In the month of April we have hosted our first REMOTE Update Week, inviting hoteliers and local experts from Latin America and travel designers from Europe, the United States and Brazil, to discuss the state and consequences of the Covid-19 pandemic in Latin America for the future of tourism, from the standpoint of respected REMOTE Local Experts in ten different Latin American countries.
More than 100 people per day, from 24 countries, joined us over four days, interested in understanding the prospects for tourism in Colombia, Guatemala, Argentina, Chile, Uruguay, Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, Brazil and Mexico.
TOURISM IS ALREADY CHANGING
Despite the numbers and uncertainties about the near future, the travel experts shared motivated perceptions that inspired us to rethink travel and business models. They all agreed that domestic travel, individual and family trips, charter flights, road trips, responsible tourism and remoteness will be trends at the first moment.
“My take on the future travelers is that they will want to travel very remote, with more social distancing”, suggested James Rogers of Maya Trails in Guatemala. “Clients are really eager to travel. We’re hoping for the domestic market first and then, by the end of the year, for the return of international travelers”, mentioned Alfonso Sumano of Journey Mexico. Olivier Dufeu of Nahbu Travels in Colombia said, “I think that right after the lockdowns end, gathering with friends and families will be very important, so I believe in the concept of private villas or small boutique hotels”. “Boutique hotels and lodge buyouts will be important for Ecuador”, declared Marcel Perkins of Latin Trails.
Changes are already taking place in the market, as shared in the speeches from Jascivan Carvalho (Tropic, Ecuador), Janette Simbron (Bolivia Milenaria), Paul Cripps (Amazonas Explorer, Peru) and Guilherme Padilha (Auroraeco, Brazil). “We’re all focusing on preparing for the day after. Some of the hotels that are closed to tourists but still have their staff working are testing new protocols to see what is doable and what is not”, highlighted Paola Perelli of Lares Uruguay. Pedro Etchart of NOA and NEA Travesias in Argentina shared that they’re “working with suppliers, clients and the team in order to adapt products to this new reality and establish safety protocols”. “Flexibility is here to stay”, affirmed Raul Buenaventura of VM Elite in Chile. “Together with our hotels, we have worked out more flexible booking and cancelation policies”, says Argentina native Maíta Barrenechea of Mai 10.