Posts tagged ‘tourism’
For those keeping up on border infrastructure issues in the California-Baja California region, some quiet progress has been happening that could dramatically shape the future of the binational sister cities of Tijuana and San Diego. On July 23, the U.S. State Department issued a Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI) [link] for Otay-Tijuana Venture, LLC’s proposed crossborder airport terminal — followed even more quickly than some (including ourselves) could imagine with the issuance on August 4 (only hours ago, as of this writing) by Secretary of State Clinton of the Presidential Permit required to authorize moving forward on the project [link to announcement].
While many may not be familiar with this project, the concept has been discussed at various governmental levels (and various levels of interest) since at least 1991 — the year that Mexico’s Aeropuertos y Servicios Auxiliares (ASA) proposed an expansion of Tijuana’s International Airport (TIJ) that included two runways and a US terminal in Otay Mesa. More recently, a local economic development organization, the South County Economic Development Council (SCEDC), has championed the concept, resulting in a positive preliminary study in 2007-2008 by the San Diego Airport Authority. Our own firm, in fact, included questions about the crossborder terminal concept in our own at-border surveys for several years — a few results of which are presented at bottom — finding that over one-third of San Diego residents that crossed the border had flown out of TIJ at least once within the last year. (more…)
The border can be a pretty serious place, but sometimes we can find some unexpected fun. Last December, Crossborder Group received a call from a good friend, Bill Esparza of Street Gourmet LA fame, who had reached out to the adventurous people of Bizarre Foods with Andrew Zimmern. At the time, with all of the bad news circulating about Tijuana, we didn’t think his outreach would go too far…but, thankfully, we were wrong. In fact, the production company, Tremendous! Entertainment, was asking for some insights into Baja California’s security situation — as well as some suggestions on how to handle security when the crew was on the ground. The team from Crossborder Group sprung into action, pulling together the most recent security statistics, providing some context about comparative risks in Baja California (which we still find are relatively low, compared with many other regions of the world…and even a few popular places in the United States), and got in touch with the State of Baja California Tourism Secretariat — which worked closely with Mr. Zimmern’s crew while they were visiting Tijuana and Ensenada in January of this year. Remember January? All of the bad press about security in Tijuana and Mexico? Well…thankfully, Andrew Zimmern and Bizarre Foods got to see for themselves.
The result: Bizarre Foods in Baja California, airing this coming Monday, June 14th. For those that have been wondering if they should return back to Baja — check it out. For those that love great food in Tijuana and Ensenada (oh…yes, and La Paz, too!), it’s a great program, too. The only thing better: going back and eating at your favorite places in Baja California. After some excellent meals with clients recently at Casa Plasencia and Cheripan in Tijuana…well, all we can say is “thanks” for Mr. Zimmern for coming, and while most of the food is far from bizarre — a lot of people appreciate his effort to highlight a part of what Mexico has to offer (oh, and thanks to Tremendous! Entertainment for appreciating the work that went into the security and risk analysis that Crossborder Group provided).
Update (6/10/2010): Looks like some additional information about this episode is now on Facebook (http://www.facebook.com/BizarreFoods) and the BF Twitter page (http://twitter.com/bizarrefoods), including some TwitPics of Mr. Zimmern in Ensenada… If you like the episode, let them know (or invite them back for more!).
Just a quick update to our Opinion/Analysis from last Monday, about the change in the status of the U.S. State Department’s travel advisory — downgrading (again, in essence) the Mexico Travel Alert to a more ominous Travel Warning. It was our opinion that State Department rules require a Travel Warning to be issued when consular employees or their families are authorized to depart a country, and this was at the heart of the change from Alert to Warning. We cited a section of the Consular Affairs Manual: “[a] Travel Warning must be issued whenever a post goes to authorized or ordered departure status.”
Notably, most media missed this detail, and attributed the change to purely security issues. Well…just to underscore the value of analysis and research…[read more]
Yesterday, Mexico joined a long list of countries — including Colombia, Eritrea, Yemen, Iraq, Somalia, Lebanon, Afghanistan and Iran (among others) — on the U.S. State Department’s Travel Warning list. This Warning comes only three weeks after the State Department issued a Travel Alert for Mexico — one that used more than 80% of the same text as used in a previous Alert, and was the subject of our blog posting on February 25th, “Is New U.S. State Department Travel Alert on Mexico Fair?”
What has prompted this change — the “downgrading” of Mexico (in essence) from an Alert to a Warning? The sad facts are…[read more]
The U.S. State Department has issued an updated Travel Alert for Mexico that is already creating debate amongst city leaders and tourism officials in Mexico. So the question once again comes up: is the most recent State Department Travel Alert on Mexico fair, or justified, given the security conditions in Mexico?
Frankly, it’s a difficult question to answer — because few of us have access to the kind of information that Embassy and Consular staff in Mexico likely have, nor do we necessarily know the specifics of any of the cases that are filed by U.S. citizens (or dual-nationals). What most of us hear is from media sources (in the U.S. or in Mexico), or — in some cases — based on research or data provided by local, State or Federal sources in Mexico.
What all of us can look at are a few publicly-available facts…[read more]