Baja California Mayors Desperate To Regain Investment & Tourism

By Ruxandra Guidi
February 28, 2011

Photo by Ruxandra Guidi
Javier Robles Aguirre, the 38 year-old mayor of the town of Rosarito in Baja California, Mexico, talking to American journalists about his city's need for foreign investment and tourism.

TIJUANA, Mexico -- In places like Ensenada and San Felipe, up to 70 percenet of the economy is fueled by tourism from north of the border. So the slowdown in the U.S. and Mexico economies can be felt on streets of many Baja California municipalities.

After a few years of such decline, five Baja mayors have launched a campaign to convince more northeners that their cities are safe, and open to foreign investment.

Javier Robles Aguirre is the 38 year-old mayor of Rosarito.

"Right now, our main priority, is to attract tourists," said Robles Aguirre. "In order to do that, we have to make sure they feel safe here. And on that note, everyone should know that Rosarito is the safest municipality in all of Baja California."

At a recent news conference, police chiefs from five Baja municipalities all had the same message for reporters: their city was the safest.

State officials cite a 40 percent drop in crime in Tijuana and other parts of Baja over the last two years. They say that's due to increased policing, including a bilingual tourism police force.

Jorge Peon is general manager of the Rosarito Beach Hotel, one of the oldest hotels in Rosarito to see a drop in business.

"The truth is, we haven't invested in tourism infrastructure because of the economy," said Peon, citing the need for newer facilities to draw tourism. "The downturn hasn't only affected us here in Rosarito -- it's affected all businesses, in all of Baja."