Nine of the deaths took place April 4, making it one of the bloodiest days in Cancun’s history, according to Noticaribe, a news organization based in Quintana Roo. The site reports that 16 people have been killed in Cancun so far this month.
“Tourism is an extremely important industry for us. It has increased at approximately 10 percent per year for the last four to five years and that means that for Mexico and for the Mexican government it’s extremely important to exercise all cautionary measures,” Gonzalez Gutierrez said.
Experts have attributed the increasing crime to drug cartels generally, as well as specifically the United States’ opioid crisis and looser marijuana laws are spurring gangs to shift from growing marijuana to producing heroin, according to USA Today.
But Mexico’s tourism officials have emphasized that such statistics are “not related to incidents that directly affected foreign visitors” to places such as Cancun. The U.S. State Department also has recognized that many “homicides appeared to be targeted, criminal organization assassinations.”
But “turf battles between criminal gangs have resulted in violent crime in areas frequented by U.S. citizens,” and “shooting incidents injuring or killing bystanders have occurred.”
The U.S. government issued a travel advisory earlier this year for several popular tourist spots in Mexico, including Cancun — which is known as the spring break capital of the country. The advisory said Americans should “exercise increased caution” because of widespread violent crimes such as homicides, kidnappings and carjackings.