It was once a small, quiet fishing destination at the southern tip of Mexico's Baja peninsula, but a recently released socio-economic study that reports the enormous effect sport fishing tourism brings to the area -- over a billion dollars a year - is reverberating through the country and beyond.
The comprehensive research study commissioned by The Billfish Foundation (TBF) focused on Baja Sur's "sport fishing triangle" which includes the Los Cabos communities of East Cape, San Jose del Cabo, and Cabo San Lucas.
The area in recent years has become a major North American tourist destination driven heavily by its world-class striped marlin fishery and a major provider of jobs and new dollars to Mexico's economy.
The 126 page study was conducted in 2007 and 2008 to estimate the dollars, jobs and tax revenues created by anglers in the region. It was produced by Southwick Associates, Inc. of Fernandina Beach, Fla., Nelson Resources Consulting, Inc. of Oakland Park, Fla. and Firmus Consulting of Mexico City, Mexico.
TBF, which works with governments worldwide advancing the conservation of billfish and associated species to improve the health of oceans and regional economies, has been assisting in the Baja Sur region since 2002. Dr. Russell Nelson, TBF's chief scientist along with Guillermo Alvarez, TBF's Mexican conservation director said information was needed to communicate the importance of Los Cabos fisheries to its local, state and national leaders.
Nelson said a series of surveys were conducted of visitors, both anglers and non-anglers, to gain an understanding of the number of people who fish in Los Cabos and the dollars spent. Additional surveys were conducted of various business sectors to develop the information needed to construct a model of the region's sport fishing economy. Dozens of interviews followed with business, sport fishing, political and tourism leaders to learn about the nuances of the regional economy and how it provides for visitors.
Over 24,000 jobs created, over one billion in economic activity
The study showed in 2007, 354,013 people, most all of them international visitors, fished in Los Cabos. While there they spent an estimated $633.6 million dollars for lodging, charter boats, food, transportation, tackle, fuel, and more. These expenditures started a series of cascading economic effects in the local economy, creating: