HB ON THE SCENE: Latin America Poised for Prosperous Growth
Wednesday January 30th, 2013 - 8:01PM V
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RIO HATO, PANAMA—Latin America is poised for significant supply growth on the strength of a surging middle class and a growing development pipeline in regions such as Panama and Brazil, according to executives at the Wyndham Latin America Regional Convention 2013 held here at the Wyndham Grand Playa Blanca.
Daniel del Olmo, SVP/managing director, WHG Latin America, maintained the region will experience “prosperous growth for this year,” specifically GDP growth of roughly 4%, with Panama realizing more than 10% growth and Peru and Mexico coming in at 6.2% an 4.5%, respectively. He also noted in a survey of Wyndham owners and operators in Latin America, some 69% expected RevPAR to increase between 3% and 5%.
Jan Freitag, SVP/global development, Smith Travel Research, noted “Panama and Brazil are seeing a lot of activity for new construction.” He added, “Everybody wants to be in Panama.”
According to Clay Dickinson, EVP, Jones Lang LaSalle Hotels, Latin America, the company expects a 425,000-room increase over the next 10 years in the region, which represents a 65% increase. He noted the current pipeline is around 100,000 rooms for Latin America.
Freitag did note, similar to the U.S., the Latin America region has difficulty getting rate traction. “With the exception of Mexico and Brazil, room rate declined in 2012,” he said.
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When you hear all the lodging industry projections for the months and years to come, much of the robust growth is forecast to be the result of the expected influx of travelers from China. In what could only be seen as good news for the industry, that expectation moved a little closer to reality when President Obama signed a visa waiver extension for Chinese travelers earlier this month.