TIJUANA.- Baja California’s tourism is growing stronger, as the number of visitors during the last few months show.
According to data by the Secretary of Tourism, this year’s Holy Week has been the busiest of the last five years, specially at the beaches, it also holds the record for best Memorial Day weekend and for the number of cruise ships arriving to Ensenada as well as having a bigger attendance at biking events.
This indicators, added to the increase in the hotel occupancy of the 5 cities in Baja California, point to having one of the busiest summers south of the border.
Why the change?
The first thing needed was better security and, for that, all police agencies have been working to reinforcing street vigilance besides tackling the problem at its roots by weeding out the bad elements. All of this thanks to the political will of State authorities.
“Security is not the same issue anymore”, stated the president of the Tijuana Tourism and Conventions Committee (COTUCO in Spanish), Mariano Escobedo. “Here in Tijuana we had a critical period between 2007 and 2008, but it has been overcome”.
Once a secure environment for both national and foreign tourism was achieved, state and municipal authorities worked hard to promote the area’s strong points, from its gastronomy and culture to soccer since last year.
After conducting surveys about the perception the United States citizens had about the city, it was concluded that there was a high level of both “misinformation and lack of information” regarding Baja California’s image and its tourist attractions.
For that reason a promotional tour traveled through different states of the US like California, Nevada and Arizona, where statistics, testimonies and information were presented with the goal of drawing in more visitors.
At the same time a video titled “What is Baja?” was created gathering statements by people of the United States that have lived or visited Baja California and who, through the video, invite their own people to join them.
The final push has been received by word of mouth and it’s even better when celebrities are doing the talking. People like the Chefs Anthony Bourdain and Rick Bayless as well as actor Robert Redford are among the ones voicing their opinion and sharing their positive experiences during their visits to Baja California.
Bourdain as well as Bayless have been so amazed by the culinary talent of the area that they have shot entire episodes of their respective shows in Baja California where they showcase gastronomic venues from Tijuana, Rosarito and Ensenada.