The 6 Latin American countries that are among the most competitive in the world in tourism
With an advance of 8 positions with respect to the last report of the World Economic Forum, Mexico remains the favorite tourist destination in Latin America. According to the 2017 Travel and Tourism Competitiveness Index of the World Economic Forum, the tourism industry moved US$7.6 billion worldwide and created 292 million jobs in 2016.
Bearing in mind that tourism represents 1 in 10 jobs globally, the importance of the sector becomes crucial for the future of Latin American economies.
Between 2013 and 2015 the number of international arrivals increased from 170 to 201 million people, 90 of whom arrived in Latin America and the Caribbean.
an unequal continent
America is, without a doubt, one of the most “friendly” macro-regions for international tourism and the second that has improved the most since the last edition of the report, behind the Asia-Pacific region.
Although part of the explanation for the good health of the sector is due to the wealth of natural resources on the continent, the World Economic Forum (WEF) highlights the great differences that exist between countries.
In the case of North America, the WEF recommends an improvement in price competitiveness, environmental sustainability and infrastructure so that the tourism sector continues to grow.
Central and South America, on the contrary, must make an effort to increase security, as well as create favorable environments that facilitate the development of businesses and infrastructures that enhance connectivity, the organization points out.
Of the 136 economies that represent 98% of the world’s Gross Domestic Product, 18 belong to Latin America and 6 of them are among the 50 most competitive globally.
The list, however, is headed by six European nations -Spain (1), France (2), Germany (3), the United Kingdom (5), Italy (8) and Switzerland (10)-, two from North America – United States (6) and Canada (9)-, in addition to Japan (4) and Australia (7).
Mexico (position 22)
It is the most visited country in Latin America with more than 32 million foreign tourists annually.
“Tourism is a great generator of employment and is the great engine of the economy,” said Enrique de la Madrid, Secretary of Tourism of Mexico, during the presentation of the report in Buenos Aires.
Not surprisingly, tourism represents 8.6% of Mexico’s GDP.
Although the sector advanced 8 positions compared to the previous report (2015), the World Economic Forum believes that the government should focus on improving environmental sustainability, the business environment and the safety and protection of tourists.
“There is still a lot to cover, such as stimulating regions and continuing to promote air connectivity,” De la Madrid declared.
With just over 6.3 million foreign visitors, Brazil remains one of the main tourist destinations on the continent.
In figures, tourism contributed US$5.8 billion to the largest economy in Latin America.
Although it is one of the countries with the greatest natural and cultural diversity in South America, the contribution of tourism to the Brazilian economy represents 3.3% of GDP and generates 2.6 million jobs in the country.
The geographical location and a very favorable environment for doing business place Panama as the third tourist power in this year’s index.
Last year, 2.1 million visitors arrived, leaving US$4,153 million in the country.
With a contribution of 8.1% to the national GDP, tourism concentrates almost 9% of jobs in Panama.
Costa Rican (38)
Ecological tourism and the wealth of natural resources are the two main attractions of Costa Rica.
With almost 5% of the active population dedicated to tourism, the sector contributes 4.8% to the Costa Rican GDP.
In recent years, Costa Rica has earned the honor of being among the most sustainable and happy nations in the world, according to Happy Planet and the World Economic Forum itself.
Protected areas and national parks – two of them declared World Heritage by UNESCO – occupy 20% of the country’s territory.
Almost 4.5 million tourist’s viited Chile in 2016, which left US$2,408 million.
But the sector continues to have little impact on the Chilean economy, accounting for just 3.4% of national GDP.
Ahead of Peru, which is in 51st place, Argentina closes the list of the 50 most competitive countries in the world in terms of tourism.
To continue climbing positions, the government announced an ambitious strategic plan that aims to create 300,000 new jobs by 2019.
To achieve the objective of positioning Argentina as the main tourist destination in the region, it is necessary to “promote the growth of domestic tourism, improve the competitiveness and sustainability of the sector, increase investment and, finally, promote job creation,” said Gustavo Santos, Minister of Tourism of Argentina, during the presentation of the report in Buenos Aires.
To do this, the government chaired by Mauricio Macri has allowed the entry of low cost airlines in the tourism sector.
Thus, from now on, companies such as American Jet, Andes, Alas del Sur or Fly Bondi will be able to operate in the country, which, according to forecasts by the Argentine executive, will help increase passenger arrivals by up to 50% and will generate 25,000 new jobs. of work.