Thu, 20 Sep 2018
San Diego

U.S. warns citizens against visiting Mexican resort town

By Sheetal Sukhija, San Diego News
09 Mar 2018, 12:33 GMT+10

MEXICO CITY, Mexico - After receiving what the U.S. is calling a ‘security threat’ regarding the Mexican resort town Playa del Carmen, the country issued a travel warning to its citizens.

However, in doing so, it locked horns with Mexican officials, who immediately retorted back, claiming there the famous Caribbean resort city of Playa del Carmen was safe. 

The U.S. government said that Playa del Carmen, which is near Mexico’s most popular tourist destinations like Cancun, Cozumel and Tulum wasn’t safe to visit.

Following the threat warning, the U.S. Embassy said that it had prohibited U.S. government employees from going there.

However, the U.S. has not specified the exact nature of the threat, but the U.S. Embassy said that the U.S. consular agency there “will be closed until further notice.”

The warnings from the U.S. have come after two incidents involving bombs on ferries in the region.

In February, a bomb exploded on a ferry that runs between Playa del Carmen and Cozumel, injuring 25 people, including two Americans.

A week later, an unexploded ordinance was found on a Barcos Caribe ferry in Cozumel, Mexico.

U.S. State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert said in a statement, “We take our obligation to provide information to U.S. citizens seriously as evidenced by the clear, timely, and reliable safety and security information we release worldwide.”

Nauert added that the agency will provide "important updates when information becomes available."

She added that both the closure of the consular agency and the restrictions on personnel travel are in place "until further notice.”

Nauert also said, “In Mexico alone, we’ve issued a number of recent security alerts as soon as we received information that travellers should know. We encourage travellers to be aware of surroundings and exercise caution.”

Further, following the two incidents, Princess Cruises, which sails to Cozumel, sent out a warning to passengers as well.

It said in a statement last week, "As the safety and security of our guests and crew is our highest priority, our security department remains in close contact with government and private sources as well as our local agents and tour operators and continues to monitor the situation.”

Both incidents continue to remain under investigation.

Mexican officials, however, said, that the Caribbean resort city was safe, with the government of the Caribbean coast state of Quintana Roo saying that the Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto was scheduled to attend an ocean conservation conference in Playa del Carmen on Thursday.

The state government also wrote in a statement, “All tourism and economic activity in Playa del Carmen continues in a normal manner.”

The statement further noted that hotel occupancy at the resort was 80 percent and added, “We do not know why the U.S. government decided to emit this alert.”

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