TREND: The economic sectors of the Mexican state of Baja California Sur are working together to revive the tourism industry in the southern tip of the Baja Peninsula. Here lies Los Cabos, a popular destination for foreigners wishing to settle Mexico and for visitors alike. Renewed health protocols and an orderly return to daily life is the city’s strategy for survival amidst the pandemic and the economic downturn. The state government announced that it would allow essential activities and the gradual reopening of beaches to start on June 15.
•Los Cabos is an important destination for foreigners remaining in Mexico. The area has adapted its businesses and infrastructure to international visitors more than many other places in the country. Nearly 20,000 foreigners, mostly Americans and Canadians of retirement age, make Baja California Sur a permanent or seasonal home; half of them do so in Los Cabos. This community depends on the continuous flow of tourism to sustain complementary activities like real estate or international transportation. The availability of affordable medical services and pharmacies are essential factors for those moving to Los Cabos, and the pandemic put a strain on clinics and hospitals nationally.
•Reactivation will go through five phases. The first one allows for travelers’ limited arrival in the second half of June and limits the use of beaches and infrastructure at 30 percent capacity. The second phase includes resuming most flights from other countries to SJD in July. The third phase is when authorities hope that at least half of the estimated visitors return to the area for the months of August and September. The last quarter of the year makes up the fourth phase; it could be adjusted depending on how well health protocols and businesses respond to a higher number of tourists. The last stage will begin in 2021 when the industry expects to recover 60 percent of visitors.
•The city received the “Safe Travels” seal by the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC). Los Cabos is among the first approved destinations in Mexico to obtain it, along with Cancún. For the city, this means that hotels, transportation services, restaurants, car rental companies, and incoming cruises, among others, will observe strict health and hygiene standards. The stamp lets travelers know that it is safe to visit these places. It is a practice similar to the Blue Flag program by the Foundation for Environmental Education, where beaches and marinas are certified as sustainable, safe, and positive for social development. Los Cabos is also part of this initiative, with 19 Blue Flag beaches.
TAKEAWAY: Los Cabos has been deeply affected by the loss of tourist activities; however, it seems poised to make a fast comeback. Years of being a thriving destination for international visitors and foreign residents have allowed the city to understand its place in the global industry. It looks like it is ready to reopen and let people enjoy the summer, as long as authorities remain confident about how the pandemic is being handled locally.
* Spotlight by Sergio Mendoza, Senior Consultant at Riskop. Riskop is a consulting firm focused on strategic intelligence and risk mitigation for investors and decision-makers in complex sociopolitical environments. It is located in Monterrey, Mexico. Twitter: @RiskopMx