De la Madrid speaks with Carlos Marín of Milenio TV. De la Madrid speaks with Carlos Marín of Milenio TV.

Security program for tourism destinations

Upsurge in violence brings new initiative, but business, citizens must help pay

Rising insecurity is the only thing that could slow down the growth of Mexico’s ascendant tourism industry, said Tourism Secretary Enrique de la Madrid this week while announcing a plan to address rising violence in three destinations.


The Secretariat of Tourism (Sectur) will roll out trial security programs over the next three weeks in Los Cabos, Cancún and Acapulco, all destinations that have been affected by recent upsurges in violent crime.

“They are the destinations that concern us most at the moment because of the impact they have on [Mexico’s] image abroad as insecurity is a very sensitive matter for tourism,” de la Madrid told the media organization Milenio.

But the government will not fund the initiative on its own.

In coordination with the Secretariat of the Interior (Segob), Sectur will deploy new tourism police for the program but is seeking the participation of the business community, state and municipal governments as well as citizens who live in the tourist regions to help pay for it.

De la Madrid stressed that the government would not be able to fund the program on its own.

“It’s going to require resources and business owners are going to have to provide them but in exchange for that, governments have to be more open, transparent, inclusive and allow the business world, through already existing citizen councils, to oversee that commitments are met.”


De la Madrid also emphasized that the rule of law and political institutions need to be strengthened to combat the worrying crime levels.

The Tourism Secretary suggested that modifications to the penal system — that enable criminals found in possession of military-style weapons to escape preventative custody or to be subsequently released from custody due to lawyers’ objections related to violations of due process — have contributed to the rise of violence.

That issue needs to be addressed as it also contributes to crime that affects Mexico’s tourist destinations, he insisted.

Still, Sectur estimates that income from tourism will increase by around 11% this year, adding a further US $2 billion to the $21 billion economic spillover brought in by tourism in 2017.

De la Madrid — considered likely to follow in the footsteps of his father, Miguel de la Madrid, and seek nomination as a presidential candidate — stated that approximately nine million Mexicans are employed either directly or indirectly by the tourism industry and 35 million foreign visitors came to Mexico last year.

However, the industry remains heavily dependent on domestic tourism.

Of every peso spent in the tourism sector, de la Madrid says 85 centavos are spent by Mexicans.

Mexico recently overtook Turkey to become the world’s eighth most popular tourist destination and is just 600,000 annual visitors behind seventh-placed United Kingdom.

Source: Milenio (sp) 

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  • Stylez

    Mexico is losing control of their tourist destinations at a very fast pace. I doubt they will keep it or get it back.

    • alance

      The cartels are using extortion to sell protection to businesses and now the government wants in on the action.

  • John Milonas

    What about protecting the Mexican people.

    • Stylez

      They have average extortionists that will protect them.

  • mikegre

    I think the idea of the Mexican Tourism Secretary to give AR-15s and bullet proof vests to all arriving tourists is brilliant.

  • Güerito

    In his comments on the new reforms to the criminal justice system, he’s basically saying Mexico is incapable of handling a system with due process rights and the presumption of innocence.

    Kinda like saying: this is why Mexico can’t have nice things.

  • Güerito

    You know things are getting bad when the Tourism Secretary is proposing public security programs.

  • Carolien van Santvoord

    Please give me a break….There is no money for security and business owners have to contribute in order to provide more security? With all the taxes hotel owners are paying every month/ the 3 % hospitality tax…? Incredible, you can also exaggerate it….

  • Bob Jones

    The cartels are paying off government officials. Now they ask us to pay them too? Sweet job.

  • Expat in MX

    Goodbye tourism…goodbye economy…the last safe havens were Cancun & Playa Del Carmen, but that’s quickly coming to an end. Just take a look at the number of shootings/murders in the Riviera Maya this year. It’s not as bad as the west coast, but it is exponentially worse than it’s ever been in Cancun & PDC. It’s just a matter of time before tourism comes to a complete stop – in ALL of MX. Very sad.

  • softunderbelly

    Does THIS de la Madrid even show up to his job? Talk about
    adding to the family coffers. I guess he thinks it’ll be his turn
    at the trough. Papi got his, I’ll get mine.

  • Geoffrey Rogg

    This is a public not a private sector responsibility. When government cleans up its own act the privater sector would be more collaborative but until then “no way José”. “Drain the Swamp” in Mexico as well where hereditary Presidencies should be rejected as in the USA.

  • William February

    My wife and I have been to the Yucatan Peninsula for holiday12 times over the last 8 years but after reading about the escalating crime occurring in this area during the last year we will not be returning

  • Rob Mellors

    What a sad state of affairs. Self destructive, self imploding and in certain cases a question of “Biting the hand that feeds you”!

  • djr4nger

    Brilliant. Add another corrupt, unaccountable layer of bureaucracy into the mix to ‘protect tourism’? The poor people of MX are getting fleeced enough from the gangs and their government with nothing to show but escalating violence and bloodshed. I love Mexico and plan to travel there again this fall, but I’m beginning to think I might need to find a safer alternative in the future. I’m afraid things will get much uglier before they improve.

  • Terri Lane

    Cancun is on the verge of being lost, just as Alcapulco, Puerta Vallarta and other west coast towns. The violence continues, and it seems that most of the local police have disappeared. When (unfortunately not if) the cartels have destroyed all of the local businesses, all will be lost. As I have witnessed all of this in the last several years (most especially in the last 9 months), it has become quite apparent that the hotel zone will not be protected. The last safe tourist places (Cancun, Cozumel, Isla Mujeres, Playa and south) are no longer safe and unfortunately it will be the downfall of Mexico. Truly heartbreaking. 🙁