The cast members of a popular local reality show called Acapulco Shore (not dissimilar to the UK’s Geordie Shore) were invited to tour the Uxmal ruins by tourism officials in the hope it might encourage visitors to return to the attraction.
But the visit quickly turned sour, with employees at the site accusing the eight cast members of ignoring signposted rules about wearing masks at all times and practicing social distancing of at least half a metre.
The influencers “were asked to leave, in compliance with health rules,” said the National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH), reports AP.
INAH added that the group had “flagrantly violated the established safety and hygiene protocols,” yucatanexpatlife.com/invited-to-promote-yucatan-social-media-influencers-kicked-out-of-uxmal/">Yucatan Expat Life reported.
Photos of the tour posted to social media show the group posing in close proximity to one another by one of the ancient structures.
Authorities from the Mexican state of Yucatan admitted the tour was part of a campaign to restart tourism in the region, but deny that the cast members were paid for the visit.
“The influencers were not paid one single peso,” tweeted Michelle Fridman, the Yucatan state tourism secretary.
“It also wasn’t some half-baked idea but rather part of a strategy included in the plan for recovery from Covid, and if we carefully measure the impact, we estimate we got 200 million hits for a sector that urgently needs promotion.”
Despite the bad behaviour, the group continued their tour of Yucatan the following day, with visits to Valladolid and Izamal.
The Uxmal ruins, which include ancient temples, palaces and pyramids and are considered one of the most important archaeological sites of the Mayan culture, reopened on 17 September.
Mexico, like many destinations, has struggled with the collapse of its tourism industry during the pandemic.
Tourist arrivals fell by 93.4 per cent at one point in May, while projections show that visitor numbers in 2020 overall are expected to be 42.8 per cent lower than in 2019.