September 27, 2023
Mexico-bound snowbirds face stern journey warning from authorities

Canadians heading to Mexico for the upcoming spring break can count on continued warnings from their authorities to “train a excessive diploma of warning” within the southern trip hotspot due to “excessive ranges of prison exercise and kidnapping.”

The alarming Canadian journey advisory was issued after the January arrest of Ovidio Guzmán-López, the son of the infamous former drug cartel chief Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán. And it resonates after the excessive profile and now bloody kidnapping of 4 Individuals within the metropolis of Matamoros.

Whereas the Canadian authorities has had journey advisories in place for Canadians travelling to numerous areas of Mexico for a number of years, current occasions have escalated the scenario.

“Prison teams and drug cartels are current in vacationer areas. Inter-gang and cartel combating has taken place in eating places, inns and nightclubs frequented by vacationers,” states the Authorities of Canada journey web site.

Mexico stays a well-liked vacationer vacation spot for Individuals and Canadians, particularly in the course of the winter.

Brooke Simmons, a licensed journey agent with Centrum Journey in Ottawa, mentioned demand for holidays to Mexico stays excessive regardless of the dangers.

“That is one of the best 12 months we have now ever had. Journey this 12 months is insane, and we have now not seen something prefer it”, mentioned Simmons.

The Canadian authorities’s journey advisory web site as of March 3 urged “a excessive diploma of warning” when visiting Mexico due to “prison exercise and kidnapping.” [Screen shot images via]

In response to the Authorities of Canada, regardless of the COVID-19 pandemic, the abroad nation most visited by Canadians in 2022 was Mexico with greater than 1.8 million guests.

“Canada continues to be Mexico’s second greatest supply nation for guests after the USA,” mentioned the federal government web site.

Patricia Fortier is a retired Canadian diplomat who acted because the assistant deputy minister for Safety, Consular, and Emergency Administration with International Affairs Canada — the federal division that oversees international relations.

“Our journey advisory for Mexico is extra particular than many different journey advisories to different nations as a result of hundreds of thousands of Canadians go to Mexico,” mentioned Fortier.

The U.S. Division of State issued its personal up to date journey advisory on Oct. 5, 2022, however no additional advisory was posted on the location after the Jan. 5 arrest of Guzmán-López. The American journey advisory advises U.S. residents to not journey to the next areas in Mexico: Colima state, Guerrero, Michoacan, Sinaloa, Tamaulipas, and Zacatecas.

A map of the U.S. journey advisory for areas in Mexico.

The Canadian journey advisory, in the meantime, warns travellers to keep away from non-essential journey to a broader swath of Mexico, together with Chihuahua, Colima, Coahuila, Durango, Guerrero, Guanajuato, Michoacán, Morelos, Nayarit, Nuevo León (besides the town of Monterrey), Sinaloa (besides the town of Mazatlán), Sonora, Tamaulipas and Zacatecas.

A map of the Canadian journey advisory for vacationers to Mexico.

“The U.S. journey advisory has quite a lot of specificity about the place to go and about the place U.S. workers ought to go,” Fortier defined. “Canadians don’t make a distinction between workers and common Canadian residents.”

Simmons mentioned the Canadian authorities’s recommendation is predicated on the next diploma of transparency.

“I believe we have now the next customary of what we name for security,” she mentioned. “We be sure that every little thing is out within the open and that we’re not hiding something from anybody.”

‘Crime and such can occur wherever. You possibly can go downtown Ottawa, and one thing may occur.’

— Brooke Simmons, journey agent, Ottawa

Regardless of the Canadian authorities’s try and hold residents knowledgeable concerning the Mexico journey advisory, some vacationers had been unaware of the warning till lately.

Samantha Savage, an articling pupil, mentioned she had not heard of the heightened journey warning. Savage travelled to Mexico’s Mayan Riviera for the primary time final April.

Nonetheless, she added: “I’ve seen articles on the rise of violence in Mexico and Canadians trapped at inns within the nation.”

In response to the Authorities of Canada, “kidnappers in Mexico goal all lessons; nonetheless Canadian residents and contractors of Canadian companies have been kidnapped in areas that aren’t below police management.”

Savage mentioned she will not be shocked concerning the stronger journey advisory contemplating the escalation of violence in sure areas in Mexico.

“Nonetheless, since the latest advisory solely asks Canadians to keep away from non-essential journey by specific areas — and none of which look like within the Mayan Riviera or Cancun area — I doubt it’s going to deter many Canadians from persevering with to journey to Mexico,” she added.

The federal government’s web site additionally states that in case you are kidnapped, “adjust to the abductors’ requests” and “don’t try to withstand.”

Simmons, unfazed by the warnings, mentioned that “crime and such can occur wherever. You possibly can go downtown Ottawa, and one thing may occur.”

Jose Roberto Islas Telich, who heads the tourism promotion part on the Mexican Embassy in Ottawa, mentioned the nation’s diplomats are conscious of Canada’s warnings to its residents about travelling in Mexico.

With the March 13-17 spring break approaching, Fortier recommends that anybody pondering of visiting Mexico ought to look carefully on the journey advisories issued by Canadian officers.