According to the WTTC Global Economic Impact Trends report, the COVID-19 pandemic in Latin America and the Caribbean resulted in a 42.4% decline in travel and tourism GDP in 2020.
Tourism in Latin America is in the process of recovering. The region was the least impacted by the pandemic, and Domestic tourism and the reactivation of cruises in destinations such as Europe and the United States have contributed to this.
In Latin American countries, expenditure from domestic travelers fell by 38.9%, while international spending registered a decline of 72.1%. However, the impact in other parts of the world is due to travel restrictions for incoming visitors. In 2019, the region accounted for 35% of global travel and tourism GDP.
GPD generated by travel and tourism in Latin America fell 58% last year, going from 14.1% of its total economy in 2019 to just 6.4% in 2020. Even so, experts say that the reactivation of cruise ships will have a positive impact on tourist activity in the region.
According to the WTTC report, the region most affected worldwide by the coronavirus pandemic was Asia-Pacific, where the industry’s GDP fell by 53.7%
Europe recorded the second-largest collapse last year, down by 51.4%. In Africa, the GPD from travel and tourism decreased by 49.2% in 2020, while in the Middle East it fell by 51.1%.
The WTTC Economic Impact Trends report shows how the travel and tourism industry helps socio-economic development, job creation and has a strong positive social impact, including unique opportunities for women, minorities and youth.
The report suggests that the industry will find ways to adapt after the pandemic, identifying trends that are already gaining ground and exploring changes that may be necessary to sustain travel and tourism in the future.
Regarding demand, COVID-19 is shifting the interests and behaviors of travelers towards familiar, predictable, reliable and ‘low-risk’ destinations. According to the report, regional vacations are expected in the short term, with extensive research, planning and outdoor activities.
COVID-19 is also proving to be a way for the travel and tourism industry to innovate and integrate new technologies, such as biometrics, which would allow for a smoother and safer traveler experience.