Despite a State Department travel warning, tourism in Los Cabos rebounded strongly in October, tourism officials tell Travel Agent.
According to newly released data from the Los Cabos Tourism Board and the Hotel Association of Los Cabos, hotel occupancy in the destination rebounded by 21 percentage points in October, climbing to 61 percent from 40 percent in September. Visitor arrivals, which declined for the first time in three years, by 2 percent, in September, jumped up 8.8 percent.
Overall, visitation was up 8.8 percent year over year in October.
The news follows an aggressive $47 million investment in security the destination has undertaken since the State Department issued a Mexico travel warning that included Los Cabos in late August.
“I think the reception has been very positive,” Rodrigo Esponda, managing director of the Los Cabos Tourism Board, tells Travel Agent of the reaction to the security plan. “We have a large base of visitors, so they know that the situation at the destination is perfectly fine.”
In response to the State Department travel warning, as well as incidents like the early August shooting on a beach reportedly frequented by tourists, the destination implemented a five-point security plan in a partnership between the public and private sector. The plan includes the creation of a “rapid response network” to detect suspicious activity and alert the appropriate authorities; adding more than 200 new security cameras by the end of the year; building a new marine base to manage the expanded surveillance system and aid law enforcement; organizing a hotel security committee to share best practices; and setting new training and security protocols aligned with OSAC (Overseas Security Advisory Council) standards.
“I think it’s incredible how from last October to this October we have added 2,800 hotel rooms, and with that we have been maintaining ADR and occupancy,” Rodrigo says. According to the latest stats, revenue per available room (RevPar) increased 11 percent from January through October, and after September rebounded to the same rates as in August. The additional 2,800 hotel rooms represent a 25 percent growth in the destination’s hotel inventory.
The latest numbers come ahead of what could be a busy holiday travel season for Los Cabos. Esponda notes that 75 percent of the destination’s visitors are from the United States, so many properties are hosting special events for Thanksgiving.
Looking further ahead, Los Cabos is planning to keep improving its communications with travel agents, including with the launch of a new B2B website at visitloscabos.travel in January 2018, Esponda says.
“For us it’s very important that the travel agent community knows they can rely on the Los Cabos Tourism Board for any data or questions they might have,” Esponda says.
The new B2B website will have a section dedicated to travel agents that will include photos, itineraries and example videos they can share with clients.
“It will be a general way to keep in communication on a constant basis with the travel agent community,” Esponda says.