep on, I think they´ll destroy this discussion board.

  • Paul Beith

    Thanks for sharing the truth ! I´m delighted that SMA is still a wonderful place !

  • obot

    You’re delusional from using too much of the Cartel’s products. I know plenty of people from Mexico who have family still living there. Their family tell them not to go down there because it is too dangerous.