by Michael J. Shapiro | June 06, 2017
The state government of Baja California Sur -- the lower half of the peninsula on Mexico's northern Pacific Coast -- has awarded a bid for the management and operations of convention centers in both Los Cabos and La Paz. The government first announced the private-management initiative last December as a way to boost economic and tourism activity -- and to help get the convention centers up and running. The Los Cabos Convention Center still requires repairs following damage wrought by Hurricane Odile in 2014, while the La Paz venue lacks kitchen facilities, furniture and A/V equipment.
 
The venues will both be managed and run by a private joint venture between the Trade Fair Institution of Madrid (IFEMA) and Actidea, a Mexico City-based event producer. IFEMA has more than 30 years of experience as an organizer of trade shows, making it one of the oldest such companies in Spain, while Actidea has been producing events both in Mexico and internationally for 20 years.
 
"I am sure they will be able to optimize this incredible infrastructure to stimulate the meetings and events industry in the state," said state minister of tourism Luis Genaro Ruíz Hernández of the partners. "The meetings and events industry is a fundamental complement to diversify the tourism product of both destinations. So now, we will not only be competing in the leisure, gastronomy, nature, adventure and luxury-travel markets, but we will also be able to access this incredibly profitable global meetings market, generating an incredible option for worldwide organizers, as well as great revenue for a wide scope of suppliers that are part of this industry."
 
The next step is to negotiate the contractual conditions for repairs, maintenance and equipment for the venues, added Carlos Mendoza, governor of Baja California Sur. The Los Cabos Convention Center suffered an estimated 50 million pesos (currently US$2.7 million) worth of damage from the hurricane and has since been used sporadically for smaller events. The facility debuted in 2012 to host the G20 Summit, with a 58,125-square-foot exhibit hall and a capacity of about 6,400 attendees.
 
The La Paz Convention Center offers a 32,000-square-foot main hall and a 3,600-attendee capacity. It opened in 2014 but also has been used sporadically. La Paz, the capital of Baja California Sur, has a much smaller tourism infrastructure than Los Cabos; the venue might likely seek more local events, at least until more development occurs.