In case you missed it, the Los Angeles Times ran a front-page story on the decline of tourism in Tijuana. An informative piece with descriptive anecdotes and straight-forward stats, my only complaint is the ominous ending:
“We never imagined that tourists would stop coming,” said Clark Alfaro of the Bi-National Center for Human Rights. “It’s a shame.”
Tourism is down, yes. People are freaked out about the crime and hesitant about the new passport requirement, but if any place could survive and overcome a lull, Tijuana can.
I remember when they passed the law about the bike lane to cross the border. The idea was to encourage regular commuters to ride their bikes then take the trolley to their jobs, but about a week or so after the law went into effect, Tijuana’s crafty moneymakers set up shop right in front of the border and rented out bikes to tourists who would rather pay $7 than wait in line for two hours. The whole thing became a prosperous little business venture until the border folks caught on and eventually shut the bike lane down.
My point here is that the collective memory is fickle and will soon forget the violence, which has ebbed and flowed in Tijuana for years, and Tijuana’s ingenious tourism tradesmen will hang in there in the meantime and figure out a way to get the crowds to come back down. I mean, where else can you legally bet on a sports game, see a live lucha libre fight and drink cheap tequila in one day? Tijuana is too tempting to stay away from for too long.