Ruben Reachi Lugo, secretary of tourism for Baja California Sur, Mexico, believes that the 2012 G20 Summit will showcase Los Cabos as a high-end international destination.// © 2011 Los Cabos Convention & Visitors Bureau/Grand Solmar Land’s End Resort & Spa
Los Cabos hasn’t finished expanding, as it continues to develop its infrastructure in order to host the 2012 G20 Summit as well as to live up to its reputation as a world-class destination.
“Los Cabos is a very new destination,” said Ruben Reachi Lugo, secretary of tourism for Baja California Sur, Mexico in an exclusive interview with TravelAge West. “Twenty years ago, Los Cabos had 10,000 people and, now, it contains nearly 204,000 people.”
Los Cabos — which consists of Cabo San Lucas, San Jose del Cabo, the Corridor and the East Cape — boasts 1.6 million visitors a year, making it the second-most popular destination in Mexico, after Cancun.
To support the growing demand for its high-end product as well as the recently announced news that Los Cabos will host the G20 Summit in June 2012, the destination will continue to develop new luxury hotels, a new road and a new convention center as well as update its airport. The government is investing $47 million in promotion as well as preparation for the summit.
“The state doesn’t get to be the star — the hotels in our cities will be the stars. The government needs to support the private sector and not the other way around,” said Lugo. “The governor and I believe we should follow the private sector and support them with jobs and money.”
Los Cabos Developments
A new 653,400-square-foot convention center boasting ocean views and proximity to the Club Campestre San Jose golf course, as well as to Los Cabos’ best hotels and restaurants, is currently under construction and will be able to host the G20 meetings and conference as well as other events of up to 6,000 people.
Lugo expects that the center, located in San Jose del Cabo, will be complete in May 2012. The municipality of Los Cabos endowed a 15-acre tract of land for the building, which is fueled by investments of $100 million from the federal government, $1.5 million from the State of Baja California Sur and $1 million from the Los Cabos Tourism Board.
In order to be ecologically friendly, the center will invest considerably in green technology and will recover water and use solar panels for power.
Lugo also shared plans to certify hotels and restaurants in sanitation so visitors can feel safe and comfortable when exploring.
“We want to offer better services,” said Lugo. “We have a high-end market in Los Cabos so we need to offer high-end services.”
Visitors can expect upgrades to the Los Cabos International Airport as well. Lugo, who attributes a portion of Los Cabos’ success to Virgin America’s non-stop service from the U.S. to Los Cabos, offered five times a week, is working on a Global Entry service, which he expects to offer by July 2012, allowing low-risk travelers to avoid standing in line for clearance upon arrival. Lugo added that he would like to offer pre-clearance capabilities, such as those found in the Vancouver airport.
“For those with private planes in the Orange County airport, in the future, it will not be necessary to stop in Brown Field first,” said Lugo. “I want visitors to be able to fly directly to Los Cabos and clear immigrations and customs in Los Cabos. Many commercial airlines are interested in that possibility because they operate out of airports without customs facilities.”
Also in the works is a new airport terminal. Terminal 4 will be large and modern, with more facilities. According to Lugo, guests will be able to board directly from the terminal to the plane gate.
A new road, currently unnamed, will travel from the Los Cabos International Airport directly to Cabo San Lucas.
Los Cabos already boasts an exhaustive selection of luxurious accommodations and only plans to increase its repertoire. The Wyndham Cabo San Lucas was renovated in January 2011 and the Grand Solmar Land’s End Resort & Spa, unveiled in May 2011, is the destination’s newest property. Delano Los Cabos, by the Morgans Hotel Group, is scheduled for a 2013 opening and the Ritz-Carlton Reserve Los Cabos is slated to open in 2014. Also in the pipeline are the Montage Los Cabos and the Mondrian Los Cabos.
The upgrades in infrastructure for tourism are part of Los Cabos’ preparation for the 2012 G20 Summit.
“The 2011 summit was in Cannes, France, which is a high-end destination in Europe,” said Lugo. “Los Cabos is a high-end destination, not only in Latin America, but in all of the world.”
The summit will also provide the international community the opportunity to gauge Los Cabos’ safety.
“If President Obama can travel to Los Cabos — all people can travel here,” said Lugo.
Lugo predicts that the summit will bring 9,000 visitors to Los Cabos up to one month in advance of the summit. Los Cabos expects to block nearly 11,000 of its 13,000 rooms for the event and Lugo is confident that if any city in Mexico can do it — it’s Los Cabos.
“We have enough of a hotel industry to receive this amount of people, and we can offer restaurants, travel services and transportation,” said Lugo. “Los Cabos is the best face of Mexico.”