March 9, 2018 / 1:24 AM / 3 months ago

U.S. bans government employees from travel to Mexican beach resort

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - Citing a new security threat in Mexico’s Caribbean beach resort of Playa del Carmen, the U.S. government is prohibiting its employees from travelling there, marking another blow to the battered reputations of the country’s most popular tourist hubs.

The U.S. travel ban was issued late on Wednesday and was later cited by the Canadian government in its own warning. While the travel ban only applies to government employees, the U.S. Embassy said Americans should consider the security threat, which it did not specify, before travelling to the area.

Playa del Carmen is located about 46 miles (76 km) south of Mexico’s top beach destination, Cancun, part of a long strip of white sand beach-front resorts that attracts international tourists.

Late last month, an explosion on a ferry docked at a Playa del Carmen pier injured 25, including several U.S. citizens.

The blast was caused by an explosive device, according to a U.S. embassy statement earlier this month. Local media reported that two other similar devices were later found attached to another ferry on the nearby island of Cozumel, also a major tourist draw, but neither detonated.

Both federal and state officials continue to investigate the incidents. The U.S. State Department has previously advised travellers to avoid five Mexican states due to soaring crime

Mexico’s long-running battle against drug cartels has in recent years bled into its iconic tourist destinations, including the once-glamorous Pacific beach resort of Acapulco and most recently Los Cabos on the southern tip of Baja California, both of which have seen murder rates jump sharply.

( This version of the story corrects spelling of pier in fourth paragraph)

Reporting by David Alire Garcia; Editing by Cynthia Osterman

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