The doors to recession-hit UK are ready to spring open wide for samba-loving Latin Americans with increased disposable income and a lust for travel.
The downturn, plus weakening Sterling, is the green, light signal for an upturn to the UK and also the remainder of Europe in visitor numbers from Brazil, Chile, Argentina, and Mexico.
Other destinations are also benefiting. According to Chile’s tourism board, the departure terminals in 2007 saw 347,000 Chileans head for China; 128,000 go to Japan; 72,000 leave for India.
Japan has been welcoming businessmen into Tokyo direct from Mexico City, and Brazil has watched a four-fold increase in planes to China. Latin American visitors traveling to Australia went up 23 percent last year, while New Zealand also benefited in 2007.
The major growth is identified in the WTM Global Trends Report, in association with Euromonitor International, the leading global market intelligence company. World Travel Market, the leading business event for the global travel industry, is at London ExCeL from November 10-13.
“UK often seemed financially inaccessible to Latin America,” said Fiona Jeffery, chairman of World Travel Market, “but tourists can now look forward to cashing in, encouraged by discounting.”
Although Latin America’s strong economic position is likely to decrease in coming years, it will not be noticeable enough to impact worryingly on the middle classes buying holidays overseas.
“Long-haul trips will remain on their agenda, helped by the reduction in fuel prices and low, interest rates,” added Jeffery.
Spain is a top destination choice because of the common language and similar cultures. But there are also powerful historic pulls to Germany and Italy.
The 2006 World Cup lured contingents of fans to Germany.
The report outlines how European carriers are seizing the opportunity, expanding capacity and adding direct routes.
British Airways’ business link agreement with Iberia places them usefully to become a hub for Latin American flights.
The Schengen borderless zone arrangement could increase tours to Eastern Europe.
Asia has already seen extra connections with Latin America, forged primarily through business ties.
Euromonitor International stresses that Brazil’s healthy economic state resulted in an overall 5.1 million air passengers last year.