Officials here plan to close a portion of Revolution Avenue, downtown's main street, for five nights in anticipation of a round-the-clock street party during the week of Super Bowl XXII.
The street closure is part of a wide-ranging effort by Tijuana promoters eager to capture a portion of the massive expenditures expected to be generated by visitors to the San Diego area during the week of the Super Bowl, which takes place on Jan. 31. Media-conscious authorities here have dubbed their portion of the extravaganza as "Super Fiesta Tijuana '88."
"We're trying to put together some special things to attract people," said Alfonso Bustamante Jr., president of the Tijuana Convention and Visitors Bureau, which represents business and city interests. "It's a great opportunity for us."
Tijuana officials are expecting tens of thousands of additional visitors during Super Bowl week; many hotels are already booked, they said. Special concerts, dances and other events are scheduled to be held almost daily, particularly in the final days leading up to the Super Bowl. Security will be tightened and the city is expected to be spruced up in an effort to put on its best face for the visitors.
Big Return Expected
Citywide, Bustamante said, merchants, hotel owners and other businesses hope to gross up to $10 million from Super Bowl-related visitors.
Apart from the tourist dollars, authorities here are anxious to drum up some positive media coverage for a fast-growing city that still suffers from its reputation as a sleazy border town.
Although the low-rent, good-time cantinas are still in evidence, officials in this bustling municipality of more than 1 million residents prefer to present the city to the international press as a thriving capital of commerce and tourism. Image-conscious authorities here generally avoid discussions of poverty, although the city is ringed by ramshackle neighborhoods bursting with impoverished migrants.
Eager to advance an upbeat image, the visitors bureau here is hosting a 10-hour party for about 2,500 journalists, National Football League bigwigs and VIPs on Jan. 27. The news people and others are to be bused south of the border courtesy of a corporate sponsor, and, afterward feted with food, liquor, gifts and various forms of entertainment, including a stop at Caliente Race Track to watch the greyhounds and a visit to the jai alai games at the Fronton Palacio.
"This might be the greatest party a lot of these people will ever see," said Bustamante, whose family owns the huge Fiesta Americana Hotel here. "We want to give them a really good show. There's going to be press from around the world here."
On Jan. 30, a special, out-of-season bullfight is also scheduled to be held in Tijuana for the benefit of visitors.
Between Jan. 27 and 31, said Bustamante, a four-block stretch of Revolution Avenue, the main tourist street downtown, will be closed to vehicular traffic between 6 p.m. and 11 p.m. The plan is to have a five-day Super Bowl street festival.
In an effort to sell the city, Bustamante added, Tijuana businesses are pitching in about $100,000 for the various promotional activities during Super Bowl week. Among other things, Tijuana officials plan to place booths in major San Diego hotels informing visitors how to get south of the border and detailing what attractions are available.
"It should be a good time," Bustamante said.