ACAPULCO, MEXICO - MARCH 02: A statue of the Virgin Mary gazes over beach on March 2, 2012 in Acapulco, Mexico. Drug violence surged in the coastal resort last year, making Acapulco the second most deadly city in Mexico after Juarez. One of Mexico's top tourist destinations, Acapulco has suffered a drop in business, especially from foreign tourists, due to reports of the violence. Toursim accounts for some 9 percent of Mexico's economy and about 70 percent of the output of Acapulco's state of Guerrero. (Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)2012 Getty Images
Mexico City, Mar 24 (EFE) – Violence has continued unabated in Acapulco, Mexico, despite a stepped-up security presence and high hotel occupancy rates in the week leading up to Easter Sunday, spoiling authorities' efforts to restore the Pacific resort city's image.
Five more deaths attributable to gangland violence – three people were killed at a bar on the Acapulco-Mexico City highway and two whose bodies were found in the city's Ciudad Renacimiento neighborhood – were added to the city's crime statistics on Wednesday.
On Monday, gunmen burst into the office of the Potable Water and Sewage Commission and killed one employee and seriously wounding another.
While those incidents occurred in areas far removed from the port city's tourist center, the coastal zone has not been immune from violent crime.
As recently as Monday, two fishermen were slain on La Angosta beach in front of tourists strolling through the area. Days earlier, a man was killed execution-style on Papagayo beach.
Criminals seem undeterred by the 87 percent hotel occupancy rates in the city this Easter Week and the deployment of more than 4,000 police to bolster security.
These latest killings are far from unusual in Acapulco, which, according to the non-governmental Citizen Council for Public Safety and Criminal Justice, is the third-most violent city in the world with an annual rate of 104 homicides per 100,000 inhabitants.
State and federal authorities have responded by launching a campaign to showcase Acapulco's positive side and try to recover a bit of the former glamor of the resort city, which was once a getaway for Hollywood stars in the 1950s and '60s.
The number of foreign tourists has plummeted in recent years, falling from 3.6 million in 1999 to 110,000 in 2014, according to the Ministry of Tourism, although domestic tourism has remained stable thanks to Acapulco's affordability and its accessibility to residents of Mexico City.
The largest city in the state of Guerrero was "one of the country's first tourist destinations that gave us global visibility," and "we don't want it to be tarnished by the levels of crime and violence that have racked Guerrero in recent years," Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto said recently.
He underscored the "recovery" underway in Acapulco and noted that he had spent the New Year's holiday there.
Acapulco Archbishop Carlos Garfias, for his part, earlier this month called on criminal gangs operating in the city to observe a "truce" during the religious holiday – a plea that thus far appears to have fallen on deaf ears.