SAN DIEGO (Border Report) — It’s been a little more than a year since the COVID-19 restrictions on essential travel were lifted along the border and it appears border crossings are above pre-pandemic levels.

Kenia Zamarripa, executive director of International Business Affairs for the San Diego Chamber of Commerce, said the increase in border travel is creating a boon to the border economy, especially in the tourism and commercial sectors.

According to figures provided by U.S. Customs and Border Protection, there were about 7.6 million crossings in February 2020 just before the pandemic began at the San Ysidro Port of Entry between San Diego and Tijuana.

For September of this year, the latest figures available, 8.7 million crossings were recorded.

“We’ve seen that transborder crossings are higher in numbers than what we saw registered prior to the pandemic,” said Zamarripa. “This is why we have high expectations to continue seeing more of an economic boost to the economy in the south region of the county.”

And she said there is much to look forward to as the holiday season arrives.

“Without a doubt there’s a lot of anticipation with the beginning of the holiday shopping season where previously we saw some of the biggest losses when compared to other years,” said Zamarripa. “The retail and tourist sectors have been reactivated and this should fuel the economic recovery.”

As for her counterpart in Baja California, Daylín García Ruvalcaba stated things are also looking positive for retailers south of the border with more cross-border traffic.

And she stated there’s still work to be done to prioritize faster crossing times while lowering instances of violence in cities such as Tijuana.

She believes faster crossing times in each direction can only benefit the entire region.