During the past decade, the steady and sometimes dramatic growth in the arrival of visitors to the United States from the nations of Latin America—primarily Mexico, Central and South America—has drawn the attention of more and more receptive tour operators as well as investors who see value in the product that an expanding market is able to purchase (a case in point is the acquisition in the past five years of the largest tour operators in both Brazil and Peru by the Carlyle Group, a Washington, D.C.-based venture capital firm). Now, for the first time, the U.S. National Travel and Tourism Office (NTTO) has used its data base to provide a more detailed statistical profile of the Latin American market and its various components.
Ron Erdmann, deputy director of NTTO, debuted the report at the recent La Cita de las Americas trade show in Boca Raton, Fla. Here, the Inbound Report covers key portions of his presentation, using excerpts from Erdmann’s own words.
South America’s Top Markets: Brazil is almost three times larger than the next country, its rate of growth is nearly twice that of the regional growth and because of this, Brazil dominates with over 40 percent of all arrivals from the region, and since 2005, its share of the region has increased by 15 percentage points.
Central America Nearly a Million-Visitor Market: Among the Latin American regions, Central America has the closest grouping of their top arrival markets. Guatemala moved into the number one spot in 2005 and has held that position ever since. Panama has posted the fastest growth over the decade.
When They Travel: When we look at when do travelers from the top Latin markets visit, you can see their top four months for arrivals to the country are different. Especially when you compare them to all overseas countries which only excludes Canada and Mexico. All but Venezuela share July as one of their top months, and December is also among the top months for visiting the country for 4 of the 5 markets within the region.
Who Buys on Time? In addition to knowing what types of things Latin travelers purchase, we also have data on their method of payment for expenses while within the country. Another new thing we started asking in 2012 is if they purchased travel insurance for their trip. The credit card companies and travel insurance firm may also be partners for you in selected markets.
Where They Arrive in the USA: Airports are the first place the international travelers must go. They work very hard to obtain international air service and work to keep it. Latin American travelers on average visit two places. There are dramatic differences in the ports of entry for the four countries. Only MIA, JFK, LAX, and Houston are on all 4. (A significant number of Latin American travelers are willing to take another domestic flight or use many other types of transport while in the USA to get to their ultimate destinations.)
Which Two States Have a 70 Percent Share of the Latin American Market? In 2014, there were 10.1 million travelers from Latin America. That’s up from 9.3 million last year. The same 10 states listed here were also the same top 10 in 2013, and while the volumes and market shares shifts the ranking for these states did not change. Only New Jersey and Massachusetts traded places.
Which Three Cities Have a Three-Quarters Share of the Latin American Market? All of the cities listed here were in the top 13 last year with the exception of Dallas. There were far more shifts (from 2013 to 2014) among the rankings, volume and market shares.