Despite the absence of armed conflicts assets in Latin America, the region is one of the most dangerous in the world, as it has high rates of murders and kidnappings. This reality prevents the normal development of life for Latin Americans and generates distrust in many tourists.
To break with this trend, many countries in the region have developed specialized police forces that are located in tourist spots such as beaches, old towns, museums or archaeological ruins, and those that do not have them mount special operations for visitors.
This is the case of Uruguay, as explained to EFE by its Minister of Tourism, Tabaré Viera. During the International Tourism Fair of Madrid (Fitur) that this week is being held in the Spanish capital, the official points out that in the Charrúa nation they have operations for the reception of cruise ships: “Up to four ships arrive per day, many thousands go down of tourists together, there are special operations where they disembark and spend”.
Remember that your country “in relative terms, offers public security” although “it does not mean that you do not have to be careful like everyone else.”
Dominican Republic, 1,800 agents with “88% approval”
“In 2022, the Dominican Republic received more than eight million tourists, which represents for the island “15% of the Gross Domestic Product”, and leaves “8,500 million dollars” annually in the public coffers, according to the minister told EFE. Dominican of the field, David Collado.
To protect this precious asset, they have a tourist police force made up of 1,800 agents, which they are “reforming and strengthening”, details the minister, who also explains that in 2023 his country will ally “with tourist police in more developed countries”. so that the Dominican agents “take training courses.”
They are also renovating the beaches “putting internet and lighting” so that the tourist “feels confident and the Dominican can enjoy.” “We have taken being a safe destination very seriously,” he says.
Paraguay, 340 agents and Ecuador, 300
The Paraguayan Minister of Tourism, Sofía Montiel, told EFE that her country has a special security force for tourists that is made up of 340 agents throughout the territory.
Paraguay had in 2022 “a rebound in international visitor arrivals of more than one and a half million, as well as more than 500 million dollars in foreign currency for income,” according to the minister, and although security is fine, “we are working together to the Ministry of the Interior, the police and the tourist security division, which is the one that works providing facilitation and orientation to the visitor”, he explains.
For its part, Ecuador, the guest country for the next edition of Fitur, has 300 agents to protect visitors and, according to EFE, its Minister of Tourism, Niels Olsen, tells EFE, although the country has “social problems like all Latin American countries ”, no incidents “out of the usual numbers” are reported.
“There have been cases of insecurity, but outside the common tourist path”, and “so that it is not the Ecuadorian government talking about its own security” alludes to “travel alerts” that the US issues to inform about security to its citizens who travel abroad, ranging from one (maximum security) to four (lowest degree), and Ecuador is now in number two, “when many Latin American countries are in number three and Spain, in number two”, Olsen says.
Security in Mexico, different depending on the state
The case of Mexico is one of the most striking in the region due to the high rates of violence that the country registers after decades in a fight against drug trafficking.
The Secretary of Tourism of the state of Yucatán, Michelle Fridman, is clear that “Yucatán is the safest destination in Mexico and one of the safest in the world” and explains that Mérida (the state capital) “is the second safest city From the american continent”. “We are safer than any city in the United States,” she concludes.
Mexico is so big as a country that each state “could be the size of a European country,” he says.
The undersecretary of Tourist Services of Guerrero, Iván Ruiz, expresses himself along the same lines, who assures that in his state “there have been no problems in tourist areas.” He acknowledges that “some events have occurred” recently, but that these “happen in the north” of the country and Guerrero is in the south.
The Secretary of Tourism of Nayarit, Juan Enrique Suárez, emphasizes that his “is the first state in perception of security” and “the second safest in Mexico” behind Yucatán. “We have surveillance cameras with trained tourist police where we have to go without anything happening,” he explains.