U.S. issues travel warning to 5 Mexican states


A travel warning has been issued by the U.S. State Department against traveling to certain Mexican states.

Overall, the State Department placed Mexico at the second of its four-stage travel advisory levels.

The five include the northern border state of Tamaulipas and the Pacific coast states of Sinaloa, Colima, Michoacan and Guerrero. But on Wednesday, an additional 11 states got a level-3 rating, placing half of the North American country under level-3 or 4 warnings.

With its 31 states, Mexico as a whole has a level-2 rating, which means people travelling to the country should be aware of heightened risks to safety and security. The list also included Mexico's most populous state - the State of Mexico - which also had most suburbs of Mexico City and Jalisco, the Puerto Vallarta resorts and the lakeside expat community of Chapala and Ajijic. Personal travel by land and to the resort city of Acapulco had already been prohibited.

In a statement, Mexico's Tourism Ministry noted that more than 28 of its most popular tourism destinations for global travelers have no restrictions.

Turf wars between rival drug cartels have torn apart Tamaulipas, and Sinaloa is home to the cartel of the same name.

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Clashes between rival drug gangs contributed to a record number of murders in Mexico past year, according to official data, dealing a fresh blow to President Enrique Pena Nieto's pledge to bring gang violence under control with presidential elections due in July 2018, the report said.

"The U.S. Department of State today confirmed that major global tourism destinations in Mexico are safe", the Mexico Tourism Board said in a statement issued Wednesday.

The State Department already recommends that travelers use "increased caution" when in Mexico because of widespread crime, such as kidnapping, homicide, carjacking and robbery, USA Today reported.

The MTB said the new system is an improvement based on its organization and simplicity, and noted that the State Department "confirmed that major global tourist destinations in Mexico are safe" and have no travel restrictions.

Earlier this week, Tourism Secretary Enrique De la Madrid said, "In my opinion, the most important challenge we have in the tourism sector are crime events occurring where they didn't before, for example in Cancun, la Paz and Los Cabos".

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