by Victor Lopez
ODESSA--With an increase in gang violence, the State Department warns, travel with caution.
Even though there are warnings about traveling to Mexico, you may be surprised to know people haven't stopped planning trips. According to Wendy Brumbelow, owner of Any Seasons Travel, "It's all ages, from Spring Breakers to the other end of the spectrum, the older people."
Brumbelow says, even with all the concern, very few people have changed their plans, "We've had one person move their package from Mexico to Jamaica, because they just didn't want to go down there."
The people who haven't booked a trip to Mexico aren't doing it for the reason you might think. "Quite a few people have passport issues. They either don't want one or can't get one, for whatever reason," she explained.
Trouble can happen anywhere at anytime. Brumbelow always has words of warning for her clients, "You've got to be aware you're in a foreign country. This is what we tell our Spring Breakers especially. This is a foreign country. You're under their rules and anytime you break them, you're in trouble."
The surge in violence has left U.T.P.B. in a touchy situation. Deciding the future of it's annual student exchange with the Autonomous University of Chihuahua.
According to William Fanin, Vice President for Academic Affairs, "Currently, it is still scheduled. We are monitoring the situation, the State Department recommendations as well as those of other groups. The UT system has an office that also keeps us abreast of what the recommendations are for student travel."
Officials from both schools are doing everything they can to ensure the safety of visiting students, including keeping tabs on government alerts.
Fannin explains, "As things develop, we will keep track of what those are, make sure we are following their guidance and we will be having interaction with the Autonomous University of Chihuahua, who is our partner in this, to make sure that our students have a good educational experience and they are safe as well."
In a report from the Secretary of Tourism, Mexico is seeing an increase in hotel occupancy in hot spots like Cancun, Puerto Vallarta, and the Mexican Riviera.