Lata members see staff numbers plunge 63% amid Covid crisis

Members of the Latin American Travel Association (Lata) have reported an average of 85% loss in revenue compared to pre-pandemic levels and a 63% drop in staffing.

Almost a third of Lata members based in Latin America (31%) have had no tourism activity over the last 12 months. About 17% report some levels of intra-Latin American tourism, and 40% have seen some international tourism activity from source markets other than the UK.

The association is highlighting these statistics to show the scale of the problems facing its 360+ members in the UK and Latin America.

With almost all of Latin America on the British government’s red list, Lata said travel to the continent from the UK has “more or less ground to a halt”.

Lata outlined the challenges of its members to the all party parliamentary group for Latin America ahead of the Travel Day of Action on Wednesday (June 23).

More than 20 Lata members will be joining forces at the day of action in Westminster to add their voices to the lobby.

Danny Callaghan, chief executive of Lata, said: “Since February 25, the NHS has recorded arrivals from 22 Latin American countries.

“Of these, there was not a single recorded positive test from 15 countries.

“In the period from May 20-June 9, 2021, 1,221 passengers are recorded as arriving from Latin America of which just nine people tested positive; three people from Colombia and six people from Brazil.

“No other Latin American country recorded a positive test. Of these nine positive cases, not one was recorded as a variant of interest or concern.

“Despite the above, almost all of Latin America remains on the UK government’s red list.

“At Lata, we urge the government to base their decisions on the epidemiological situation and the associated risks in each country rather than blanket bans.

“We call for transparency on the criteria that are being applied as the basis to these travel restrictions and we ask for travel to return in a safe and risk managed way by expanding the green list in line with the evidence and making the restrictions more proportionate, while keeping a red list to guard against risk variants.

“We urgently call for tailored financial support for our sector, including the extension of the furlough scheme, recognising that the travel industry’s ability to trade and generate income is much slower than first anticipated.”

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