It’s a must-see attraction for those who wander across the U.S.-Mexico border, into Tijuana’s Avenida Revolución. The street is lined with colorful displays of art, flavors, and of course the world-famous zebra donkey.
Mario Rivas has been working in the Revolución for four years as owner of “Junior”, one of several zebra donkeys in the area. For more than 100 years, tourists have stopped by to snap a photo next to the colorful donkeys disguised in zebra stripes.
[GALLERY] 'Zebra Donkey' Merchants Say There is Decline in Tourists
But since the beginning of the year, Rivas said he’s noticed a decline in visitors from the U.S.
He added he believes it’s due to President Donald Trump’s stance on immigration. Rivas said people are afraid to travel to Tijuana without a guaranteed return.
But that’s not the only problem merchants like Rivas are facing.
The tourists who do visit the Revolución aren’t necessarily willing to pay for a picture with the zebra donkeys. In this digital age, people are instead opting to snap a picture with their own cell phones. The reality is that fewer people want a physical copy of a photo.
Now merchants like Rivas are competing with cell phone cameras to capture the attention of tourists. So much so, that the price for a photo next to a zebra donkey has dropped from more than $5 to just under $2. Now in a matter of seconds you can have a digital copy of that photo ready to share on social media.
One thing is for sure, the zebra donkey is a one-of-a-kind species; the product of creative and clever locals. Whether you’re visiting for the first time or lived in the area your whole life, a photo next to this cultural icon should be on your to-do list.