How Latin America is rising to meet new tourism trends.
The region is poised to reap significant financial, environmental, and cultural benefits.
I may be biased, but I believe that Latin America is among the best places to travel in the world. There are diverse ecosystems, incredible food and drinks, and enthusiastic celebrations of culture and history.
However, tourist tastes are changing and every destination–no matter where in the world it’s located–will have to adapt. Here are a few of the trends the Latin American tourism industry is focusing on heading into the new year.
Led by millennials and Gen Z, travelers are increasingly looking for authentic cultural experiences. In fact, 79% of these tourists are interested in experiencing “a day in the life of locals”–a far cry from Latin America’s beloved all-inclusive resorts.
This shift, in particular, is going to create lasting effects and benefits worldwide–including a greater distribution of tourist spending, environmental conservation, and the preservation of local heritage. A luxury travel company in Peru, for example, is now offering indigenous travel experiences that peel back the curtain on ancient traditions and give visitors unforgettable, and previously inaccessible, experiences.
Particularly when it comes to group travel, tourists are looking for a break in cookie-cutter vacations. For some, this may be as simple as allowing visitors to deviate from pre-planned meals to explore the local dining scene on their own.
We also cannot discount that individuals each have their own levels of comfort traveling after the pandemic. Therefore, giving tourists the freedom to exercise their own safety precautions, without missing out on an experience completely, is key.
While flexibility can be a tall order, it also opens up a world of possibility for Latin American tourism companies, hotels, and restaurants to get creative–and potentially uncover new revenue streams. For example, food and wine tours in Patagonia may soon be as can’t-miss as the region’s natural wonders.
In recent years, wellness travel has become a tentpole of tourism across the globe. But, these days, “wellness” doesn’t just mean sitting in a spa–travelers are looking for unique experiences like fitness classes and even workshops and lectures.
And while some Latin American countries–like Costa Rica–are already well-known as wellness destinations, this trend is also allowing other locales to expand their offerings. Uruguay and its pristine beaches, for example, are commonly seen as a summer spot. However, the country is experiencing a boom of wellness retreats that allow visitors to enjoy its unique offerings, and other parts of its landscape, all year round.
In any market or region, catering to trends requires a delicate balancing act between meeting consumer demand and maintaining your individual identity. And, from what I’ve seen so far, the tourism industry in Latin America is more than capable of rising to the occasion.
Danilo Diazgranados is an independent investor in the global food and wine, financial services, real estate, and the hospitality sectors.