Sunday, January 15, 2012

Tourism in South America: six charts

Charts are a convenient way to ilustrate a point. I have been researching on tourism in my hometown, Arica, during some years and I want to show you some facts on tourism in Latin America condensed in six charts who -I think- talk better than a thousand words. Here I go:

First, let´s see how many tourist receive every country in South America (Guyanas and Surinam are excluded by their small share):

As we see, for further analysis we can eliminate also Venezuela, Bolivia and Paraguay because their small market share. Now, let´s see again, but as how much million dollars they have received from tourism:
¿Can you see it is not the same? Peru and Colombia receive more money than Chile despite they receive less tourists. This is explained by the origin of their tourists: Chile receive more visitors from the neighbor countries and those spend less, let´s see the media spend of tourist as their origin:

The lower spend of neighbor visitors is -at certain extent- compensated by their higher amount, that is way the income from tourism in Chile in % per origin of visitors is as follow:
As at the end of the day our interest is how much US$ instead ahow many visitors, it is clear that a good strategy may concentrate in improve the market share of tourists from Europe, USA, and Asia, which explain why Peru with less tourists receive more incomes. This not implies to forbid or desincentivate tourism from neighbor countries but focus the investments in the most profitable segments. If we divide the US$/tourist :
¡Chile appears in the last place!. Now, as we Chileans love rankings, the World Tourist Organization from the United Nations compiles the Touristic Competitivity Ranking based in several indicators and the results are (the lower the better):
We can note that it is not a predictive index, except in the case of Brazil who is more or less obvious. Chile, the last in US$/tourist here apprears in 3rd place, the ranking shows no correlation with tourist arrived neither with incomes.

From those six Simple graphics we can arrive to some conclusions:

1.- Some countries, due political reasons (Venezuela, Bolivia) o due their small size (Paraguay, Surinam, Guyana, Guyana Francesa) are practically out of business.

2.- Brazil and Argentina are leaders in South America, both in number of visitors as in US$ received. Those countries has a mix of vacation tourists (Mar del Plata, Rio de Janeiro) with adventurer travellers (Patagonia, Pantanal). Vacational tourism is massive and requires huge investments. The leadership is explained by the size of the economies and the abundance of natural resources and infraestructure.

3.- Peru is doing fine in tourism, probably has the best relative performance due a good strategy and the important resource of Cusco and Macchu Pichhu. Their tourism is aimed to adventurer travellers, not massive, requires comparatively small investments and the small volume make it quite sutainable. Colombia and Ecuadorare are starting with a similar strategy in the last years.

4.- Chile has a low cost strategy: massive tourism oriented to neighbor countries, wich produces lower incomes despite the comparatively higher volume of visitros. This is due a mistaken strategy, based in the model of vacational tourism following the OCDE strategies, this explain why despite the poor results Chile ranks high in competitivity index: we are successfuly implementing the wrong polities.

A final figure: for those who doubt on the importance of tourism as economic activity, in the world tourism is the fourth source of external income for countries preceded by fuels, chemical products and cars exportations. ¿And what about Chile? Incomes from tourism was US$ 1.978 millions, wich places in 5th place after minning, fruits, cellulose and salmon exports.


Haven House said...

Nice informative post ...Keep posting..

Termas said...

Grande, Tomás ! No lo había visto desde tu punto de vista. Está excelente. Si puedes mándame el artículo traducido a mi mail, para ponerlo en


Tomas Bradanovic said...

Hola Carlos! la verdad es que lo buesqué en mi blog en español y no lo tengo pero lo encontré en el sitio de unos amigos que me lo publicaron, lo puedes copiar de

Ningún problema, es de dominio público, lo voy a colocar de nuevo en mi blog en español :)