The UNWTO analyzes investment opportunities in tourism in Latin American countries
Madrid.- Ecuador, Paraguay, the Dominican Republic, and Colombia are spearheading tourism projects valued at 2,350 million euros (approximately 2,573 million dollars), as highlighted in the first investment guides for each country prepared by the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) in collaboration with their respective Ministries of Tourism.
The UNWTO has so far published seven guides that delve into the tourism development opportunities in these four Latin American countries, as well as Uzbekistan, Tanzania, and Mauritius. The combined potential investment of these projects is estimated at around 5.5 billion euros (5.981 million dollars), according to Natalia Bayona, the executive director of the Madrid-based organization, in her interview with EFE.
The investment projects vary by country. In Colombia and Uruguay, the focus is mainly on hotel and real estate developments, estimated at 274 and 231 million dollars respectively. In Paraguay, the investment targets river tourism, interpretation centers, museums, sports, and airport infrastructures, amounting to 350 million dollars. The Dominican Republic is aiming for investments totaling 1,718 million dollars, primarily in maritime, road, health constructions, innovation centers, film studios, public spaces, golf courses, theme parks, and historical monuments and forts.
These guides detail the types of investments sought (private, public, or public-private partnerships) for each project and the potential job creation, among other aspects. The UNWTO envisions a broader model of tourism investment promotion, incorporating education (investment in people), technology and innovation (for prosperity), and sustainability (for the planet).
Bayona notes that 66% of global tourism investments are concentrated in hotels, highlighting a significant opportunity for diversification. In Latin America, the UNWTO has partnered with CAF (Development Bank of Latin America and the Caribbean) to create guides for some countries. In addition to Ecuador, which already has its guide, the UNWTO is working with Barbados, Uruguay, Panama, and El Salvador in the first phase of the agreement with CAF. The second phase is expected to include Jamaica, Brazil, Mexico, Peru, and Honduras, potentially launching at the next edition of the Fitur tourism fair in Madrid.
Outside the CAF collaboration, guides for the Dominican Republic, Colombia, and Paraguay have been prepared. Additionally, the UNWTO is working with Chile to showcase the country’s potential at an investment promotion forum on December 7.
The goal is to have a roadmap by the end of 2024 for nearly all of Latin America to promote investments under the framework the UNWTO seeks to standardize. Over the past five years, 175.5 billion dollars have been invested in 2,415 tourism projects worldwide, with Asia-Pacific, Europe, Latin America, the Caribbean, and the Middle East being significant recipients. Europe remains a primary investment destination due to its robust and mature tourism industry. However, private investors are increasingly exploring emerging markets in Latin America and the Middle East.