Tourism: the reasons for the strong reactivation of travel and hospitality in Colombia – Sectors – Economy

It took more than two years between the onset of the pandemic and shutdowns, including global restrictions when the omicron variant of covid-19 emerged, for the country’s tourism, both domestic and overseas, to begin to show more robust signs of reactivation.

(Read: Bets on the country’s economic growth in 2022 point to 4.7%)

This week, the Dane confirmed that in February the hotel occupancy rate was 50.3%, well above the February 2021 level, when it was 31.5%, and slightly lower at 50.7 % of the same period of 2020, taking into account that during the season of last December and January, pre-pandemic levels were exceeded. Even, the annual change in the real income of hotels in February was 84.6%, that of salaried staff advanced by 27% annually, and that of the real salary per head, by 8.2%.although comparing the figures to those of two years ago, there was a drop in real income of 11.6% and a drop in employed staff of 21.2%.

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But the most recent figures show that tourism, key to the economy and employment of the regions, is moving more and more towards its full reactivation, which, for example, is corroborated by better levels of agency sales. trips and the departure of more Colombians abroad.

According to calculations by the Colombian Association of Travel and Tourism Agencies (Anato), based on figures from Migración Colombia, In the first two months of 2022, 689,403 Colombians left the country abroad, which means a reactivation of 95%.

(Read: There is work: companies abroad have vacancies in different fields)

But it was in February the first month, after the start of the reactivation, that the pre-pandemic records were exceeded, since the flow of departures exceeded 300,000 Colombians, a growth of 5% compared to the most of 287,000 parties in the same month of 2019, the countries with the highest growth were the Dominican Republic, with 108%; Mexico, with 85%; Chile, with 53%; Spain, with 40%, and the United States, with 11%.

“The sector is going through a good period and this, added to the management of the agencies in the preparation of the parcels and with regard to the procedures and the orientation on the requirements of entry into the destinations, has facilitated this trend of growth of the figures”, assured Paula Cortés, executive president of Anato.

In fact, a few days ago, ProColombia pointed out that the country’s installed capacity to mobilize international travelers has already been restored.
Based on the most recent information provided by the airlines, the country has already exceeded the 190,583 seats and the 1,142 weekly international frequencies it had in February 2020, since today the country already has 196,348 seats. and 1,147 frequencies, figures which follow the increase with the increased competition in the sector.

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Missing more foreigners

Likewise, an optimistic atmosphere and environment are beginning to materialize in incoming tourism for Colombia, even despite the recent revaluation of the peso against the dollar, as the arrival of foreign visitors to the country continues to normalize and, in some cases, has reached a growth compared to the figures recorded in the pre-pandemic.

In this regard, Anato estimates that in the first two months of 2022, 453,417 foreign visitors entered, which means a reactivation of 68% compared to the same months of 2019, when 663,286 foreign travelers entered.

In this direction, the main countries of origin were the United States, which recorded a growth of 2%, with 111,150 registrations, compared to 109,140 revealed in the same period of 2019; followed by the Equator, with a reactivation of 90%; Panama, with 88%; Mexico, with 83%, and Peru, with 79%.

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This week, when presenting hotel occupancy data with a break in the month of February (see graph), the Dane’s director, Juan Daniel Oviedo, indicated that for its full reactivation, the sector must aim to strengthen the arrival of more international travellers.

The above because in February 2020, out of 50 occupied rooms out of 100 available to the public, 18 were held by international travelers, an indicator which in February 2022 was only 12 rooms.

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Holy Week will shake the numbers

It is estimated that for Easter the reactivation figures will be consolidated, since Anato predicts that 133,000 Colombians have traveled abroad, a growth of 6% compared to the data for the same season in 2019.

For its part, Civil Aeronautics calculated that from April 8 to 17, 2022, there were 1.43 million travelers, of which 979,923 were national and 456,572 would correspond to international flights.

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