Latin America travel

As we watch the Americas—including the Caribbean—dominate all the track & field sprints in the Olympics, let’s take a break to check out some luxury travel news for the region.

In Brazil’s biggest city, a much-needed subway expansion is finally in motion. They’ve got a long way to go to really ease congestion though. Their metro has 71 kms of track for 19 million people compared to 200 kms for Mexico City. Even Santiago’s is 40% bigger. A planned Line 4 extension will add five more stations though to the recently opened stops. Alas, not in time for the 2014 World Cup though. See the full article from the Economist here: Not yet fit for a metropolis.

Mexico tourism is on track to set a record this year for both the number of visitors and overall revenues, based on how the first six months went.

Luxury retail spending was down 26% in the second quarter of this year, after a smaller decline in the first quarter. Affluent households have previously been the bright spot during this recession, but while they still seem to be traveling, they’re not plunking down as much on handbags and watches.

Magazine publishers are crying the blues as well. As more readers and advertisers gravitate to digital, paper is suffering. “Vogue, Vanity Fair, Lucky and Allure all experienced double-digit declines for Condé Nast” says this article and most others were lucky to have “only” a single-digit decline for the first half of the year.

Argentina’s import restrictions are hitting the Buenos Aires luxury market hard. All the red tape and bureaucracy have led to permanent or months-long closures of stores from Calvin Klein, Ralph Lauren, Cartier, and Ermenegildo Zegna. We can only imagine the effect this is having on hotels as well if they’re trying to import French toiletries or the latest electronics.

We don’t cover troubled Venezuela on Luxury Latin America, but congrats to fencer Rubin Limardo who won the country its first gold Olympics medal in 44 years.