With more than two million Canadians visiting Mexico annually, travel insurers and other travel professionals need to warn their clients of increasing violence (due mostly to drug cartel activity) in the highly popular tourist area in and surrounding Cancun.
More than half of all Canadian visits to Mexico are made to Cancun, and Mexico is Canadians’ second-most-visited country, next to the US. So far this year, 113 people have been killed in the Cancun area.
The most recent spate of violence occurred in early April, when 14 murders (all considered drug-trade-related) occurred within 36 hours—generating headlines in newspapers around the world.
Though Mexican authorities have explained that most of these deaths were confined to individuals involved in the growing drug cartel wars, there have been some innocent bystanders killed or wounded; and armed military guards have since been stationed at key points throughout the area to safeguard tourist resorts and their patrons.
Neither the Canadian government travel advisory service nor the US State Department have warned tourists to avoid travel to the Cancun area, although the US has raised the Alert Level to 2—a modest warning to stay vigilant, avoid travel at night, and stay within the confines of your selected resort. Tourism officials (and Canadian government alerts) have been quick to clarify that none of these activities have targeted tourists. Consequently, there have been no warnings to “Avoid essential travel” or “Avoid all travel” to these areas.
But travel insurers need to explain to all Mexico-bound customers that If such warnings are raised for their destinations (as they have been for many other areas of Mexico, including all the northern border states and much of the Pacific coast including Acapulco), benefit coverage under their travel policies might be limited. And if they are already at their destination and a sudden government-issued travel alert is raised for their area, travellers need to evacuate or risk curtailment of some of their insurance benefits.
One general rule of thumb applicable to any visitors to Mexico is to remain vigilant, avoid road travel between destinations, avoid night-time travel, and stay within the parameters of your resort area. And always keep track of the government travel warnings for your destination.
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