|Junior Suite at the new Wyndham Guayaquil in Guayaquil, Ecuador|
Central and South America comprise what is arguably the fastest growing territory in the world when it comes to redefining its products and further advancing marketing efforts to promote the region’s vast culinary and cultural offerings.
To help keep agents up to speed with the always-evolving Latin American tourism product, Travel Agent breaks down the latest news that may help you fatten your pockets when selling Central and South America.
Ecuador’s New Tourism Minister: In July, Ecuador’s President Rafael Correa appointed Vinicio Alvarado minister of tourism. Alvarado is charged with strengthening the image of Ecuador through tourism, recognized as a priority in President Correa’s third term.
Minister Alvarado has outlined the five strategic pillars for tourism development, including “Security,” to gain travelers’ trust; “Quality,” to continue the improvement of tourist services; “Destinations,” to highlight the wide variety of experiences that Ecuador offers; ”Connectivity,” to generate greater efficiency; and “Promotion,” to increase demand and share the country’s offerings with tourists worldwide. He also discussed the development of six programs to strengthen Ecuador’s tourist offering, such as the National Program of Tourist Destinations, which will inventory standardized information about the country’s attractions, such as services, information offices, trails and lodging.
Other programs include Tourism Signage, which aims to post 6,000 signs with tourist information around the country by 2016; Excellence in Tourism, featuring training opportunities; and initiatives geared toward providing credit, strengthening institutional structures, and advancing promotion for tourism development.
Wyndham Debuts in Ecuador: Wyndham Hotels and Resorts recently celebrated its continued expansion in Latin America with the addition of the Wyndham Guayaquil in Ecuador, marking the introduction of the Wyndham brand in that South American country. The newly constructed, full-service hotel is the fifth to open under an agreement between Wyndham Hotel Group and the hotel’s ownership group, Nobis, to develop and franchise eight additional hotels in the country under the Wyndham flag over 10 years.
Steps from historic Santa Ana Hill in downtown Guayaquil, the new waterfront Wyndham hotel joins newly renovated sister property Howard Johnson Hotel Guayaquil, one of four Howard Johnson hotels owned by Nobis and currently operating in Ecuador.
The opening of Wyndham Guayaquil bolsters Wyndham Hotel Group’s plans to expand and bring the Wyndham brand to key markets throughout Central and South America. In December 2012, the company added its first two Wyndham hotels in Costa Rica and recently announced plans to welcome its first properties in Colombia and Nicaragua in 2014.
New TRYP Coming to Lima: After 15 successful years of managing the Melia Lima Hotel in the district of San Isidro, Melia Hotels International has signed an agreement with Grupo Inversiones Hoteleras La Paz S.A.C. to manage a new hotel under the TRYP by Wyndham brand, the TRYP Lima Miraflores.Miraflores is known for its green spaces, shopping areas, nightlife and impressive views of the Pacific Ocean.
Melia will take an active role in the final design of the hotel, which is scheduled to open in 2016, to ensure compliance with the demanding standards of the TRYP by Wyndham city hotel brand and, in particular, will draw inspiration from the latest additions to the brand in New York, Bogota and Panama, bringing a touch of freshness, design and functionality to the hotel industries in these important cities.
Sofitel RelaunchED in Cartagena: After a major renovation, Sofitel Santa Clara was relaunched this spring as the Sofitel Legend Santa Clara Cartagena. The hotel is housed in a former convent dating back to 1621.
US Airways to Sao Paulo: In July, the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) awarded US Airways with permanent rights to operate daily, year-round service between Sao Paulo, Brazil, and the airline’s largest hub, Charlotte, N.C. The airline began serving the route on June 8, using temporary frequencies leased from another carrier.
Holland America Transits the Canal: Six Holland America Line ships will sail 28 full and partial transits of the Panama Canal during the fall 2013 through spring 2014 season, which coincides with the canal’s 100th anniversary. The itineraries range in length from 10 to 22 days and can be a good way for clients to sample a number of Latin American ports.
Sailing through the Panama Canal with Holland America Line is more than moving through the locks and lakes that make up the canal. The itineraries include ports with attractions such as walking along the ramparts of a colonial Spanish castle, exploring ancient Mayan ruins or going on a “skywalk” in the Costa Rican rainforest.