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Canadian travellers appear undeterred by fatal shooting in Mexico

Paola Loriggio, The Canadian Press | posted Wednesday, Jan 18th, 2017

crosscanada

Canadian travellers and expats appear undeterred by a fatal shooting at the popular Mexican resort town of Playa del Carmen this week, saying the area remains safe despite what they consider an isolated tragedy.

A spokesman for the Quebec-Riviera Maya Chamber of Commerce says the Canadian expats and business owners he has spoken to are saddened by the attack that killed five people, including an Ontario security guard, but are not concerned for their own safety.

Michel Bédard says the shooting at the Blue Parrot nightclub was the first such incident at the 10-year-old venue, which he described as a cultural hub in the area.

He says Canadian snowbirds and tourists are unlikely to change their habits as a result of the attack.

The editor of a local English-language newspaper in Playa del Carmen says shootings are “very, very rare” in the Riviera Maya and almost never involve tourists.

Rebecca Page, who is American, says the general feeling among expats she has spoken to is that the shooting was “an isolated event and they have no plans to leave or change the way they are living their day to day lives here.”

“I feel no less safe today than I did before this happened,” she added in a Facebook message.

Maggie Bearden lives in Saskatoon and travels to Mexico once or twice a year, and says she feels as safe there as she does at home.

She sees no reason to change her plans to travel to Playa del Carmen in March, saying tourists are rarely the targets of crime.

“The people largely are warm and welcoming and so friendly, and it’s such an easy and economical destination, I will continue to go there, with no qualms,” she said in an email.

Mexican authorities said Tuesday they were investigating whether extortion, street-level drug sales or a murder plot was the motive behind the shooting at the nightclub where an electronic music festival’s closing party was being held.

The five people who died included 49-year-old Kirk Wilson, of Hamilton, one American, one Italian and two Mexicans. Fifteen people suffered injuries, including at least two Canadians and two Americans.

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