EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) — After four Americans were kidnapped in Matamoros, Mexico, and two were found dead, that incident is expected to have an impact on border tourism.
“Without a doubt, it affects the border economy, especially the merchants that dedicate themselves to selling products that interest people from other countries,” said Enrique Torres, Juarez city council member
Torres spoke about the alerts by the U.S. government, advising Americans not to travel to certain places in Mexico.
“The North American authorities send travel alerts so that their citizens don’t visit our country,” Torres said.
The U.S. Department of State advises Americans not to travel to the Mexican state of Tamaulipas where Matamoros is located, because of kidnapping and crime.
As for the state of Chihuahua, Americans are advised to reconsider traveling there for the same reason.
Director of UTEP Inter-American and Border Studies Josiah Heyman said it is common for El Pasoans to cross to Juarez, referring to a 2018 survey done by his department.
“Two-thirds of the people in El Paso report crossing to the Mexican side within the past two years, and their number one motivation for crossing was in 20 percent of the cases for medical or dental services,” Heyman said.
Heyman added that people may be more cautious but he believes El Pasoans will still cross the border for medical purposes, a practice called “medical tourism.”
“People cross because they don’t have insurance in the United States. People cross for medical care. People cross for medical care because they can’t afford co-pays. They can’t afford other sorts of procedures. They have a procedure they would like to have. They can’t afford it in the united states,” said Heyman.