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The State Department Wednesday launched its new travel advisory system, which issued its highest-level warning for five Mexican states due to crime.

Criticizing what it describes as a travel warning for the country as a whole based on crime, violence and other statistics that are "not related to the number of incidents that impact foreign visitors", the MTB said, "It is these kinds of facts and context which are relevant to tourists that we believe are still missing and are important to keep in mind when evaluating this and other travel advisories". Mexico has 31 states, half of which are under level 3 or 4 warnings.

Closer to the Borderland, the Mexican state of Chihuahua has a level-3 warning advising Americans to "reconsider travel", this includes Ciudad Juarez.

The level three advisory was offered to most areas in Mexico City, Jalisco (where Guadalajara is located), as well as the Puerto Vallarta resorts and lakeside expat community of Chapala and Ajijic. There are no U.S. government restrictions for travel to tourist areas such as Cabo San Lucas and San Jose del Cabo.

The advisory delivered a stark reminder of the formerly ritzy seaside resort city Acapulco fall from grace.

Clashes between rival drug gangs contributed to a record number of murders in Mexico a year ago, according to official data, dealing a fresh blow to President Enrique Pena Nieto's pledge to bring gang violence under control with presidential elections due in July 2018, the report said.

The government's Mexico Tourism Board said in a statement reported by Fox News, "Mexico's major global tourism destinations have been explicitly listed as having no travel restrictions".

US travelers were also warned to avoid unnecessary trips to the Central American nation of Guatemala due to the high criminal violence, sexual assault, armed robbery and gang-related offenses. The highest homicide rate in Mexico is in Colima due to the growth of a new cartel, where there are 83.3 killings per 100,000 people.

The violence has even encroached on the long-safe tourist havens of Cancun and Los Cabos, where in December the bodies of four men were found hanging from a highway overpass. However, despite the cartel activities, Los Cabos saw 16 percent increase in tourism arrivals and an 18 percent rise in hotel occupancy in 2017, reports said, citing Rodrigo Esponda, managing director of the Los Cabos Tourism Board.