Thursday, 25 May 2017

MEXICO: Troubles In Mexico Tourism

For a country that generates roughly 10% of its GDP from tourism, mostly from Americans, Mexico's surging violent crime rates, courtesy of its notoriously brutal drug cartels, is quickly becoming a 'yuge' economic issue. As we recently noted, more Americans have been killed while traveling abroad in Mexico than any other country, by a staggering margin, no less.

And while Mexico would love to shake it's bad rap when it comes to violence, the negative datapoints just continue to pile up. The latest such data comes courtesy of Mexico's car insurance association Amis, which found that auto thefts spiked in March 2017 by over 20% and current stand at multi-year highs.

In March, the number of auto thefts rose 21 percent from the same month a year earlier, according to numbers from the car insurance association known as Amis. Meanwhile, the recovery rate -- the percentage of stolen cars that police were able to recover -- dropped to its lowest since at least 2005.

The car-theft trend “will continue throughout the second quarter which will, in turn, have an impact on first-half returns," Francisco Uriostegui, an analyst at Moody’s who helped write the report, said in an interview. “In the end, it’s the customer that will have to pay more, for a higher premium and it’ll be due to a drop in the recovery rate for these vehicles."

And while auto thefts may not seem all that threatening, it is just another datapoint that suggests an alarming trend in overall violence in a country that already leads the U.S. State Department's ranking for most travel warnings.

Oddly enough, no amount of State Department warnings have yet caused Americans to curb their appetite for those cheap Cabo vacations.

A lone shooter fired on a crowd at a nightclub in Playa del Carmen, site of the BPM electronic music festival in Mexico early Monday, leaving at least five people dead and at least a dozen more injured, according to a statement released by festival organizers. Local news reports suggest that the shooting came after a 'disagreement' and is connected to ongoing drug cartel wars in the area.

The rampage occurred inside the Blue Parrot nighclub in Playa del Carmen at about 2:30 a.m. local time, according to a statement by the attorney general of the Mexican state of Quintana Roo.

Playa del Carmen is a popular tourist destination not far from Cancun. Among the dead are four men and a woman. Two of those who died were part of a security team, the statement said. According to preliminary reports, three of the dead are foreigners.

According to the Mail, London-based promoter Elrow was hosting a closing 'This Is The End' party at the Blue Parrot when the shooting occurred, and it is believed that many attendees at the event were British and American tourists.

Tourists at the scene have revealed the chaos that ensued during the shooting, and how many initially believed that they heard fireworks or music - not gunshots.

The government of the Caribbean coast state of Quintana Roo, where Playa del Carmen is located, said four men were shot to death and one woman died in a fall during the confusion and stampede that ensued. An additional 15 people were wounded, and one of them was in very serious condition.

It is with great sadness to share that police have confirmed reports of a lone shooter outside the Blue Parrot nightclub in Playa Del Carmen earlier today, which resulted in four fatalities and twelve injured.

The violence began on 12th street in front of the club and three members of the BPM security team were among those whose lives were lost while trying to protect patrons inside the venue. a statement early Monday by the BPM festival said.

The BPM Festival is an annual 10-day electronic music festival started in 2008. This year, it was scheduled to last from Jan. 6 to Jan. 15. The shooting occurred on the last night of festivities.

The Blue Parrot is one of the venues at the 10-day festival in Playa del Carmen, a tourist destination that has largely been spared the violence that has hit other parts of Mexico. Several festivalgoers took to Twitter to post videos and document the attack as it unfolded.

The shooting occurred inside and not from the beach, which is where the nightclub opens up to.

Rodolfo Del Angel, director of police in the state of Quintana Roo, said that the shooting was the result of 'a disagreement between people inside' the nightclub and said security guards had come under fire when they tried to contain the dispute.

'For the moment we have indications that one person opened fire,' Mayor Torres added. She said the shooting appeared to have taken place inside the club, causing people to flee in panic. Other witnesses said it happened outside the club.

Hector Escardo Steck, from Los Angeles, California, told MailOnline that the club was full when the gunman attacked.

He said: 'It was awful, the club was completely full and at around 2am we heard ten successive gunshots and people immediately hit the floor. Just after that the music stopped and everyone started running in a panic.

'There is a tall fence between the club and the beach and everyone started trying to climb over that. A lot of people got hurt in the attempt top club over, because people were panicking and trying to get away. It was terrifying.

'I was at the back of the club, so I didn't see anyone get shot, but 20 minutes later in the streets I saw a lot of dead bodies being guarded by police officers. People were running everywhere, jumping, punching, running. 'The party had been going since noon, and everyone in the club was either drunk or on drugs, and there was a lot of confusion. 'In Playa del Carmen you see drugs in quantities that you have never seen before, and everyone is drugged up so it was a very confusing experience that no one was expecting. People were very angry and confused, but mainly angry.'

Local news reports suggest that the incident is connected to ongoing drug cartel wars in the area, and the gunman is believed to still be at large.

Partier George de Menezes said that he and his friends were just two meters from the gunman when the shooting occurred.

He said: 'No one took it seriously, but I knew straight away that it was a gun and dropped to the floor, then everyone dropped with me. 'The music stopped and so did the shots, so we got up and one man was down on the floor and looked dead, and another man had been shot but was trying to stay on his feet.' De Menezes said that people in the club tried to escape by running to the beach, but shots kept being fired

'Finally got out from there and got up to the Main Street and there was another man dead on the street, so everyone started running for their lives,' he said. The reveler said that he and friends heard more shots when they finally got back to their hotel.

Los Angeles resident Jake Lubelski wrote on Facebook that he was 20 feet away from the gunman when the shooting took place. 'I was standing outside of a club on an insanely crowded street when it happened; I was maybe 20 feet away from the shooter,' he wrote. 'As soon as I heard gun shots, everyone started bolting and we nearly got trampled by the frantic herds of people.

'As soon as I turned around the corner and got a look at the scene, I saw a man lying on the floor in his own blood. it could have been me.'

Scottish DJ Jackmaster issued a warning on Twitter saying, 'Stay in your f*****g hotels' following the shooting. The DJ, whose real name is Jack Revill, tweeted about the incident just after 3am local time.

'Someone has come into the club in Playa Del Carmen and opened fire. 4-5 dead and many wounded. Stay in ur f****n hotel if you're here at BPM,' he wrote. 'Apparently now more shots fired at another club in the area.'

A worker at CostaMed hospital in Playa del Carmen said that a man and a woman were admitted to the hospital at 3.39am local time.

A second shooting was reported at the club The Jungle, where another BPM closing party featuring John Acquaviva, Stacey Pullen and David Berrie was taking place. Videos on Instagram show people running through the streets of Playa Del Carmen following the shooting.

Images shared on social media showed people cowering or running down the street.

Mexican police have confirmed the mass shooting but have not given motive for the gunfire. They have not reported any arrests.

'We are seeking information from emergency services in Mexico, following reports of a shooting in Playa del Carmen,' a Foreign Office spokesman said. Neither US nor Canadian officials could immediately confirm if any of their citizens were among the victims in the shooting.