The United States is the top choice for Guatemalan travelers. At least half of Guatemalan tourists choose to travel to U.S. destinations due to the proximity between the two countries and increasing availability of non-stop flights. Also, it is important to mention that Guatemalan culture is highly influenced by U.S. consumption patterns, such as clothing, food, music, etc., which increases the affinity of Guatemalan travelers for the U.S. market.
According to the National Travel and Tourism Office (NTTO), the number of Guatemalan visitors to the United States has steadily increased in the last few years. Despite experiencing a decline of 8.3% in 2022, resulting in 256,613 visits from Guatemalans to the United States, there is an optimistic outlook for 2023. Recent trends indicate an average increase of 15% during the months of January, February, and March 2023, suggesting a potential rise in visits for the year.
The decrease in tourism during 2022 can largely be attributed to the delays encountered in obtaining new applications and renewals of the U.S. Tourist Visa (B1/B2). However, it is worth noting that the Consular Section at the U.S. Embassy in Guatemala has implemented new policies to streamline and expedite these processes, resulting in reduced delays, although challenges remain. Moreover, starting from January 2023, the renewal process has been optimized to the extent that it now takes approximately 3-4 days for the passport to reach a local courier. However, the return of the passport with the renewed U.S. visa still requires a timeframe of 4-6 weeks. On the other hand, individuals seeking new visa requests should anticipate a waiting period of approximately one year before obtaining an appointment. These measures and improvements aim to enhance the efficiency and effectiveness of visa processing, ultimately facilitating smoother travel experiences for Guatemalan visitors to the United States.
Significant insights regarding the travel patterns of Guatemalan visitors to the United States highlight two primary age groups: individuals aged 35-54 and young adults aged 25-34. Furthermore, an analysis of the top seven ports of entry reveals the preferred points of arrival for Guatemalan travelers, which include: 1. Miami, FL, 2. Los Angeles, CA, 3. Houston, TX, 4. Ft. Lauderdale, FL, 5. Dallas, TX, 6. New York, NY, and 7. Washington, DC. These findings shed light on the demographic and geographic factors that shape the travel preferences of Guatemalan visitors to the United States. Favorite destinations for Guatemalan travelers include Texas, California, Illinois, Florida, Georgia, and New York and growing destinations are Massachusetts, Washington, D.C., and Nevada. Businesspeople or trade event attendees also constitute a large category of travelers. Guatemalans often take advantage of tourist opportunities while traveling for business.
In addition to family-related tourism, Guatemalans travel to the U.S. seeking entertainment experiences. Travel to destinations with theme parks, shopping, National Parks, and entertainment venues increases during school vacations.
Airline passenger capacity is growing. Before COVID-19, commercial airlines were flying approximately 610,000 passengers per year. According to information provided by the General Directorate of Civil Aviation (DGAC), from January to May 2022, 349,233 passenger traffic was reported leaving Guatemala to the United States and during the same period in 2023, 382,432 passengers have been reported, thus increasing by 9.51% respectively.
The following airlines offer daily non-stop flights from Guatemala to the United States: American Airlines, Avianca, Delta, Frontier, JetBlue, Spirit, Alaska Airlines, Volaris, and United Airlines.
U.S. cities served by non-stop service include Atlanta, Chicago, Fort Lauderdale, Dallas, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, Newark, New York JFK, Orlando, and Washington D.C.
Other airlines also service the Guatemalan market offering flights to the United States and other international destinations, such as Aeromexico, Copa Airlines, Iberia, TAG Airlines, Aeromar, and Arajet. Avianca, Aeromexico, Copa and Volaris transport thousands of Guatemalan passengers to the United States, with flights connecting in either El Salvador, Mexico City or Panama.
The Ministry of Communications, Infrastructure and Housing along with the National Council of Alliances for the Development of Economic Infrastructure (CONADIE), will begin a modernization project to improve La Aurora International Airport facilities. This project has an estimated cost of $158 million. The consulting firm Deloitte Tetra Tech was hired to prepare feasibility studies and it is expected that by 2024 it will be ready for prequalification. This project will be financed through a public-private partnership (APP).
Sectors within the U.S. Travel and Tourism market that are considered best prospects include:
- Family attractions
- Family-friendly and pet-friendly hotels
- Shopping venues (outlets and discount stores)
- Entertainment shows
- Sports events
- Cruise trips
Many Guatemalans look to send their children to the United States to enhance their English-speaking skills in educational exchange programs. There is also interest in higher education schools among Guatemalan students.
We are actively promoting U.S. travel and tourism destinations by supporting the Visit USA Committee’s activities in the country, recruiting Guatemalan delegations to attend important tourism trade events such as IPW (https://www.ipw.com/). We also maintain active contacts with the local media to provide them information on U.S. destinations.
Each year, the Visit USA Committee in Guatemala organizes a trade event promoting the U.S. as a travel and tourism destination. Airlines, hotels, car rentals, insurance companies, cruise lines, U.S. convention and visitors Bureaus, and U.S. tourism offices are among the main exhibitors. Unfortunately, due to the pandemic, this event has had to be postponed, but new dates for its relaunch are being discussed for 2023 once the sector stabilizes more, travel restrictions ease, and the issuance of U.S. tourist visas normalizes.
Interested parties may contact Commercial Assistant Karla Salas at email@example.com