State Department slaps 5 Mexican states with 'do not travel' advisory

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The U.S. State Department increased the risk factor with new travel warnings for Americans in Mexico Wednesday.

Under the State Department travel advisory system, every country in the world has a ranking from 1 to 4: Level 4 being "do not travel" and level 1 "exercise normal precautions".

The new advisories this week place the states - Sinaloa, Colima, Michoacan, Guerrero and Tamaulipas on the Texas border - on the same danger level as countries such as Afghanistan, Syria and Iraq.

Mexico as a whole was given a Category 2 rating, with citizens implored to "exercise increased caution".

However, the rate of homicide in Colima has seen a serious increase in recent years rising to Mexico's most risky states with 83.3 murders per 100,000 inhabitants last year due to the expansion of drug organizations such as the Jalisco Nueva Generacion Cartel.

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Reuters report indicates that at least a dozen politicians, officials and candidates for elected office have been killed in states in recent months, where there are struggles between criminal groups for the control of drug trafficking routes.

However, the State Department offers no warnings for popular tourist hotspots such as "Guadalajara, Puerto Vallarta, Chapala, and Ajijic".

The advisory delivered a stark reminder of the formerly ritzy seaside resort city Acapulco fall from grace.

But an additional 11 Mexican states got a level-three warning, "reconsider travel".

Rising levels of violence have not so far affected Los Cabos, which saw a 16 percent increase in tourism arrivals and an 18 percent rise in hotel occupancy in 2017, said Rodrigo Esponda, managing director of the Los Cabos Tourism Board.

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

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

"We are going to keep working very hard in 2018 to make sure that Los Cabos continues as a safe destination", Esponda said.

The state department warns that "in Guerrero state, armed groups operate independently of the government in many areas".

"I'm guessing they are breathing a sigh of relief", he said.

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