Government and tourist board representatives have voiced hope for a recovery of travel to Latin America in 2022, as destinations aim to highlight the region’s biodiversity.
Delegates at the Latin America Travel Association’s ministerial summit were told there were “good chances” of a rebound in the year ahead, while Conservative MP Mark Menzies urged UK customers to visit.
Menzies, MP for Fylde, Lancashire, told the summit: “Economies have been hit hard, as there have been less flights into the region. I want to encourage British people to visit Latin America and invest in tourism. I want to see markets opening up and a desire to travel.”
Olivier Ponti, vice-president of flight data analyst ForwardKeys, insisted Latin America remained open for business and said he was confident of a recovery.
“2022 will be challenging, but there are good chances of seeing a rebound of flights to Latin America, with intercontinental travel resuming and strong consumer demand to travel,” he added.
Andrew Wolleter, head of Chile’s tourism services, said the tourism sector’s recovery so far had been reliant on domestic travel, but added: “We are hopeful we can continue the path to recovery in terms of international tourism.”
Meanwhile Jose Puyana, European director of ProColombia, said: “We are still far from our situation in 2019. Colombia wants to continue with a sustainable tourism strategy and prove it’s a safe destination to travel in terms of Covid-19.”
Colin Stewart, Lata chairman, said the association aimed to “change the agenda” in the year ahead, with a focus on nature and positioning tourism as a positive force.
Stewart said: “It’s important for businesses and tourists to operate in a way that protects biodiversity. Lata wants to change the agenda for 2022 and commit to biodiversity protection.”
Nicole Solano, chief executive of the Belize Tourism Board, said it was time to rebuild the industry, adding: “It’s been a challenge but we had a positive 2021. Belize is the perfect destination for people that are interested in nature and wellness, a space with open areas that matches with what travellers of today want.”
And Panama’s minister of tourism Ivan Eskildsen added: “We are working hard to achieve recognition internationally. We want to preserve the prestige nature we have here as we are one of three countries in the world which is carbon negative.”