MCALLEN, RGV – After receiving a lot of criticism for publishing an article claiming McAllen was a dangerous place to live, work and play, a down-market British tabloid sent a travel writer to do a more upbeat piece.

Nancy Millar
Nancy Millar

Becky Freeth’s more positive look at the city has now been published in the Daily Mail. She recommends any visitor to check out the Quinta Mazatlan World Birding Center in McAllen, try Delia’s breakfast tamales, and visit the North American Butterfly farm in Mission, the Museum of South Texas History in Edinburg, and the International Museum of Art & Science in McAllen.

On her trip, which occurred over Thanksgiving last year, Freeth also visited Reynosa, but she does not write about this in the article. She does quote statistics provided by the McAllen Economic Development Corporation showing how vibrant the McAllen economy is. She also cites City Data stats showing that McAllen’s crime rate is lower than the U.S. average.

The negative story about McAllen was written by Alasdair Baverstock and published in the Daily Mail last October. It was titled ‘America’s Most Fearful City.’ It brought howls of protest from local leaders because the photos used, showing shootouts in Reynosa, were four or five years old. The story claimed McAllen was situated next to a war zone and that its residents were afraid to go out at night.

In response, Nancy Millar, vice president of the McAllen Convention and Visitors’ Bureau, contacted the Governor’s tourism department to protest. The state’s tourism office then contacted Texas’ marketing firm in London. It then contacted the Daily Mail and the result was Freeth’s visit.

“If what was in the Daily Mail story was true you would not hear a word from us. We would not like it but we would not say anything. But, now, when a story is put out that is literally focused on damaging us, we are going to respond. We have to,” said Keith Patridge, president and CEO of the McAllen EDC, at the time the first Daily Mail story came out.

MEDC, along with the McAllen Chamber of Commerce, helped facilitate Freeth’s tour of McAllen and Reynosa.

Editor’s Note: The main image accompanying this story shows Quinta Mazatlán in McAllen.

Editor’s Note: Click here to see the Daily Mail’s negative story about McAllen. Click here to see the Daily Mail’s positive story about McAllen.