As Mexican nationals and Mexican Americans begin to plan their holidays, many say they are choosing not to make the annual trek home to visit relatives. While some are dissuaded by the worsening economy, others are avoiding travel to Mexico because they fear the rampant kidnappings, killings and shootouts, reports the Los Angeles Times. The U.S. State Department issued a travel alert last month warning U.S. citizens to take precautions and to be aware of the “increasingly violent fight for control of narcotics trafficking routes,” especially in the cities of Tijuana, Chihuahua and Ciudad Juarez. (In another story, the Times reports that some Mexican resort cities are seeing declining reservations from American tourists, who fear the violence.)
Business at Transportes Intercalifornias, which runs about 15 buses a day from Los Angeles to the border towns of Tijuana and Mexicali, is already down from last year, said dispatcher Robert Bahine. “They don’t want to go home because of the problems in TJ, all the shootings and the killings,” he said. Mexicana Airlines has seen about a 4% drop from last year in bookings from Mexicans traveling home to visit friends and relatives. Mexico’s consul general in Los Angeles, Juan Gutierrez Gonzalez, also said he believes the economy is having a greater effect on travel than the drug wars.