Baja’s Best Summer in 5 Years
By Alejandra Mendoza. Reprinted with permission from San Diego Red.
SAN DIEGO- ‘Baja’s Best Summer in 5 Years’ is what data by the Secretary of Tourism for Baja California indicates, definitely showing a rise in Baja tourism.
During the summer season spanning July 2-Aug. 18, the following five cities reported an increase in hotel occupancy. Tijuana went up by three percent last year, while Ensenada, Rosarito and Tecate showed a positive trend of seven, six and five percent, respectively. Mexicali kept a 54 percent of demand while San Felipe went up five percent.
The beach destinations showed an increase in tourism mainly from the United States.
Baja California’s Secretary of Tourism, Juan Tintos Funcke, credited the rise in numbers to a change in the perception visitors have of the state; they now turn to the region looking for culture, gastronomy and recreation.
“The image has improved greatly,” remarks the officer. “We’ve had a bigger presence in the United States, and it has also helped us that big names like Anthony Bourdain, Rick Bayless, famous actors and business leaders say good things about our state.”
After the boom of Baja Med cuisine enhanced by the visit of those Chefs and others, he mentioned that organizations like the National Chamber of the Restaurant Industry and Prepared Food (CANIRAC in Spanish) have reported a tourism increase to food venues of 20-25 percent from the one of 2011.
Another indicator of Baja’s best summer in 5 years was the rise of vehicles traveling on Baja’s roads, the most popular being the Tijuana-Ensenada highway with 6,190,195 cars from Jan.- July versus the 6,500,178 registered in 2011.
Cruises arriving to Ensenada also escalated in number: 2012 received 102 ships while 2011 had only 194 arrivals, with approximately 248,276 passengers. The same happened in the airports of Tijuana and Mexicali. Tijuana saw 2,248,276 people arriving, while Mexicali had 309,360 visitors during the year’s first period.
Baja California authorities have reinforced their campaigns to draw tourists from the US. This summer most foreign visitors came from Los Angeles, San Diego, Orange County, Nevada and Arizona. This year, government representatives have made 12 promotional tours through different US cities and, according to Tintos Funcke, more will come before the year-end.
“We have seen a lot of loyalty from the Hispanic community in the United States, but also a surge of Caucasian tourists,” he said.
He also mentioned the event schedule the region offers, highlighting cultural and gastronomical festivals as well as concerts. This year, Baja California has hosted Enrique Iglesias, Alejandro Fernández and, in a couple of days, Luis Miguel.
In the same vein, he said that according to Provino, attendance to the Wine Harvest Festival (Fiestas de la Vendimia) this year went from 55,000 to 65,000.
Lastly, he talked about the events that are still to come this year.
Festiarte: September 7 – 9
Entijuanarte: October 4 – 7
Tijuana Innovadora: October 11 to 21
Bike Ride Rosarito-Ensenada: September 29
Baja Sand 2012 and Off Road Expo: September 30
Mariachi Festival: October 3 to 7
Rosarito-Puerto Nuevo Half Marathon: October 13
Lobster Fest: October 14
Quixote Fest: October 27
Desert Music Fest: September 15
Sun Fest: September 28 to October 14
Champion’s Grand Prix Race: October 14
Eleva Mexicali Forum: November 8 to 10
Baja Sea Food Expo: September 19 to 22
Gobernador Tournament of Sport Fishing: September 22
Fish and Seafood Fest: September 23
Bike Ride Rosarito-Ensenada: September 29
National Clean Beaches Congress: October 5 and 6
Cheese and Wine Fest in Ojos Negros: October 7
San Diego-Ensenada Yacht Race: October 5 and 6
Baja 1000: November 14 to 17
Gray Whale Sightings: Starting from December 15
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