(MENAFN- The Rio Times) Latin America's tourism industry is rebounding from the COVID-19 pandemic, with many countries now approaching their 2019 tourism figures.
ForwardKeys, an analysis firm, reports that from January to August 2023, the Dominican Republic saw a 14% increase in air visitors compared to 2019.
This makes it the global leader in tourism recovery. Colombia and Mexico are not far behind, each with a 5% increase.
The Dominican Republic has been particularly successful, welcoming over seven million international visitors by August.
The country's Ministry of Tourism anticipates reaching 10 million by the end of the year. In August 2023 alone, 782,000 tourists visited.
This success places the Dominican Republic at the top for post-pandemic tourism performance.
It's followed by other Caribbean destinations like Costa Rica, Aruba, Jamaica, and Puerto Rico.
Colombia, too, is enjoying a tourism surge, exceeding its pre-pandemic levels by 5%. This growth outshines its South American neighbors and other global hotspots.
Tourism is crucial for economic health. The Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) highlights its pre-pandemic contributions:
over $566.6 billion in added value,
more than 26 million jobs, and significant exports and investments.
For some countries, tourism represented over 10% of their GDP and employment.
The World Tourism Organization (WTO) confirms these trends. Its 2022 data lists the top Latin American tourist destinations, with this pattern continuing into 2023.
Mexico leads with 38.33 million tourists, followed by the Dominican Republic, Colombia, Argentina, and Brazil.
Latin America has recovered 85% from the pandemic's effects.
The WTO predicts a full recovery by 2024, as stated by Gustavo Santos, the WTO's Director of Tourism for the Americas.
Over 4.1 million international visitors in Colombia arrived between January and September 2023.
This number exceeds the 2022 figures for the same period by 29.3%.
However, South America's overall recovery still lags 19% behind 2019 levels due to high airfares and limited flight options.
Global travel trends are diversifying, with the Middle East and Africa growing in popularity.
The United Arab Emirates, for instance, is nearing its pre-pandemic tourism levels, thanks to increased visits from the United States and Russia.
World Tourism Organization (WTO) data support ForwardKeys' findings, listing the top five Latin American countries for foreign tourists in 2022, a trend continuing into 2023:
1. Mexico: 38.33 million tourists
2. Dominican Republic: 7.16 million
3. Colombia: 4.4 million
4. Argentina: 3.89 million
5. Brazil: 3.63 million
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