COVID-19 Reshapes Cabo’s Future

COVID-19 Reshapes Cabo’s Future

As the pandemic of 2020 paralyzed the world, many tourism destinations became decimated. Last week many resorts said they’re ready to welcome domestic and international travelers. Recently the Los Cabos Tourism Board shared its reopening plan for international travel. This included new health and safety guidelines for hotels, restaurants and tour operators. There is a strong financial motivation to build confidence with travelers. Over 80% of international arrivals to Los Cabos come from the United States. The five-phase reopening plan will start June 1 and will last through Q1 2021.

In Los Cabos communities rely on tourism dollars to support their local economy. COVID-19 wiped them out.

Los Cabos is the region in southern Baja California on the west end of the country. They were not spared. Popularly known as “Cabo”, the state continues to grow and is now labeled a luxury destination. In the 1990’s the city of Cabo San Lucas grew in notoriety by Sammy Hagar with his Cabo Wabo brand tequila and bar. Since then other areas have become popular for those seeking an escape.

Luxury Tourist Destination

The Pacific side of Cabo is becoming overloaded with new developments. Once sleepy and traditional Mexico-Cabo has become monetized by foreign investors. Northern-Pacific communities like the popular surfing town of Cerritos is booming. Todos Santos with unique cultural offerings, food and art, has seen an insurgence of “Gringos” settling down in their city. With this brings in revenue and leads to more foreign investments.

Back at the center of the peninsula the city of San Jose del Cabo is near SJD international airport. Last year “Los Cabos Airport” welcomed over 2-1/2 million visitors according to the Los Cabos Tourism Board.

The New Cabo

The East Cape hosts Los Barriles and Cabo Pulmo among other small communities. The Ritz-Carlton Reserve Zadun in Puerto Los Cabos recently hosted Gwyneth Paltrow’s bachelorette party. These areas have seen an insurgence in luxury foreign tourism and investments.

La Paz, the state capital, has been growing in tourism and recently gained a port from mainland Mexico. Daily ferries come from Mazatlan, Sinaloa bringing thousands of people.

Further north once simple local towns are seeing an insurgence of visitors. Loretto and Mulege have seen an huge uptake in tourism over the past few years. Less population and mega-resorts seem to be attractive to foreigners. Property lots that were once had for $10-$20,000 can now fetch upwards of $100,000 USD.

This interest has led to new resort communities selling a piece of paradise. New daily frequency in private transfers from Cabo airport are becoming normal. And they are not cheap. A private SUV from Cabo Airport to La Paz for 6 people will cost near $300 USD one way. This popularity created daily shuttle bus service to La Paz 6 times a day. That seat will set you back $50 one way per person.

Pandemic in Cabo

In March the money pipeline dried up.

COVID-19 shut the region down to a halt. Referred to as “high-season”, Q1 caters to spring breakers from the USA looking for a winter retreat. April – May the holy months brings nationals from mainland Mexico to take an extended break. This all brings much-needed revenue to the region.

At the end of March Cabo became an evacuation zone as foreigners looked to get a “last flight” back home. National’s cancelled their upcoming trips. Those that planned a wedding or vacation in the coming months called and cancelled. Many of the resorts closed and forced to lay off staff. Cabo became a ghost town. Government asked business to close and invoked a stay-home order with curfew. Many of the citizens complied.

Cabo’s Economy & Safety

The USA’s response to the pandemic created stimulus packages for businesses and citizens. In Mexico there are no stimulus programs. No furlough unemployment for 90% of the workforce. Many workers that operate tourism for visitors live paycheck to paycheck. Many earn under $10,000 a year to feed and house their families.

San José del Cabo and Cabo San Lucas are once again welcoming international tourism as of late June.

Baja’s Governor, Carlos Mendoza Davis, took immediate action and developed a safety program. Four of the state’s municipalities have closed beaches to prevent further infections. As of July 1st, the only beaches open in the state are in Los Cabos with 30% of capacity and restricted hours. Guided by strict safety protocols, restaurants are operating at limited capacities. San Jose del Cabo Mayor, Armida Castro Guzmán, said 11 beaches in the area monitored by police for safety.

Cabo Tourism Restarting

Edgar Arroyo, operations manager at an luxury concierge in Cabo San Lucas is optimistic. “I’m getting more calls and interest from people wanting to come back to Cabo. They are planning travel for summer and have the requests I like to hear” said Arroyo. Many are waiting for flights and monitoring safety protocols at SJD Airport.

The Los Cabos region is reopening. The international terminal 2 at Los Cabos Airport is open on July 15th, 2020. Currently Terminal 1 is welcoming 400-600 tourists a day. UK airlines along with Canadian have opted to wait until the end of December to resume flights to Cabo. Cabo airport transportation companies are getting business again. Los Cabos resorts are calling workers back. This means new, strict regulations for operators and visitors to follow.

Proper international adoption of safety protocols and social distancing is the new normal. Los Cabos can once again flourish and the citizens can again feed their families.

A list of current COVID-19 safety protocols and resort reopening can be found on Los Cabos Airport’s website.

In Los Cabos communities rely on tourism dollars to support their local economy. COVID-19 wiped them out.

Los Cabos is the region in southern Baja California on the west end of the country. They were not spared. Popularly known as “Cabo”, the state continues to grow and is now labeled a luxury destination. In the 1990’s the city of Cabo San Lucas grew in notoriety by Sammy Hagar with his Cabo Wabo brand tequila and bar. Since then other areas have become popular for those seeking an escape.

Luxury Tourist Destination

The Pacific side of Cabo is becoming overloaded with new developments. Once sleepy and traditional Mexico-Cabo has become monetized by foreign investors. Northern-Pacific communities like the popular surfing town of Cerritos is booming. Todos Santos with unique cultural offerings, food and art, has seen an insurgence of “Gringos” settling down in their city. With this brings in revenue and leads to more foreign investments.

Back at the center of the peninsula the city of San Jose del Cabo is near SJD international airport. Last year “Los Cabos Airport” welcomed over 2-1/2 million visitors according to the Los Cabos Tourism Board.

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