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Tourism in Latin America

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Five conclusions from the industry crash

Pulling together the tourism and travel trends discussed in this report, five main points emerge:

  • First, it will take the industry a number of years to get back to 2019 levels of activity and revenue. Estimates vary, but it is hard to see tourist arrivals and revenues recovering until 2024.
  • Second, the speed and strength of the recovery will be highly dependent on the outcome of the wider regional and global struggle against the pandemic. As of end-2020 news about potentially effective vaccines is encouraging, but rolling them out will be a complex, costly and time-consuming process.
  • Third, the tourism and travel industry will shrink. Financial losses, particularly in the Caribbean will be high. Some countries will default on their foreign debt. Airlines, hotels, and tour operators will fail. Job losses will mount.
  • Fourth, travel and tourism will slowly re-invent itself. New business models will emerge. They will include growth in 'staycations', domestic and regional tourism, shorter-haul travel, and remote working among other possible innovations
  • Fifth, there will be some winners. Smaller companies with newer technology and lower costs may seize market share. Those that are quick to use digital technologies and the opportunities offered by 5G may prosper.