The Mexico Tourism Board has expressed concerns with the Canadian government's latest update on Playa del Carmen, following a travel advisory issued by the U.S. in light of the Feb. 21 ferry explosion and the discovery of an explosive device on board a similar vessel on March 1.
The update - which reminds Canadians to "continue to exercise a high degree of caution" in the destination but has not advised against travel to the region - noted that the United States issued an alert on Wednesday. In the U.S. alert, American citizens were advised that information had been received about a security threat in the coastal resort town. U.S. government employees are currently not allowed to travel to the area until further notice.
In a statement to PAX, the Mexico Tourism Board questioned the Canadian government's approach, noting that "despite the recent, isolated incident on a ferry that is now closed, Playa del Carmen remains one of the safest destinations in the area.
"The recent Canadian Travel Advisory makes reference to a security message which includes a notice about the temporary closure of a U.S. Consulate office in Playa del Carmen and prohibits government employee travel, providing no facts or explanation to justify this position.
"These kinds of communications, which imply safety issues without any basis in fact, are counterproductive to the goal of informing and educating potential travelers to Mexico and we strongly disagree with both the approach and the contents of this security message."
According to reports, the Feb. 21 explosion, initially thought to be the result of malfunctioning equipment on the ferry, has since been determined to be the result of an explosive device. Twenty-five victims, including three Canadians, were injured in the explosion and treated in hospital for minor cuts, according to local authorities.
A second explosive device was found on another ferry, which was docked 450 metres from shore and not in service at the time the device was discovered. Mexican navy divers removed the device and turned it over to the country’s defense department for analysis.
Some cruise lines have cancelled excursions for customers that involved ferries in the area.