Los Cabos is Mexico’s top recovering destination with record visitation numbers in recent months and sustained growth in domestic and international arrivals year-to-date. The Baja beach resort’s security-centered approach has been critical to the reactivation of the destination’s travel activity, and is on its way to seeing pre-pandemic visitor levels by the end of summer 2021.
Last month, Los Cabos welcomed over 187,150 visitors, a remarkable 60.4 percent growth when compared to the previous month and 28 percent compound annual growth (CAGR). Los Cabos’ international visitation in March 2021 was 56 percent of the visitation in March 2019, which is nearly 25 percentage points higher compared to other top tourist destinations in Mexico.
The steady tourism recovery has been fueled by Los Cabos’ safety-centered initiative, Los Cabos with Care – A Safer Way to Get Away. This holistic program is focused on commitment to the care and well-being of the whole destination from visitors, community, businesses and the environment, aiming to foster growth for all.
“As a luxury destination, we aim to offer the highest standard of care to all in Los Cabos. We understand the importance of providing a safe and secure environment to support our community that is reliant on tourism. Although we still have a long road ahead of us to achieve a full recovery, we are encouraged by the trust of our travelers and the strong partnerships we have developed to maintain our security-centered approach,” said Rodrigo Esponda, Managing Director of Los Cabos Tourism Board.
Los Cabos’ successful business model has played a critical role on the destination’s response to ongoing challenges, which is centered on three core principles:
People: This means protecting and supporting the local community, businesses and visitors. Examples of Los Cabos’ efforts include strict health and safety protocols, cleanness certifications and participation in the Community Alliance of Baja California Sur, a non-profit coalition formed in response to the shortage of medical and food supplies caused by the pandemic to support the local community.
Partnerships: Partnerships have allowed for a smooth and widely supported implementation of protocols. Strong public-private sector alliances and partners like Intertek Cristal – a leader health and safety protocols standards; and Sharecare – which established Los Cabos as the world’s first travel destination to be health security VERIFIEDTM – are just a few of the partnerships paving the way to recovery.
Purposeful Planning: From reopening the destination to managing ongoing changes in demand and advance bookings from visitors, Los Cabos has had a look ahead in order to make decisions rooted in data. In January 2021, Los Cabos used its data-driven model to secure destination-wide COVID-19 tests and medical personnel to support all international visitors.
As Los Cabos continues its way to recovery, the United States plays an important role being the main sourcing market for the destination comprising of 80 percent of all international visitors.
Airline seats and routes from the U.S. have recovered 100 percent, projecting a positive growth trend into summer. And the destination is seeing a 22.2 percent increase in the number of scheduled airline seats from the U.S. in the planning for availability over the next six months. The growing inventory is bolstered by added connectivity from established and new airlines such as Frontier, which started in March with routes from Las Vegas; Spirit, which is starting in May with a route from Los Angeles; JetBlue, which is starting in June with routes from Los Angeles and New York; and JSX, which returns this summer with routes from Los Angeles.
The destination is starting to once again host international events: the ATP Tour is taking place in July 2021, and the Los Cabos Film Festival is planned for November 2021 as a hybrid online and virtual model. The overall momentum has also led to a surge invisitation from affluent travelers arriving via private aviation, which has experienced a 31 percent growth, and via private yachts to the Los Cabos Marina, which has experienced a 30 percent growth.
A unique business model and security-centered approach have helped Los Cabos play an important role in the steady recovery of the destination and helped to boost confidence and trust from national and international travelers, possibly aiding other destinations in what works.