New hotels, new infrastructure developments, a rise in tourism numbers and a new five-point action plan to ensure a secure travel environment: Los Cabos Tourism Board’s managing director, Rodrigo Esponda, gave us the 4-1-1 on what’s new in Los Cabos.
Paloma Villaverde de Rico (PVR): What is at the core of the surge in international tourist arrivals to Los Cabos?
Rodrigo Esponda (RE): As a destination that welcomes more than 2 million international visitors from all over the world, Los Cabos stands alone as the crown jewel of destinations in Mexico. Its proximity to the United States with more than 500 weekly frequencies, exceptional weather all year round, natural landscapes offering authentic experiences and its outstanding customer service are some of the characteristics that make Los Cabos a preferred destination.
Additionally, at the core of the success that sets Los Cabos apart is its lively and authentic spirit of the community. Ninety percent of people that live in Los Cabos, work directly or indirectly in tourism and are fully committed to the destination’s success which is a true testament of Los Cabos commitment to the travel industry and international visitors.
PVR: How much of that is coming from the U.S.?
RE: The United States is our main source market accounting for 83.2 percent of all tourist arrivals, followed by Canada and Australia. As a tourist destination, Los Cabos is experiencing remarkable of growth, doubling the pace of Mexico as a whole at 20 percent. Currently, we have 22 direct flights connecting six cities in the U.S. which are our top international sourcing markets: LA, Dallas, Phoenix, San Francisco, San Diego and Houston.
Unlike other destinations, Los Cabos constant growth is due in part to our loyal visitors. Seven out of ten visitors are repeat tourists who have been coming to the destination for several years and in many cases, for generations. We are certain this pattern will continue to flourish and support the overall growth of the tourism economy of Los Cabos.
PVR: Are there more hotels to occupy, thus the rise in hotel occupancy?
RE: Los Cabos is experiencing an infrastructure boom to meet demand for growing connectivity and occupancy. We are growing quick and strategically. Our strategy for growth is to make Los Cabos not just a destination of choice for visitors but also for the local community who make Los Cabos the amazing place that it is.
Hotel occupancy in 2017 has been extraordinary. We have had a 6 percent increase over last years and up to 15 percent on RevPar. Additionally, the industry in Los Cabos is split strategically to provide visitors with hotel and residential options: 1/3 all-inclusive, 1/3 timeshare and 1/3 European plan.
PVR: What are the destination’s most recent tourism investments (airport, new roads, safety improvements, etc)?
RE: Thanks to the surge in tourist arrivals and connectivity growth, international and national investors, and local authorities continue to invest in the destination as a testament to Los Cabos’ proven return on investment.
Currently, we have over $900 million investment from hotel chains that are opening new properties from 2017-2021. In addition, the airport is also undergoing a renovation and launching a new terminal in 2018, which represents a more than $50 million investment.
Regarding security, the public and private sector have invested more than $47 million dollars in 2017 launching a new five-point action plan to ensure a secure travel environment to all travelers and the community. The CABOS plan includes the following:1. Creating a “Rapid Response Network”: Developing a real-time and ongoing communications “Rapid Response” network with local hoteliers and businesses to encourage information sharing of any suspicious activity or reported incidents and to alert appropriate authorities and law enforcement.
1. Creating a “Rapid Response Network”: Developing a real-time and ongoing communications “Rapid Response” network with local hoteliers and businesses to encourage information sharing of any suspicious activity or reported incidents and to alert appropriate authorities and law enforcement.
2. Accelerating the Security Surveillance System Expansion: We are extending our surveillance camera network across the destination—from San Jose del Cabo, through the corridor and across Cabo San Lucas. Our goal is to install more than 200 new cameras, especially in high-traffic tourist areas, by the end of the year, bringing the total to 250 from the current 40 in place.
3. Building a New Marine Base: Working with state, local and federal authorities, we are significantly increasing the presence of the Mexican Marine Corps to manage the expanded security surveillance system and amplify ongoing law enforcement activity. The base will open in Q2 2018.
4. Organizing a Hotel Security Committee: Working with the Hotel Association, the new Committee meets bi-weekly to address any concerns, share best practices and ensure security protocols at all area hotels are meeting the highest standards.
5. Setting New Training and Security Protocols: Aligned with OSAC standards (Overseas Security Advisory Council), local hoteliers and businesses are implementing new security training programs and protocols to improve preparedness.
PVR: I attended a session at Delta Vacations University, which took place in Atlanta recently, and they mentioned that from this year into 2021, there will be about 4,000 rooms added to the destination—are these figures correct and can you let me know some of the hotels that will be opening. I believe The Ritz-Carlton (is this the Zadun reserve opening in early 2018?), and Montage (early 2018 opening?) were mentioned.
RE: Currently, we have more than 72 resorts and 16,000 rooms and we are expecting 4,700 new rooms to be added from 2017-2021 from over 16 international and national hotel chains. Some of the new properties opening in 2018 include the new Nobu (the first property of Nobu in Mexico that is opening in Los Cabos), Hard Rock Hotels, Montage (the first property outside of the US will open in Los Cabos), Ritz-Carlton Reserve (the first Reserve sub brand in Mexico will open in Los Cabos and 1 of 4 in the world), Park Hyatt, Four Seasons, RIU and St. Regis (in 2021) among many others.
PVR: If there were three things a travel advisor should know about Los Cabos that makes the destination unique—things they can relate to their clients—what should those be?
RE: There are many factors that set Los Cabos apart, but most importantly, Los Cabos is a safe and secure destination. We understand the importance of offering a secure travel environment to all our visitors and together, the private and public sector along with the community are committed to this purpose. These are some factors to consider while planning your next vacations:
- Natural Landscapes: Los Cabos offers contrasting experiences ranging from the desert and mountains to the extraordinary ocean biodiversity. Tourists can select from diverse activities whether is rock climbing, snorkeling, relaxing on the beach or soaking up local culture—Los Cabos provides unlimited activities to everyone.
- Exceptional Weather and the Ultimate Backdrop: With 350 sunny days a year, Los Cabos offers a unique opportunity for meeting and events to take place any time of the year.
- Unrivaled Experience and World-Class Standards: Unlike many destinations, Los Cabos’s growth as a tourism epicenter if focused on quality over quantity. The average hotel has 250 rooms, making attention to detail and impeccable service standards a hallmark of Los Cabos’ offerings bar none.
For more information, go to visitloscabos.travel.