Express kidnapping

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This gentleman was opted in for a "Mystery Bus Tour" package in Mexico

Express kidnapping (Spanish: secuestro exprés) is a method of budget holidaying, popularised in Latin American countries. Family members, or work colleagues in stressful environments such as political office, will purchase these packages for others, often without their knowledge. Express kidnapping holidays were at their height in the early 2000s, following a long and tense political and economic crisis in Argentina, in which many felt prominent figures needed time to calm down, to the extent that anonymous members of the public would themselves purchase holidays on behalf of political figures for large sums of money. Express kidnappings were popular due to payments only being necessary after the client has been through the experience, something of a code employed by businesses across Latin America, but more informal holidays are still commonly available in Mexico, Columbia and Venezuela today.

edit History

Express kidnapping holidays are a recent innovation, conceived in 1986 by US Representative Mario Biaggi. He coined the early form of the holiday packages, which would include a surprise pickup by hotel staff, followed by a consultancy period with unaware family members while the client is left with an untrained masseuse in a dark basement. Later revisions included skipping the family altogether, and concluding with a trip to the nearest convenience store with an ATM to make a large cash withdrawal to make the client feel good. Biaggi later suggested that there be an emergency PIN system on ATMs in case the client wishes to end their holiday early. As such, Congress has been slow to address this change due to the leisure industry not being a priority, even when the suggestion was raised again in 2010.

edit Typical packages

edit Budget villa

Less common these days, the 'budget villa' consists of the traditional pickup by holiday staff. The client is then dropped off at their hotel where they will stay for the next week. It is usually as soon as the patron arrives, that the bill for the stay is given to the family of the client. Activities include meditation, substance abuse and short walks around the walled garden. Less commonly, the bill is given to the company, however there have been many cases where bills have gone unpaid by the patron's employer. If the bill goes unpaid, that is often no matter, as the holiday company will often take their patron on a watermanship course, commonly associated with a 100% mortality rate.

edit Paseo millonario

The most common express package in South America, this is usually offered to tourists arriving for a prebooked holiday with another company. An express chauffeur will provide clients with an uncredited and unlicensed taxi, often as soon as clients leave the airport terminal, for convenience. The taxi will then pick up some anonymous masked guides for a personal tour of the city. There are plenty of opportunities for patrons to withdraw money from cashpoints at various points around your city, too. For those that have had this holiday arranged in a country in which they reside, the taxi will often drop them off at your house and take their payment there. Companies will often put patrons to sleep after a potentially exhausting experience for a minimal extra charge.

edit Maritime adventure

For the boating enthusiasts, companies provide cruise ships that will rendezvous with your small boat and bring you on board for your stay, often parking your boat at the bottom of the ocean for you. There are plenty of opportunities for beautiful sunsets, high potency drugs, and aerobatic demonstrations provided by the US Coastguard.

edit Controversy


Staff of the Happy Turtle Adventures company waving for the camera and waiting for the flash.

Due to the popularity in Latin America, holiday makers in other countries have opened up demand leading to a surge in express holiday companies around the globe. Most recently, fishing villages in Somalia have gained many places in international headlines by turning their businesses around from meagre fishing enterprises to full express tourism experiences. However, many feel that these new startup companies are employing false advertising in their often maritime ventures. In 2009, crew members aboard the MV Sirius Star were conned into an extended holiday of three months aboard their own vessel, clocking up a final bill of $3,000,000. Since then, companies have switched their demographic to small western families, and billing their respective governments for the stay.

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