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ITB Berlin News - Day 3

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22 REGION AMERICAS ©

22 REGION AMERICAS © Max Bosio MAIN TRAVEL DESTINATIONS Las Terrenas, Dominican Republic Tourism Growth in the Americas Remains Solid Despite political events which in the short term could affect travel trends to and from the Americas, fundamentals remain positive for the continent Are the Americas’ tourism destinations at a turning point in 2017? There are both positive and negative elements likely to influence the evolution of visitor arrivals to those markets over the months to come. Last year, preliminary figures from the UNWTO pointed to a growth in the Americas of 4% in total arrivals, increasing by eight million to 201 million, consolidating results from the last two years. From that number, North America continued to have the largest market share within the continent with close to 66% of all arrivals. However, North America recorded the slowest growth within the region at 3.6%. According to IPK World Travel Trends Report, released at ITB Berlin 2017, prospects look good for the Americas with nuances to be introduced linked to specific markets. Europe’s outbound arrivals last year to the Americas declined by 1% and could remain flat in 2017. Reasons behind the stagnation are the strong Dollar compared to the Euro or to the Pound. On a year-toyear basis, the Euro weakened by 11.5% since January 2015 and by 4% compared to March 2016. On a year-to-year basis, the pound’s slide reached 10.5%. IPK reports South America (+7%) and Central America (+6%) led results between January and September 2016, followed by the Caribbean (+4%). In North America (+4%), Canada and Mexico in particular are benefiting from more US outbound travel but inbound travel to the USA has been held back by the strong dollar. Asian demand to the Americas however will probably be the least affected by political turbulence. Last year, Asian demand to the Americas grew by 11% according to IPK, especially as the continent is perceived as generally a safe destination for travel. Canada is for example considered worldwide as one of the safest destination to visit. If the strong US dollar acts as a deterrent factor for Europeans to travel, it however stimulates intra-Americas travel movements. US outbound within the Americas was up by 7% according to IPK research. US travellers are likely to generate a positive impact on the evolution of tourism in the Caribbean, Central and South America. To be monitored however is the future of travel movements between the USA and Mexico AMERICAS ANTIGUA AND BARBUDA HALL 22A / 107 ARGENTINA HALL 23B / 206 ARUBA HALL 22A / 104 BAHAMAS HALL 22A / 122 BARBADOS HALL 22A / 115 BOLIVIA HALL 23A / 108 BONAIRE HALL 22A / 103 BRAZIL HALL 23B / 209 CANADA HALL 3.1 / 491 CHILE HALL 23B / 204 COLOMBIA HALL 23A / 101 COSTA RICA HALL 22B / 211, 211A CUBA HALL 22A / 110 CURAÇAO HALL 22A / 105 DOMINICA HALL 22A / 123 DOMINICAN REPUBLIC HALL 22A / 100, 100B EL SALVADOR HALL 22B / 213 GUADELOUPE ISLANDS HALL 22A / 108 GUATEMALA HALL 22B / 202 HONDURAS HALL 22B / 204 JAMAICA HALL 22A / 102 MARTINIQUE HALL 22A / 125 MEXICO HALL 22B / 201 NICARAGUA HALL 22B / 203 PANAMA HALL 22B / 212 PARAGUAY HALL 23B / 202 PERU HALL 23A / 110, 110A PUERTO RICO HALL 3.1 / 405 ST. VINCENT AND THE GRENADINES HALL 22A / 120C SURINAME HALL 23A / 109 TRINIDAD & TOBAGO HALL 22A / 114 URUGUAY HALL 23A / 107 USA HALL 3.1 / 380 ITB BERLIN NEWS • Friday 10 th March 2017 www.itb-berlin-news.com

AMERICAS REGION 23 Marcela Bacigalupo Tourism Minister, Republic of Paraguay Paraguay: the Heart of South America Nature, culture and gastronomy are the key attractions of this emerging South American destination Speaking to ITB Berlin News, Marcela Bacigalupo, Tourism Minister of the Republic of Paraguay, explained how she hopes to leverage ITB Berlin to make the country a betterknown tourist destination: At ITB Berlin 2017, Paraguay hopes to attract the attention of the German public, presenting its new differentiating touristic routes, the Ruta de la Caña (Sugarcane Route) and the Ruta de la Yerba Mate (Mate Route), which show the authentic traditions of Paraguay, within a sustainable community development policy. Other routes like the multidestination routes of the Jesuitical missions, of the Chaco and Pantanal regions, birdwatching and adventure tourism will be presented as major axes of our tourism product. Another important focus is the promotion of our traditional gastronomy. During the five days of the fair, we will be offering a variety of typical dishes at our stand for you to sample. How important is tourism as part of your economy and what are the projections? The tourism sector in Paraguay has enormous potential and is currently one of the main drivers of the economy. Recent tourism income has shown a stable growth, triggering important investments in construction and the improvement of hotels, the diversification of gastronomy and other products that enhance the competitiveness of the sector. In 2015, money generated from incoming tourism increased from 3million to over 0million. This jump can be explained by the improvement of border controls and the positioning of Paraguay in the world, having hosted large events and promoting tourism at major fairs and though international media cooperation. How are your source markets evolving, and who are you targeting for the future? Within the European continent the major focus markets are Spain and Germany, as since the start of direct flights with Air Europe, tourism from both countries has risen. One of the pillars on which Paraguay is focusing is the development of the meeting industry, on which the National Secretariat of Tourism is working closely with the private sector. What are the main USPs of Paraguay when it comes to tourism? Paraguay offers tourists an authentic experience. Around main pillars such as nature, culture and gastronomy, as well as our shopping facilities, we hope that tourists fall for the authenticity of the country, making the visitors take home a portion of the Guaraní spirit, triggering the urge to come back. Paraguayans carry the pulse of hospitality - it’s for a reason that they call us the Heart of South America Hall 23b / Stand 202 Alejandro Castro, Chief Marketing Director of the Costa Rica Tourism Institute (ICT) and Mauricio Ventura, Tourism Minister of Costa Rica Costa Rica: Sustainable and Diverse, 365 Days of the Year Central American destination pioneers ecotourism as a route to social progress In the Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development, Costa Rica is setting new standards for tourism founded on environmental and social sustainability. Indeed, the Central American nation recently won a UNWTO Award for Innovation based on a Social Progress Index measuring the well-being of individuals living in tourism destinations. In this vein, Mauricio Ventura, Tourism Minister of Costa Rica, and Alejandro Castro, Chief Marketing Director of the Costa Rica Tourism Institute (ICT), delivered a press conference at ITB Berlin on ‘Costa Rica - sustainable and diverse 365 days a year’. “This is part of our DNA,” Castro told ITB Berlin News, adding that Costa Rica was arguably the world’s first destinations to build a travel industry around ecotourism. With Costa Rica’s updated Sustainability Certification Program (CST) 2.0, Castro said that “visitors can be completely confident that they are going to a property that benefits the environment, society, and the economy.” Protecting the environment is fundamental in what Castro called “a very concentrated destination” that includes around 5% of the world’s biodiversity. “We also have a lot of cultures that are merged in this country,” he added. “Having all sorts of environments and cultures and different tastes allows tourists to experience many things within the same destination. You can visit an active volcano, have a mud bath, hot springs and then relax at the beach.” It’s no wonder that Costa Rica boasts one of the highest average stays in the world at 13.1 days – among European source markets it’s even higher, with a 17 day average Hall 22 / Stand 211 ITB BERLIN NEWS • Friday 10 th March 2017

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