Business & Economy

LatAm tourism sector on the mend after pandemic

By Luis Alejandro Amaya E.

Americas Desk, Jul 16 (EFE).- After two years of uncertainty due to the pandemic, Latin America’s tourism industry is showing clear signs of recovery from the severe blow delivered by Covid-19

Passenger volume on commercial airlines was up more than 180 percent in the first five months of 2022 from the same period last, according to the International Air Transport Association (IATA).

And a report released in May by the Mastercard Economics Institute showed that bookings by people in the United States for travel to the Dominican Republic were 84 percent higher than at the same point in pre-pandemic 2019.

Reservations for trips to Mexico and Jamaica increased by 73 percent and 65 percent, respectively, compared with 2019.

The report, Travel 2022: Trends & Transitions, also found that in terms of revenue, the global cruise ship sector is back to around 90 percent of its level before the pandemic.

“After having experienced the worst crisis in the history of tourism, we are coming out of it,” Pablo Singerman, CEO of Singerman & Makon consultants in Argentina, told Efe.

Singerman, who is also director of the master’s program in Economy and Tourism at the University of Buenos Aires, said that the studies of travel and spending pattern his firm conducted during the worst days of the pandemic led him to believe that “the recovery is going to be much faster than that has been predicted.”

Flight reservations in Colombia for the June-August quarter were 304,315, nearly 150 percent better than last year and 98 percent of the total for the same period in 2019.

The picture is not equally bright everywhere.

Peru has received more than 750,000 international travelers so far this year, but the total for 2022 is unlikely to approach the 4 million tourists who spent $3.7 billion in the country in 2019.

The organization that represents Chile’s tourism sector forecasts that it will take more than four years to return to the level of 2019, when the country welcomed nearly 6 million tourists.

In Argentina, the industry’s rebound has been driven by a boom in domestic tourism, which in turn can be attributed to currency restrictions that make traveling abroad prohibitively expensive for most people.

Around 12.4 million Argentines traveled for pleasure within the nation’s borders in the first quarter of this year, the largest number in a decade.

Tourism has been the engine for a vigorous economic recovery in the Dominican Republic, whose gross domestic product (GDP) is up 12.3 percent from last year 2021 and 5 percent compared with 2019. The 644,861 international visitors who arrived last month constitute the highest total on record for June.

Costa Rica received 1.22 million tourists in the first six months of the year, 71 percent of the volume for the first half of 2019.

Prior to the pandemic, the Central American nation of 5.1 million typically had more than 3 million visitors annually, while the tourism sector employed some 400,000 people.

Covid-19’s impact on travel was especially damaging for Cuba, where tourism had come to represent as much as 10 percent of GDP.

The island registered 682,297 international arrivals in the first five months of 2022, more than in all of last year, and the government expects a total of 2.5 million tourists by year’s end.

Brazil’s IBGE statistics agency said that the number of visitors from abroad rose 50 percent in the January-May period compared with the same interval in 2021. EFE

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