New US travel warning blocks five Mexican states

Published:  11 Jan at 6 PM
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Tagged: Travel Abroad
Expats living in Mexico are in fear after the latest US travel advisory placed five states in the same category as Yeman, Somalia and Syria.

The new warning designates Guerrero, Sinaloa, Michoacan, Colima and the US border state of Tamaulipas as Level 4 risk destinations, with 11 more states placed on Level 3 along with advice urging potential travellers to reconsider their plans. A Level 4 listing is the highest for potential danger to travellers and expat residents, and the entire country is rated at Level 2 with its recommendation for increased caution.

All five Level 4 states are known hotspots for drug cartels a well as for the hosting of trafficking routes and extensive drug crop cultivation. Level 3 regions include the State of Mexico including its capital, Mexico City, as well as the city of Guadalajara, the resort city of Puerta Vallarta and Chapala with its large expat community. Oddly, the travel advisory added that, for Chapala, Puerta Vallarta and Guadalajara there are no restrictions on temporary visits or even residency for US government employees.

Tourism and expats contribute much-needed revenue to the Mexican economy, although the Level 4 states have all but lost foreign tourism as a result of turf wars between rival drugs gangs. Travel to Mexico’s favourite resort city of Acapulco has been prohibited to US government personnel for some while, and Mexico’s tourism supremo told reporters this week he’s most concerned about the violence creeping into formerly safe visitor and expat destinations.

Despite the US travel warning, Mexico’s Tourism Board is still insisting all the country’s major international tourism hubs are free from any advisory travel restrictions. Its comment is being interpreted as applying to Huatulco, Puerta Vallarta, Cancun and other major resorts. The board's reassurance that tourism operators and local officials are concentrating on and investing in increased security in order to protect travellers may not be enough, especially for would-be expat retirees with Mexico high on their wish lists.
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