Director of the Tourism Trust of Los Cabos
Rodrigo Esponda exemplifies leadership, experience and a deep love for Los Cabos. After having worked in the tourism sector within the former CPTM, he has spent the last three years leading the Tourism Trust of Los Cabos. Rodrigo is a living example of how managing projects through positive relationships and hard work can attract the world’s attention.
“My previous experience and relationship with the decision makers in the airline industry and commercial companies have allowed me to generate additional attention for this destination. That’s because I know how things works here and what elements are necessary to make sure companies and commercial partners have a positive opinion about Los Cabos.
Fortunately, we are well aware of the relevant media in each market and the processes that must be followed to attract a conference. It increases the number of opportunities.”
One of Rodrigo’s passions is diving with bull sharks in Cabo Pulmo. He also enjoys driving the road through Miraflores, Santiago, and El Triunfo to get there.
“I have dived elsewhere but I like what is happening in Cabo Pulmo. It’s incredible how it has managed to preserve the biodiversity of the Sea of Cortez. Sharks are spectacular! I am generally there on the weekends and am able to enjoy this paradise among the sharks, sea turtles and dolphins. It is rare to find such an experience anywhere else. It really gave me a totally different perspective of what this destination truly is and helped me understand all the attractions, diversity and unique components that make up Los Cabos.”
10 New Experiences:
“10 New Experiences of Los Cabos is perhaps our most important product development project. It is designed to be something that lasts. We have been working on it for two years and are now in the demonstration stage with the tour operators and DMC’s. We want them to spread the word with their partners. In addition, to create some excitement with influencers and the media, in July we invite Youtuber Alan Estrada to do five of the 10 experiences.”
It is important to note that the experiences are not limited to Los Cabos. For visitors who may not know the location of the municipal borders and that the distance between one and the other is short, they learn there are options available to discover the entire peninsula in about 12 days. It should be noted that at Los Cabos downtown the kilometer 0 of the federal highway is found!
“Everything is relevant in an environment as competitive as it is today. Travelers choose a destination through their networks and digital media. They have so many options and they can access them in minutes. We immediately compete with more destinations.”
- The Amazing Tenors
- Pueblo-Style Weddings
- Mountain Biking + Glamping
- Art To Table
- El Triunfo
- Meet The Locals
- Farm To Table
- Rustic Cuisine
- Todos Santos
- Beyond The Bridge
Important trends today are social interaction and gastronomy. People travel not only to meet a chef or dine at a restaurant but also to experience the culture and what’s behind it. For example, people are interested in seeing how organic farms in Los Cabos have collaborated on sustainability.
“We have many advantages here and shared anecdotes attract travelers. If we put them together, they present an integrated experience. That’s exactly what we are doing with the 10 New Experiences. We elevate the destination to a higher competitive level. We also give people many more reasons to come back. Those who return will find and rediscover why this destination is magical.”
“Our advantage is that the diversity of activities we offer creates a unique combination. We have the desert, the sea and the mountains combined with a high level of service and hospitality in first-class hotels. This makes it possible for Los Cabos to compete with a very interesting mix of other destinations.”
Los Cabos competes with destinations such as Hawaii, Ft. Lauderdale, Miami, some Caribbean destinations, Dubai, France, England, Uruguay, Argentina, Croatia, Asia, Thai, and Malaysia.
What’s one of your main challenges?
The main challenge is the dizzying growth rate of recent years. We have had to develop very specific strategic plans to ensure that the destination continues to grow in a safe way and to balance the growth of the inventory with connectivity and the correct seating numbers in the appropriate markets.
The destination proposal will always be a value proposition. We offer visitors a unique experience and a variety of products such as all-inclusive vacations, luxury accommodations, and timeshares. There is a balance between all the types of products.
London to Los Cabos Flight
The European market will mark a paradigm shift in the history of this destination. We have managed to open borders that will surely remain open in the future. The inaugural flight of the TUE airline will launch on Thursday, November 7 at 3:00 pm. It will be a direct 12-hour flight from London.
The process for establishing this flight was long and arduous. The first conversation with the airline was in November 2016. The initial response was that it was not viable. After reviewing the proposal, the first positive meeting came in Barcelona in January of the following year with the planning team. Planning team members are responsible for reviewing all the components that can make a flight efficient and profitable. The incentive package we were offering between the airport and the destination was attractive and opened the door for meetings with the airline management team.
In the meantime, we developed a plan that we were comfortable with. Fortunately, Los Cabos has a very committed private sector that was willing to contribute resources and strategy. This makes of Los Cabos a very attractive destination.
An estimated 1,200 European visitors came to Los Cabos in May of this year. That is double the amount compared to the same month last year. It is estimated the number of European visitors will reach 100,000 annually in two to three years.
What other markets are in the spotlight?
Well, the Australian market has always been very attractive. Australians have very interesting travel patterns. They book their trips one year in advance. Australia seems a great distance away, but we could be the destination they aspire to.
Korea is another interesting market. Koreans are very attracted to golf, which is a strong component of our destination and one we will continue to promote.
Finally, we have three specific markets in South America that we are working on: Colombia, Brazil, and Argentina. Travelers come via Mexico City with some very easy connections. We are also in discussions about a direct flight from Panama.
Promotional Tourism Trust
This private trust is already fully established. FIPROTUR is made up of the Hotel Association and Asudestico. However, the goal is to involve other participants in the tourism value chain in Los Cabos. Chambers of Commerce, DMC, airports, the convention center, and real estate companies are also interested in participating.
The Los Angeles office will serve as the Los Cabos promotion headquarters. It opened on September 1 and will be part of the services the private trust is now providing. Since the entire building can be used by the members of the trust, it will offer added value to FIPROTUR members.
We are convinced that this formula will complement the resources that are collected through the Los Cabos Tourism Trust and will positively effect what happens in other tourist destinations in Mexico.
Fortunately, Los Cabos has a number of diverse events throughout the year such as the Los Cabos Half Marathon, Gala de Danza, Los Cabos Open of Surf, ATP , Los Cabos tennis tournament, Cabos Billfish Tournament, Bisbee’s Black & Blue Marlin Tournament, Ironman, Los Cabos International Film Festival, Sabor a Cabo and Sabor a Cabo Rural.
Los Cabos and its surroundings have proven to be dynamic destinations. New events are popping up all the time, such as San Jose Restaurant Week, Probemos Mexico and others. The number continues to grow year after year.
In San Jose del Cabo, we are working on five new festivals that we will launch soon that highlight traditional dates in Mexico. In Cabo San Lucas, Amelia Wilkes Square has been brought to life again. It coincides with KM.0 and is a work in progress. The plan is to integrate the celebration within the local community.
We are working hard and that is what allows us to differentiate ourselves and provide both visitors and locals new things to enjoy. It gives people a reason to experience this destination.