What’s New in Latin America


La Basilica del Voto Nacional towers above the Centro Historico district in Quito, Ecuador.

Despite the global economic slowdown, the online market for travel to Latin America is bursting with potential, and is poised for strong double-digit growth for the next several years, according to a new study by PhoCusWright. Online travel agencies are expected to double their gross bookings to approximately $5 billion in the next two years, the research firm said in its report.

“In 2010, big global players really stepped up their efforts in the region, specifically by targeting the highly fragmented hotel space,” Patricia Rasore, director, Latin America, at PhoCusWright. “And they’ve had some remarkable results.”

With that trend, it’s no surprise that there has been a raft of tourism and hotel developments in the region, among them:

Quito’s International Campaign

The Quito Visitors’ Bureau has unveiled a new international marketing campaign to attract more Americans and Europeans. It will promote the attractions of this historical city, which was named UNESCO’s first World Heritage Site in 1978. The U.S. campaign will feature traditional and digital advertising and a public relations campaign with a social media component. An initiative focused on the trade will include agent seminars and agent fam trips. The Ecuadorian capital aims to recruit more tour operators and encourage other operators to expand their stays. This year, the city has been declared the American Capital of Culture, and a full calendar of concerts, festivals, fairs and events has been put together to showcase Ecuadorian folklore, jazz, sacred music and more.

New Hotel Tower in Santiago

The InterContinental Santiago in Chile has unveiled its new club tower, adding 16 stories and 81 guest rooms. The tower boasts two swimming pools, VIP lounge, four restaurants and 20 meeting rooms spread over 27,200 square feet, making the 377-room InterContinental Santiago one of the largest convention centers in the country. On the west façade of the building is a 17,000-square-foot green “living wall,” which is a vertical garden.

JW Marriott to Open in Cusco

Marriott International Inc. plans to open a JW Marriott in Cusco, Peru, in 2012. The 153-room JW Marriott Hotel Cusco, at the gateway to the Andes mountain sanctuary Machu Picchu, will feature a customized design around a colonial church and ancient Inca artifacts found on the site. The hotel will be operated under a management agreement with Inversiones La Rioja, S.A., owners of JW Marriott Hotel Lima.

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