By Mario A. Cortez
Bahia de Los Ángeles, Baja California (Photo / Gonzalo González)
Despite the negative rhetoric regarding Mexicans coming from the White House and news of violence south of the border, the Secretary of Tourism of Baja California reports 2018 as one of its best years on record for the state’s hospitality industry.
“We saw much success this year with 27 million visitors to our state, who brought in an economic input of $6 billion,” highlighted Baja Tourism Secretariat Oscar Escobedo.
According to statistics published by the State, 84 percent of visitors to Baja came from the neighboring U.S. state of California. This relationship lead to a large portion of the 79 million recorded international entries into Baja California being of a recreational nature.
“Geographically, we are divided by a border, but we function as a whole region,” Escobedo emphasized. “Our cultures are intrinsically connected not just through our economies, culture education, and , of course, tourism, but also through blood, as we have family on both sides of the border.”
Of all foreign entries into Baja, 10 percent of these were reported to be for events such a concerts and cultural festivals or to spectate sports such as Club Tijuana soccer matches or Águilas de Mexicali baseball games.
There has also been a surge in the medical tourism niche, which brings international visitors to Baja in search of highly specialized professionals or services at a much lower cost compared to those in the United States. With sights set on capturing a larger part of this market, initiatives promoting the development of patient recovery centers and hotel rooms designed for people requiring care are being worked on.
Escobedo ended his brief conversation with La Prensa San Diego by focusing on the large number of destinations and activities Baja offers.
“We have over 600 cultural events every year. We have the Baja 100 off-road race, the famous Ensenada Carnival, there is sport fishing, cycling, we have Valle of Guadalupe, we have Corazon de Tierra — one of Latin America’s 50 best restaurants — and Javier Placencia — Mexico’s best chef. There are hiking routes through the sierras and the Hanson Lagoon which is beautiful,” he shared.