At the southern tip of the Baja California Peninsula lies one of Mexico’s top tourism hotspots: Los Cabos.
During Cabo’s high season—which runs from just before Christmas to just after Easter—thousands of tourists flock to this top travel destination. It’s not hard to see why: miles of pristine beaches, delicious local cuisine, rowdy nightlife, and lavish spas make Cabo an ideal spot for travellers looking to lie back, relax, and enjoy a drink or two.
Guests can enjoy zip lining at local amusement parks, golfing at world-class golf courses, fishing in crystal clear blue waters, or catching a glimpse of the annual whale migration.
But, as tourism professionals know, about a year ago Cabo wasn’t its usual sunny self. Flights were cancelled, guests had to be turned away, and travel professionals had to find other destinations for vacationers.
Why did Cabo close off to tourists and why is it back in business again? Read on to find out!
Hurricane Odile: a Natural Disaster that Rocked Travel and Tourism
On August 28, 2014, a tropical wave just off the coast of Africa began to pick up speed. It crossed the Atlantic, Caribbean, and pushed over Central America. While Los Cabos had not had a major hurricane for over 25 years, travel professionals still kept a close eye on the weather as the tropical wave grew into a tropical storm and eventually became a full-fledged hurricane.
Weather experts carefully charted the path of the hurricane, and predicted that it would miss Los Cabos and head harmlessly into the Pacific. Unfortunately, the hurricane suddenly changed course at the last minute and plowed head-on into Los Cabos on September 15, 2014.
Damage to Cabo’s Travel and Tourism Industry
When Hurricane Odile made landfall, it was a category 3 storm with winds going at 205 km/h. The storm caused widespread damage to the area as it flooded streets, destroyed fishing boats, cut power lines, and even tore off sections of the roof at Los Cabos International Airport.
In total, Hurricane Odile caused approximately $1 billion U.S. in damage and left thousands of tourists stranded.
Rebuilding Cabo with the Help of Tourism Management Professionals
Professionals working in travel and tourism responded to the disaster quickly and efficiently. Even with the sudden change in the hurricane’s path, local officials and tourism professionals quickly set up emergency shelters for the approximately 30,000 tourists in the area.
Within days, power and water were restored to most of the people in the area. And, within just a few weeks, stranded tourists had been flown back home and many restaurants, hotels, and other facilities were open for business.
Cabo is Now Doing Better than Ever
Today, a little over a year later, tourists strolling along the sandy beaches at Lost Cabos can enjoy this top spot just like they had before the hurricane. In fact, some businesses like the lavish ME Cabo resort took the time to upgrade facilities while they repaired damage. Other attractions have even enjoyed a boost in business.
Wild Canyon, a popular zip-lining and adventure park, had had roughly 80% of its attractions damaged by the hurricane—including a 1,082-foot-long suspension bridge. But, after speedy repairs that put the park back on its feet, Wild Canyon now enjoys approximately 30% more visitors than it had before.
It looks like students enrolled in hospitality and tourism program will be recommending Cabo to beach-lovers for a long time to come!
Would you like to learn about other vacation hotspots by pursuing tourism management training?
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