AGEXPORT’s Sustainable Tourism commission and Market Intelligence unit displayed the main findings of their “Tourism Perspectives for Guatemala” study. Among its main discoveries, 70% of Canadian and American tourists seek for culture, adventure and natural experiences in Guatemala. As well, an increasing number of millennials are currently visiting the country and look for good experiences, high-quality services and sustainable tourism sites.
Guatemala received on 2017 a total of 385,409 tourists from the United States and 33,684 from Canada, according to the Guatemalan Tourism Institute (INGUAT, for its acronym in Spanish). These markets represented 20% of the more than 2 million tourists that entered the country throughout the year. Due to its key importance, AGEXPORT’s Sustainable Tourism commission, with help from the Market Intelligence unit, started a study to explore the trends and opportunities of the North American market and its interest on Guatemalan touristic destinations.
INGUAT’s 2015-2025 Sustainable Tourism Master Plan prioritized the United States and Canada as main tourism markets. As such, in our commission we decided to explore these markets further and worked on a study called “North American Tourism Perspectives for Guatemala”. Among the indicators pointed out in the document, we learned that 70% of American and Canadian tourists are searching for adventure, nature and cultural experiences while in Guatemala, preferring locations like Peten, Izabal, Alta Verapaz and Sacatepequez. In these touristic areas, local communities and tourism service providers give tourists unique experiences with a top-quality service, said Mr. Ricardo Sagastume, president of AGEXPORT’s Sustainable Tourism commission.
The study also revealed that 60% of North American tourists in Guatemala use mobile devices to research touristic sites and book hotels in their destinations. Additionally, Guatemala is receiving a higher number of young, single-travelers seeking for independence and freedom.
With the document, eight key tourism segments were identified for Guatemala: sustainable tourism, adventure tourism, gastronomy, millennials, female single-travelers, photography tours, business travelers and PANK (Professional Aunt No Kids). Tourism companies are currently focusing their advertisements and offers to these targets.
There is an increasing interest from our visitors to travel to environment-friendly and socially responsible destinations, which gives an opportunity for us to continue developing the sustainable tourism industry. We need to continue displaying that our local communities and tour operators are certified (both nationally and international) with sustainability certifications and also that the closeness among our touristic sites allow tourists to reduce their carbon footprints, two things that are highly valued nowadays, said Mr. Sagastume.
Millennials are another important segment for Guatemala’s sustainable tourism. This group look for adventure experiences, as well as culture tourism options. To focus on this group, AGEXPORT’s Sustainable Tourism commission plans to offer package deals along with health tourism companies in order to promote both industries, mainly in peak seasons like Holy Week.