While I’ve read a lot of reports about declining tourism in some sectors, especially for leisure travel to Europe and business travel within the U.S., Latin America seems to be faring pretty well. While some operators I’ve spoken to reported a soft October and November, business is almost back to normal in many destinations.
Overall around the world, it’s not as gloomy as you would expect. Here’s an interesting adventure tour company snapshot from the blog of Don George, formerly of the San Francisco Chronicle and Lonely Planet Publications.Â A few key quotes:
“Our travelers still have money and theyâ€™re beginning to come back; our sense is that they wonâ€™t be content sitting around Dallas or DC for the next 12 months,” says Jim Sano of Geographic Expeditions.
George Wendt, President of OARS, said, â€śIncreasing numbers of extended families are joining us on river trips and other outdoor vacation multi-sport experiences. We believe this is precisely because of our countryâ€™s challenging economic times. Families are deciding that it is better to get their kids active in the outdoors instead of having them hanging around shopping malls or playing video games.â€ť
“Relatively last-minute bookings may very well be more the norm in 2009,” says Bill Bryan, Co-Founder and Chairman of Off the Beaten Path.
Three things are keeping Latin American travel relatively stronger than other regions though. 1)The whole area is made up of some of the world’s best values, especially with the dollar being strong at the moment. 2) Latin America is attracting a lot of families because of its adventure activities and the “no jet lag” geographic advantages. 3)Nature lovers and birdwatchers are often older travelers who don’t have such exposure to the stock market or housing market, so their travel plans have not changed much.
See the options at Luxury Latin America.