Latin America to push rural holidays instead of beach breaks


Latin America is switching its marketing focus from famous beaches to authentic off the beaten track breaks, reveals the WTM Global Trends Report 2010 today (Monday 8 November).

Latin American countries are famous for their breathtaking beaches – including Brazil’s Copacabana and Mexico’s Acapulco – but they are looking to switch their focus away from white tropical sand and picture postcard beach locations to more authentic in-town holiday experiences.

The report, in association with Euromonitor International, shows the region has prospered in recent months, rebounding more quickly from the economic crisis than other destinations.

Brazil is keen to push the Pantanal – which includes the world’s largest wetlands – through fam trips for tour operators and agents. Furthermore, Mexico has introduced its Pueblos Mágicos (Magical Village Programme).
So far, 23 villages have been granted the status by the Mexican Tourist Office for being a place of “symbolism, legends, history and day-to-day life”.

Other regions are also raising their awareness and putting themselves at the forefront for specific types of holiday such as Chile’s San Pedro de Atacama for stargazing and sandboarding and Colombia’s Ciudad Perdida for adventure tourism and trekking. The dramatic rescue of the 33 trapped miners will catapult the Atacama Desert to international destination status.

Internal tourism providers such as hotels and transport businesses stand to benefit from the regional push as increasing visitors will help improve the overall infrastructure. The Brazilian National Civil Aviation Agency is already improving transport links across the country.

World Travel Market Chairman Fiona Jeffery said: “Latin America has a lot more to offer than the beaches of Mexico and Brazil with its cultural heritage and stunning terrain. The challenges of under-developed infrastructure will be overcome by tourism businesses seeking to promote more experiential holidays.”

Euromonitor International Head of Global Travel and Tourism Research Caroline Bremner said: “Arrivals to the destination are set to grow by 3.4% next year while spend per arrival is also tipped to slightly increase as the region attracts higher spending visitors. Latin America is an exciting destination with many off the beaten path regions still to be explored.”