The Quintana Roo government and hotel associations will require visitors to sign a drug “awareness” document declaring they understand that the consumption and transportation of illegal substances are punishable by law.
Earlier this month, Quintana Roo Governor Carlos Joaquin González tweeted about the campaign, saying “on the occasion of the next high vacation season, together with businessmen, we launched an outreach campaign to warn tourists about the risks and consequences of drug use during their stay in Quintana Roo.”
The state government and the Tourism Secretariat have approved the document, which is part of the anti-drug campaign for the “Spring Breakers” season.
Tourists must sign it upon arrival at hotels in Cancun, Puerto Morelos, Isla Mujeres, Cozumel, Tulum, Chetumal, Mahahual and Riviera Maya, where it has already been implemented.
The main objective is to combat the influx of holiday arrests that traditionally come with the Easter holiday.
“Upon arrival at the Breathless Soul (local hotel), we were asked to sign a few forms at check-in,” Elm Grove Travel’s Amy Frank said. “The first form was a simple names, address, phone and email form. The second was a detailed no drug use on property policy along with consequences outlined if violated. It stated that you be removed from the resort and no refund given.”
The document states that the traveler “has read and is aware of the legal consequences of drug purchasing in Mexico.”
The campaign, which is intended mostly for American tourists, has sparked controversy.
One of the most common ads features a woman in prison with a sentence in English that reads, “Do not turn your holiday into a permanent stay.” Another ad in reads, “The coolest activity can land you in a cooler (refrigerator)” with a photo of two feet coming out of a forensic refrigerator.
Local hoteliers believe this is not the best publicity for welcoming visitors, but Ken Salazar, the U.S. ambassador to Mexico, has backed the campaign “because many Americans believe drug use is allowed in Mexico.”