Although the figures show international travel to Latin America down 0.9% from January to end of July compared to last year, by September forward bookings for August to January 2020 were showing a 1.2% rise.
Brazil has performed particularly well this year with a 10.2% year-on-year increase for the first half of 2019.
Argentina also showed significant growth – up 9.4% year-on-year.
Mexico saw a 5.5% dip due to a drop in US arrivals. Increased crime and power cuts have hit Venezuela tourism but operators are returning to Nicaragua (LA460) thanks to an easing of unrest.
“Argentina is a trending destination having seen a surge in visitor numbers, partly down to new flight infrastructure in the country,” says Colin Stewart, chairman of the Latin American Travel Association. “Value-focused carriers are opening Latin America to a new demographic… making travel to the region more affordable,” he adds.
Cruise is also “booming” in the region, he says, with new luxury yachts serving the Galapagos, Amazon and Antarctica. Silversea’s butler-service Galapagos expedition ship Silver Origin is among them, making its inaugural voyage in 2020.
Panama celebrated its 500th anniversary this year and Rio will be in the spotlight as Unesco’s World Capital of Architecture 2020. Argentina and Chile (LA500) gained a tourism boost from the solar eclipse this July and will again next December.