Minnesota travel agencies aren't expecting big changes after five states in Mexico received the sternest “do-not-travel” advisories under a revamped U.S. State Department system unveiled this week, putting them on the same level as countries like Syria, Yemen and Somalia.
The five states are Tamaulipas on the U.S. border and Sinaloa, Colima, Michoacan and Guerrero on the Pacific coast. All are hot spots of drug cartel activity, hosting trafficking routes or drug cultivation.
The State Department had previously discouraged travel to all or part of those states but the new warnings are sterner, placing them on a level 4 warning, the highest level of danger.
While Minnesota travelers tend to flock to unaffected resort regions like the Riviera Maya, resorts in the new Level 4 zone, like Ixtapa, could see a decline of interest, said Lenore Miller, owner of Minnetonka Travel & Cruises in Wayzata.
“Ixtapa has been an area of caution for a while, so there isn’t a lot of travel there,” she said. “If someone wanted to go, I would just tell them it’s not advised.”
Even resort destinations in states under level 3 or 4 warnings are still popular, said Jenny Woodson, travel consultant with Skads Travel in St. Louis Park.
“All the hotels are selling and all the flights are still going to the main tourist areas,” Woodson said. “All the prices are remaining the same as they’ve been. Nothing really has changed.”
Mexico as a whole has a level 2 rating, meaning Americans should “exercise increased caution” because of crime. But an additional 11 Mexican states got a level 3 warning. It urges people to “reconsider travel” there. Mexico has 31 states, half of which are now under level 3 or 4 warnings.
Those states where Americans are urged to reconsider travel include the state of Mexico, which includes most suburbs of Mexico City, and Jalisco, home to the city of Guadalajara, the Puerto Vallarta resorts and the lakeside expat community of Chapala and Ajijic. But the travel advisory said there are “no restrictions on U.S. government employees for stays in … Guadalajara, Puerto Vallarta, Chapala, and Ajijic.”
The Mexico Tourism Board said in a statement that “Mexico’s major international tourism destinations have been explicitly listed as having no travel restrictions.”
Staff writer Sharyn Jackson contributed to this report.