Rodrigo Esponda

Managing Director
Los Cabos Tourism Board

2021 Phocuswright Conference speaker

Rodrigo Esponda Managing Director
Rodrigo Esponda is the managing director of Los Cabos Tourism Board (FITURCA), the destination’s trade and marketing organization in charge of promoting and attracting international and national tourism to Los Cabos, Mexico’s top travel luxury destination.

In his role, Rodrigo is responsible for amplifying the organization’s efforts to create effective trade, marketing, and communications strategies to increase visitation, protect the destination’s brand, and increase visibility of Los Cabos all over the world. Under his leadership, Los Cabos has diversified its funding model becoming the first destination in Mexico to use public-private funding to promote the destination internationally; increased its partnership network by 50%; created the “tourism task force,” a group of investors and industry experts tasked with proactively preparing for and responding to the ongoing challenges impacting the destination; and increased the arrivals of international travelers by 50% compound annual growth rate from 2016 to 2019.

In 2020 and 2021, Rodrigo led Los Cabos’ response through the COVID-19 pandemic, the single most difficult challenge to date for the destination. Under his leadership, Los Cabos developed a comprehensive health and safety approach to guarantee the well-being of the community, shielded the destination’s brand, and built a reopening plan that allowed the destination to welcome back tourists in a safe and secure travel environment. Thanks to his vision, Los Cabos was able to recover 100% of all of its travel activity in one year.

Rodrigo has over 20 years of experience in the travel and tourism industry. Prior to joining the Los Cabos Tourism Board in September 2016, Rodrigo was the regional director of the Mexico Tourism Board for North America. During his 16-year tenure, he had a mix of responsibilities leading Mexico's promotional efforts in the United States and Canada. Thanks to Rodrigo’s business leadership and strong tourism network, including travel trade operators, travel agencies, airlines, and key travel partners, Mexico experienced record growth in international visitation and elevated its international image as a preferred travel destination to visit for American and Canadian travelers.

Rodrigo is currently a member of the Mexican Diplomacy Tourism Council, the national government organization formed in 2019 to advise Mexico on best practices to promote the country’s brand internationally. Additionally, he is a certified member of the Professional Meetings of the Convention's Industry Council and an invited professor of Tourism Planning at the New York University (NYU). He graduated in Architecture from the Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM), holds a master's degree in Administration from Columbia University in New York, and is in the process of presenting his dissertation for the master’s degree in Tourism Destination Management by Anahuac University.

He currently publishes a monthly column at El Universal, Mexico’s leading national newspaper.

Sessions

Executive Roundtable: The Intersection of Politics, Policy and Planning

How do federal, state and local organizations navigate the maze of politics, policy and planning as they plot travel's course of recovery? Behavioral shifts, new business models, political divides, legislation and regulations complicate destination management, creating a ripple effect throughout the travel ecosystem.