SAN DIEGO (Border Report) — With the Labor Day holiday fast approaching, Baja California tourism officials are preparing for an influx of 100,000 tourists, mostly from Southern California, Nevada and Arizona.
Karim Chalita Rodriguez, a board member of Tijuana’s Tourism and Conventions Committee, expects most of those visitors to arrive in the Tijuana metro area.
The number of visitors this holiday weekend is supposed to be 10 to 20 percent higher than last year’s Labor Day, and they are expected to pump about $12 million into the region’s economy during the holiday weekend.
Chalita Rodriguez stated that most tourists will spend time along Tijuana’s Avenida Revolución as well as restaurants, the city’s coastline, and medical and dental offices that provide services to patients who live north of the border.
“The typical profile of visitors include families who are spending the holiday together,” he said. “Labor Day is a traditional time for travel in the United States.”
Tourism officials have stated the number of visitors would be higher if not for the long waits at the border, which are seen as a deterrent to tourism in Northern Baja California.
“The perceived lack of security and the long lines are the primary inhibitors of tourism in Tijuana and our region,” said Arturo Gutiérrez, president of the Tijuana Tourism and Conventions Committee.
He said campaigns north of the border asking people to stay home and spend their money in places such as California also have an impact on the number of visitors.
“A lot of Americans won’t visit because of this, but we’re working hard to change people’s minds and show them all the positive things that happen here,” Gutiérrez said.
Currently, the U.S. Department of State is asking visitors to “reconsider” traveling to Baja California due to “crime and kidnappings targeting Americans.”
“Transnational criminal organizations compete in the border area to establish narco-trafficking and human smuggling routes,” says the online State Department advisory. “Violent crime and gang activity are common. Travelers should remain on main highways and avoid remote locations. Of particular concern is the high number of homicides in the non-tourist areas of Tijuana. Most homicides appeared to be targeted; however, criminal organization assassinations and territorial disputes can result in bystanders being injured or killed. U.S. citizens and LPRs have been victims of kidnapping.”