US Embassy Warns About Threat To Mexico Resort Town, Issues Travel Ban

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The United States Embassy in Mexico has issued a travel warning for a Mexican resort town, barring employees from travelling there following a security threat alert.

The alert comes just before many Americans plan to flock to Playa del Carmen for spring break, which typically takes places from mid-March to mid-April.

Recent violence, like an explosion of a tourist ferry last month, has government officials warning Americans to stay out of Playa Del Carmen, Mexico.

The U.S. has closed its consular agency in a popular Mexican tourist spot and is barring its employees from traveling there over a "security threat".

In the alert post that it published on its website, the embassy said it received information about a security threat in the city on Wednesday. In January, the State Department issued a travel ban to five Mexican states.

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Originally, the state department said a security threat was so credible it shut down the US consular agency and stopped government employees from traveling to the area.

And while US citizens aren't explicitly forbidden to visit Playa del Carmen, if the consulate and embassy services are unavailable in a place you're planning to be, it's generally a good idea to head somewhere else. Why?

"Every time the United States issues a travel advisory, it's got such a negative connotation, there's an nearly immediate knee jerk reaction from people to cancel", says Greenberg, "but in terms of Americans being targeted for violent crime, it doesn't really exist". The states are Colima, Guerrero, Michoacan, Sinaloa, and Tamaulipas; Quintana Roo, the state where Playa del Carmen is located, is still at a level two.

But the number of foreign visitors to the resort town jumped more than 18 percent previous year, and CBS News travel editor Peter Greenberg says the number of Americans killed in violent crimes in Mexico is very small. "We do not know why the USA government chose to emit this alert", officials said, according to the Associated Press. Still, Americans were not told to avoid travel to Playa del Carmen. The Mexican Tourism Board told "CBS This Morning" that the USA security alert implies "safety issues without any basis in fact".