Que Pasa in Baja?

BY: OLIVER QUINTERO

Money for tourism. Our state government, though the tourism office, gave around $190,000 USD to Baja tourist businesses. The money is given to them in order to fix their place of business up, buy equipment, and build infrastructure. Although they do have to pay it back, it’s a no interest loan which is always fun. The money was distributed between 18 small companies in the five municipalities of our state.

Oscar Escobedo, head of the state tourism office, said it’s a priority for the state government to promote tourism. Well, yeah, he’s going to say that, tourism is his job. Duh.

Ensenada in California. Efrain Kantel, director of international relations for Ensenada, said that Ensenada organized an event called “Mexican Wine Country Tour” at the Woman’s Club in Downey California. They will show videos, promotions, and information to more than 100 leaders of the Latino community there.  Participating will be business owners, politicians and councilchicks. This was Ensenada Mayor Gilberto Hirata’s bright idea, and was executed with help from the Mexican tourism office in LA and the director of LA Angelina News, Sara Mijares.  “The idea,” the mayor said, “is not only to bring tourism here, but also to strengthen our relations with leaders in the U.S.”.

Naked bike ride?  Or not? Around 50 people biked along the main boulevard in Ensenada for their version of the World Naked Bike Ride which uses as its motto “as bare as you dare”. Nobody got really naked during the event, although there were some shirtless people and some bikinis, but nobody took all their clothes off like in other countries. (Google it, you will be, (pick one), shocked, titillated, disgusted, or intrigued.  If you see anything you haven’t seen before, what planet are you from?

The decision not to get naked could have something to do with a statement released by the local police department prior to the event. They threatened to arrest anyone who got naked and they quoted the law that allowed them to do so.

Lower crime rate in Rosarito. Local mayor Silvano Abarca, said due to a heroic effort by city officials, Rosarito has seen a decrease of 50% in the crime rate as compared to last year. He said the military, federal police, and state police have been helping also.

“Although there are still a few criminal gangs around Rosarito, we have been working to lower the crime rate and we have been getting good results.” Said the Mayor.

Underwater Park Update. The military ship Uribe is almost ready to be scuttled, which could happen as early as September this year, said Francisco Ussel, president of the Foundation of Artificial Reefs of Baja (a foundation pop up specifically for this project). He said that around $630,000 USD is going to be spent on the first stage of the project (which finishes when the ship hits bottom), and that although they already have most of the money needed for this stage, they will need lots more for the next four stages. The park is projected to cost around $9.3 million USD when finished and Francisco is asking the business community and anyone who would like to pitch in to visit their new website www.rosaritounderwaterpark.com. Yousa! That’s a lot of dinero to sink into a sunk wreck.

Realtors start licensing. The process to get real estate agents licensed is under way, and many Rosarito agents already have taken their prep classes, which was the first step. There are two principle real estate associations in Rosarito: APIR and AMPI. Around 90 independent agents and agents from both associations have already taken the classes but only the ones from APIR have waltzed off with their certificates so far.

The class organized by AMPI was larger because that one had a translator in some of the subjects in order to give the foreign agents a hand. A requisite for foreigners to get the license is to have an FM2

If you’re interested in getting your license contact Maria Minondo, president of AMPI, at 661 1126174.

Wine Parties Here. Pro-Vino, the association of wineries in charge of promoting local wineries, winos, and their events, invited us to their press conference for this year’s “Fiestas de la Vendimia” that will go from the 7th to the 23rd of August. This year celebrates the 25th anniversary of the very successful wine parties and they’re saying that 95% occupancy is expected state wide during these days due mostly to national tourists from the mainland, so you can forget about booking something in the valley, it’s too late now, you will be lucky to get something in Ensenada and that’s only a maybe. There are 46 official events on the calendar with 60 wineries participating this year. For more information on the events and to get tickets go to www.provinoac.org.

Better medical tourism. The state government just started a new gig they’re calling, “Program to strengthen medical tourism” which will give up to $1,730 USD to 200 doctors or business related to the medical industry in order for them to improve their image, print bilingual information, or learn the English language. “This is focused on attaining and retaining the flow of foreign tourists that are in search of a medical procedure here in Baja”, said Carlo Bonafonte head of the State Economy Office.

We are loved. Baja hotels have seen a rise in occupancy even for weekends that have no holidays, crowed Oscar Escobedo, head of state tourism.

“We have been trying to support events as this has been a good way to drive more tourists here,” he bragged.  He also took credit for last weekend’s 85% occupancy in Ensenada and Tecate and we were 90% full in Rosarito because of the events. “This is leading us to an excellent 4th of July weekend. We have great expectations for this summer season, and it could easily break the record of the last eight years”, gushed Escobedo. ,