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IMEX America 2017: 5 Questions with Rodrigo Esponda

Rodrigo Esponda

Rodrigo Esponda has had some very unique jobs in his life.

Growing up, he wanted to be an architect and studied the field at one point. There was the time he worked in a Halloween mask factory and later in a video rental shop. He was even with a construction and design company for a bit.

“But my first real job after college was at the National Trust for Tourism Development (FONATUR),” he said. “I happily ended up working in tourism.”

Esponda would spend nearly 15 years working for the Mexico Tourism Board—he also was a professor of tourism planning at New York University for a few years when he was stationed in New York. Since September 2016 he has been in the role of managing director for the Los Cabos Tourism Board, a job he considers the highlight of his career.

“The meeting industry has presented the best option to advance my professional career, get new skills and training and be on top of the challenging world environment,” he said.

Esponda is in Las Vegas this week for the IMEX America trade show, which will bring 5,500-plus global meeting and event professionals and 3,200-plus exhibitors from more than 130 countries to the city for education, networking and face-to-face business meetings.

He will be working with his team and other partners to position Los Cabos as a top destination for meetings, incentives and conventions in North America. 

“Los Cabos is a unique destination that combines the desert with two oceans in a geographically key position—less than three hours flying from half of the USA,” he said.

An updated convention center, which will be ready in early 2018, “will complement the fantastic hotel options that the destination already has. Most of the top hotel brands around the world either already have a presence or are planning to do so,” he said.

What has been the biggest challenge in your career?
During the 16 years that I worked at the Mexico Tourism Board, the challenge of dealing with the H1N1 crisis along with the economic downturn and the safety perception issues had been the toughest time, but represented a very good professional lesson. 

What is the biggest challenge facing our industry today and what should we do about it?
The biggest challenge today is to understand the uncertainty and fast pace of human and environmental changes.

What are you most passionate about outside of your career and the meeting industry?
I am passionate about my family and my country. 

What’s the best advice someone gave you?
Believe in God and in what you can achieve with dedication and perseverance. 

What advice would you give to someone considering a career in meetings and events?
Get prepared to be challenged. 

About the Author

Rich Luna

Rich Luna is director of publishing for MPI and editor in chief of The Meeting Professional.