Today, tourism has become a major game-changer for economies all around the world. It is a very popular industry and investors worldwide are looking to put their money somewhere that promises medium and long-term investments. According to the UNTWO Tourism Highlights 2018 report, tourism is a leading driver of economic growth and development that represents 10% of the world’s GDP, 7% of the world’s exports and 30% of the world’s services exports.
The Tourism Industry in Numbers
Nonetheless, one can’t discuss tourism without taking a closer look at the Latin American region. It is a part of the world where tourism has become one of the most important contributors to economic development, job creation and even environmental protection. Numbers given by the WTTC in their 2018 report of Economic Impact in Latin America, show that the subcontinent stands as the fourth most important touristic region in the world. Tourism provides 15,778,000 jobs (7.6% of total employment) and contributes 348.7 billion dollars to respective GDPs which indicates a growth of 3.4% in relation to previous years.
Although the statistics for the region are promising, Latin America still must compete with top tourism destinations such as Europe, Asia and North America in a battle to capture the hearts and wallets of international tourists and investors. However, despite the disadvantage that Latin America might have in comparison to other regions, this underdog of the tourism industry is facing a bright future for the year. By the year 2028, it is predicted that the induced contribution of travel to GDP will reach 136.2 billion US dollars, compared with 80.5 billion in 2018.
Trending Tourism Topics in Latin America Today
Latin America is the new kid on the block and has become one of the most exciting regions in the tourism industry. Travellers nowadays are seeking for something different and meaningful for their holiday experiences. As a result, interesting trends are arising in relation to this boom of tourism. Axon Marketing and Communications prepared a report on the top types of tourism to the region:
- Nature (25%)
- Adventure (23%)
- History and Culture (22%)
- Gastronomy (18%)
These areas present opportunities for countries and firms to focus on while trying to promote tourism in their region.
Colombia’s Amazing Ecotourism
Colombia is one of the best examples in Latin America of ecotourism. As a country that hosts the greatest variety of birds in the world (approximately 20% of all bird species worldwide), naturally one of the most attractive activities related to ecotourism in Colombia is bird watching. According to the National Audubon Society, bird enthusiasts from the United States are willing to pay more than 300 $USD per day during their travels in Colombia to see the different species of birds. This represents a very lucrative and attractive business venture for local and foreign investors.
Nonetheless, not all aspects of Colombia’s tourism industry shine so brightly. This year, the director of the Colombia American Chamber of Commerce (AmCham) claimed the need for the Colombian Government to create legislation regarding tourism development. This plan should focus on defining permitted and restricted areas of tourism. There is also a general consensus that firms should start involving local communities in areas affected by tourism.
Mexican Cuisine For Everyone
Apart from being declared an Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity by the UNESCO, Mexican cuisine is famous worldwide and represents a major driver of attraction to the country. As said by the UNWTO, foreign travellers spend 30% of their budget on culinary experiences during their stay in Mexico. This is a huge percentage and represents a genuine competitive advantage for the country to promote and grow gastronomical tourism. Places like Oaxaca, Puebla, Yucatán, Baja California and Ciudad de México (Mexico City) market themselves as gastronomic hotspots that offer a variety of breathtaking distinct dishes with unique aromas.
However, despite the fact that Mexico received more than 30 million international visitors last year and has a successful tourism industry, security is an issue. The Mexican government needs to assume responsibility and resolve security issues in order to keep its position as a leading Latin American tourist destination.
Mexican President, Andrés Manuel López Obrador (also known as AMLO), recently stated that “the best way to promote Mexico regarding tourism is to ensure the safety of the destinations and to promote peace to attract national and international travellers”. The AMLO administration has taken this subject very seriously by working with different governmental institutions to design new models of security involving additional police presence in the most insecure areas.
Business Opportunities in The Tourism Industry
The booming tourism industry in Latin American is full of opportunities ready to be taken advantage of. Whether its identifying key niche activity within the world of ecotourism or creating a service that bridges tourists with quality experiences, possibilities await. If you have an idea you would like to explore, get in touch with the team at Biz Latin Hub for personalised advice.