Guatemala is getting ready to reactivate domestic tourism

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For the reactivation, protocols and practical guides must be implemented, which are still under review in the Ministry of Health.

By Free Press

The deputy director of the Guatemalan Tourism Institute (Inguat) Elmer Hernández, said that the institution has a reactivation plan and this is scheduled to reactivate internal visits on July 15.

However, he clarified that this date could be postponed depending on the restrictions that the government and the President of the Republic, Alejandro Giammattei, are issuing related to the coronavirus.

Of domestic tourism, an estimated 7 million trips were expected in 2020, but there would be a 45% drop, Hernández added. If the resumption of activities in the sector takes place, they hope to recover around 3 million 800 thousand tourists from July, he added.

The economic impact in 2020 will be a drop of 53% compared to last year in the amount that Guatemalans spend on tourism. In 2019 the economic spill was Q26 thousand 437 million and this year it is expected to reach Q11 thousand 919 million, a decrease of Q14 thousand 518 million.

Foreign tourism until 2021

In the case of international tourism, the director of the Inguat Mynor Cordón said that it will reactivate more slowly and it is expected that they will begin to come in the second quarter of 2021.

The data derives from the fact that air connectivity behavior, restrictions on the continent and in Europe's priority markets have been investigated. Based on this, it is planned to start a destination recall and international marketing campaign from August 2020.

In 2021, the bicentennial of independence will be held, and it is expected to attract more visitors, they added.

The entity projects a drop in the number of foreign visitors to the country of 67% compared to what was registered in 2019. Last year 2 million 559 thousand 599 visitors were received, while in only 846 thousand 321 could be received, but this depends on if they begin to open travel restrictions both in Guatemala and the rest of the countries.

In foreign currency, a 68% decrease is estimated due to the emergency of the covid 19. This item will go from US $ 1,249 million in 2019 to US $ 399 million in 2020.

Within the marketing, it is planned to start with nearby countries, such as the South East of Mexico, El Salvador, Honduras and , added the authorities.

Do Guatemalans want to do tourism?

Hernández said that Inguat carried out a survey in which Guatemalans expressed their intention to travel when the restrictions were withdrawn.

The main destinations would be Sacatepéquez, Sololá, Escuintla and Petén.

How will the reactivation be?

The tourist establishments and destinations must implement protocols, for this the Inguat elaborated the sanitary practical guides for the sectors of lodging establishments, travel agencies, tour operators, tourist guides, tourist land transport and restaurants, said director Mynor Cordón.

These guides have already been sent to the Ministry of Health for approval, and they announced that they will be available next week from Monday. But they anticipated continuing with the distancing, use of masks and gel.

Hernández said that the reactivation will be gradual, and that it will start with open spaces such as nature and tourist sites, mentioning Tikal and Yaxhá (in Petén) as an example.

For the tourist reactivation, they have already received proposals from 1,042 tours of operators that present 210 packages and are under evaluation. These would be promoted on the Paseo Guatemala site from July 15.

Apart from launching the country brand in August, it is planned to start in July measures for the international revival of tourism such as online business rounds, destination presentations.

But they will also focus on launching a health and wellness tourism platform, starting their approach in Quetzaltenango, Sololá and Huehuetenango.

Other actions

  • The Tourist Self-Management Committees (CAT) will be reactivated, of which there are 45 in the country.
  • Training will be carried out with 15 municipalities.
  • The Tourism Advisory Board will be convened, as permitted by article 9 of the Organic Law of Inguat and in which Segeplan participates. The Ministries of the Interior, Foreign Relations, and Communications, the Chambers of Commerce, Industry, and Tourism, as well as the airlines, the Association of Journalists of Guatemala, hotels, and tour operators.
  • Inguat wants the government to provide it with resources for the marketing campaign, since the income of its budget will decrease 65% in 2020.
  • The reactivation of the international tourism sector will take longer, in August it is planned to launch the country brand and carry out a marketing campaign.

On Wednesday and Thursday the private tourism sector, including the Guatemalan Chamber of Tourism (Camtur) and other entities, released a survey referring to 87% of companies in the tourism sector being closed, 82% of these with closings for customer service, while 5% have closed permanently. Layoffs are also increasing.

Camtur President Luis Rey criticized that the sector does not have the support of the Ministry of Economy or Inguat, despite its importance for the country's economic development.

Cordón, at the end of this Thursday's conference on the revival of tourism, called on the private sector to continue the dialogue.

Meanwhile, Hernández replied that the tourism sector is working in the economic cabinet, for which a diagnosis and subsequent economic recovery plan will be made.

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