Getting Answers: travel safety following kidnapping, deaths of U.S. tourists in Mexico

Getting Answers: travel safety following kidnapping, deaths of U.S. tourists in Mexico
Published: Mar. 8, 2023 at 4:32 PM EST
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SPRINGFIELD, MA (WGGB/WSHM) - A recent tragedy across the border in Mexico has many reconsidering their travel plans ahead of spring break. Four U.S. tourists were kidnapped and two of them were killed after crossing over from Texas to Matamoros, Mexico to get cosmetic surgery done. Western New England University History Professor John Baick told Western Mass News that this area has been declared a high-risk region by the U.S. State Department since at least last year.

“There are parts of Mexico where it’s simply not safe for outsiders or for Mexicans,” Baick said.

For years, Mexico has been a popular spring break destination, but after a recent deadly kidnapping, Western Mass News is getting answers from local college students on how it’s affecting their spring break plans. Over at Western New England University, junior Lees Tomsky told Western Mass News that he was hoping to spend his recess on the white sand beaches of Mexico, but he changed his plans.

“So, my parents are really concerned about my safety and anyone else because they’re like ‘Oh, there’s a lot of gang violence’…They fear that if I went down there, I would probably get kidnapped, killed, jumped,” Tomsky said.

Meanwhile, sophomore Dolen Ayers opted to travel within the U.S. He told that us he’s spending his break in Florida in order to avoid the restrictions of a resort.

“Outside of the resort, you have to be careful, especially in Mexico. I don’t really know. just know there’s a lot of crime outside,” Ayers said.

However, Baick said Americans don’t necessarily need to cancel their vacation plans. He said the Mexican government and tourist industry have a vested interest in keeping resorts safe.

“It’s kind of this weird white lotus scenario, but the resorts are what provides you your safety, your comfort…You’re honestly gonna have more trouble drinking water than any real danger,” Baick explained.

Baick advised anyone traveling to Mexico or anywhere unfamiliar to be careful about going off the grid. He advised tourists to make sure they have transportation arranged and to not rely on their phones. He added that anyone traveling to a foreign country should always know where the U.S. Embassy is located.