Latin America unites for LATA Expo

by Jessica Pook

The Latin American Travel Association (LATA) held its first virtual Expo this week.

The annual B2B event allows Latin America to showcase its tourism product while providing destination-wide updates from countries such as Guyana, Belize, Argentina, Panama and Peru.

The region is showing green shoots of recovery, it was revealed, with increased seat capacity and a smaller year-on-year decline expected for Q4 of 2020.

Statistics from global travel intelligence experts ForwardKeys suggests Mexico is showing more rapid signs of recovery, whilst revealing the top searched South American destinations from the UK are Brazil, Mexico, Colombia, Costa Rica and Argentina.

Selling Travel joined meetings with key tourist boards to find out the latest news:

Guyana

As of this week, commercial flights have been reintroduced to Guyana with UK visitors required to produce a negative COVID-19 test upon arrival.

Visitors are expected to comply with a nationwide curfew from 9pm until 4am.

Clients can experience this English-speaking country through a series of new tours created by independent operators. One of which is a new Gordon Ramsay-inspired tour which retraces the steps of the celebrity chef on his most recent trip to Guyana with National Geographic as part of his ‘Uncharted’ series.

The tour is available to book through Latin Roots, and follows Ramsay's journey from Georgetown to the remote indigenous community of Rewa. Like Ramsay, visitors will travel with local chef Delven Adams who will bring to life the unique and unusual cuisine of Guyana.

Nicola Balram from the Guyana Tourism Authority, said: “Guyana has never suffered from overtourism and still remains a lesser-known destination. Visitors can experience our wide-open spaces and dramatic scenery safe in the knowledge that we speak their language and comply with all health and safety regulations.”

Panama

Panama announced the reopening of its borders to international visitors from all countries on October 12, 2020.

All incoming travellers must present a negative COVID-19 PCR test upon arrival, which must be taken no more than 48 hours prior to arrival. Passengers must also complete an electronic affidavit (sworn statement) before checking-in for their flight.

As part of its recovery strategy, Panama has outlined a five-year sustainable tourism masterplan to help revive country’s tourism industry.

The plan is to promote three main focus areas to tourists: Cultural Heritage, Green Hertiage and Blue Heritage, with the country's conservation and sustainability efforts at the forefront, followed by its nature, culture and historic offerings.

Cultural Heritage routes will showcase Panama’s three main cultures: its seven living indigenous groups, its Afro-Panamanian heritage including the Congo culture (UNESCO Intangible Heritage), and its Spanish colonial culture.

Green Heritage allows visitors to experience Panama’s biodiversity through its National Parks, protected areas and private reserves in Panama’s neotropical rainforest.

The experiences offered in the Blue Heritage Routes include whale-watching surrounding Coiba National Park (UNESCO World Heritage Site) and admiring turtle conservation projects in the Pacific Ocean, as well as exploring the Caribbean waters of Bocas del Toro.

Los Cabos, Mexico

Los Cabos is positioning itself as a twin-centre destination following the addition of two weekly flights from JFK Airport with Eastern Airlines.

The additional airlift means that agents can now pair a trip to Mexico's Baja California Peninsula with L.A., Las Vegas, New York and Mexico City.

Known as a luxury destination, Los Cabos is due to welcome additional five-star resorts Amana and Four Seasons in the next few months and has received the Blue Flag Certification for three new beaches, bringing the destination’s blue flag total to 22 beaches.

Peru

Visit Peru has revised its business plan to promote the destination as an adventure hotspot.

The strategy is designed to encourage a younger demographic to book travel to Peru, as it is believed they will be the first to start travelling again. 

Peru will celebrate its bicentennial anniversary of independence in 2021. To mark this historic event, an extensive programme of events and festivities will celebrate Peruvian culture and heritage. The programme of events is subject to the travel climate in the context of the global pandemic.

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