Good cheer with the Los Cabos Tourism Board's Rodrigo Esponda
Good cheer with the Los Cabos Tourism Board's Rodrigo Esponda.

Mid-market clients can soak up Los Cabos’ luxe vibe and still get value

TORONTO — Los Cabos’ biggest market out of Canada is still the West but the destination is also making inroads with travellers from Ontario and the east, says Rodrigo Esponda, Managing Director of the Los Cabos Tourism Board. “We need more Canadians especially from the Toronto area. And we’re going to get them,” he said to cheers at last night’s industry event at the Shangri-La Toronto.

Tour operators, travel agents and the media came out to hear the latest Los Cabos news from Esponda, a well-known face in Toronto from his stints as Director, Canada and Regional Director, North America for the Mexico Tourism Board. He stepped down from his MTB post in September 2016 “and Los Cabos called me the very next day”.

Now based in Los Cabos, Esponda says the destination is known for its luxury boutique hotels and has a very high appeal for the luxury market. When he first got his new job, he toured some of Los Cabos’ top properties, asking about rates. “They would tell me the rate was $3,500 per night. And I would ask about occupancy, and it was 65%. It’s incredible.”

New resorts opening soon (or open now) include Le Blanc Spa Resort Los Cabos, Krystal Grand Los Cabos and Montage Los Cabos. More big-name luxury brands opening properties in Los Cabos over the next few years range from Nobu to Ritz-Carlton Reserve, and Four Seasons to St. Regis.

“Los Cabos has 16,000 rooms right now and will grow by 4,000 more over the next few years,” said Esponda. “The destination has been growing in a very sustainable way.”

While many of Los Cabos’ resorts skew high-end, there are moderate options too, he added. About 70% of the resorts are EP.

Already home to 15 golf courses, including the only Tiger Woods-designed golf course, Los Cabos is getting four more in the near future. The destination is also a major draw for sport fishing enthusiasts. And, increasingly, brides and grooms. “It’s a dry climate – no humidity. Brides love it,” said Esponda. Los Cabos gets 350 sunny days per year.

Mexico Tourism Board's Susana Moreno and Cesar Mendoza

Mexico Tourism Board’s Susana Moreno and Cesar Mendoza.

The Mexico Tourism Board’s new Regional Director, Canada was also at last night’s event. César Mendoza, in the job since March 2017, is no stranger to Toronto, have lived and worked here from 2000 to 2008 with the Mexico Trade Commission. From 2010 to 2014 he was headed up the Mexico Tourism Board’s Vancouver office, then did three years at the Washington, D.C. office.

Month over month, from April 2016 to April 2017, Canadian visits to Mexico were up 17%, said Mendoza. Projected growth for the Canadian market for 2017 is 8 or 9%, he added. “The Canadian dollar has appreciated against the peso, so that’s helping us. Our goal is to bring in more Canadians and increase our market share.”

The MTB also wants to differentiate Mexico from other sun spots, emphasizing new destinations and new product. “We all have beaches. Mexico also has culture and beautiful historic cities and incredible dining.”

Mendoza also knows that the Canadian market is price-sensitive. “At the end of the day, we want to promote the value of Mexico. Not just the price.”