This is a best prospect industry sector for this country. Includes a market overview and trade data.
The United States is the top choice for Guatemalan travelers. At least half of Guatemalan tourists choose to travel to American 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 American consumption patterns, such as clothing, food, music, etc., which increases the affinity of Guatemalan travelers for the American market.
According to the National Travel and Tourism Office (NTTO), the number of Guatemalan visitors to the U.S. has steadily increased in the last few years. In 2021, 279,896 Guatemalans visited the United States, an increase of 249.5% compared to 2020, reflecting a renewed interest of travelling to the United States after the pandemic. Statistics show that this interest will remain stable, since the first months of 2022, an increase of 85% was also recorded in January and 118% in February, compared to the same months in 2021 respectively.
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 and will take time to conduct tourist activities.
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. Also, due to COVID-19, a recent demand for outdoor activities is still emerging.
Additionally, in 2021 due to the rebound in COVID-19 cases in Guatemala and after the United States opened its borders so that international tourists could obtain available vaccines, a new tourism opportunity was opened in Guatemala, where people and their families with high purchasing power prefer to travel mainly to the states of Florida, Texas, New York, and California to obtain vaccines. However, despite the fact that in 2022 Guatemalans have reduced visits to the United States for this specific purpose, many continue to take advantage of their visits to get vaccinated.
Airline passenger capacity is growing. Before COVID-19, commercial airlines were flying approximately 610,000 passengers per year. In the first quarter of 2022, the General Directorate of Civil Aviation (DGAC), reported a passenger volume of 204,000 - a rate of 816,000 per year.
The following airlines offer daily non-stop flights from Guatemala to the United States: American Airlines, Avianca, Delta, Frontier, JetBlue, Spirit, 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 U.S. and other international destinations, such as Aeromexico, Copa Airlines, Iberia, and Volaris. 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. Additionally, the Mexican airline Aeromar is expected to start operations in Guatemala in December 2022, making flights from Cancún, Mexico to Guatemala City and Flores, Peten. In January 2023, Aeromar is also expected to make four weekly flights connecting Guatemala City with San Pedro Sula in Honduras. Likewise, Arajet airline from the Dominican Republic will also begin operations in August 2022, making at least two weekly flights from the Dominican Republic to Guatemala City and vice versa.
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 $120 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 U.S. 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 “International Pow Wow” (https://www.ipw.com/). We also maintain active contacts with the local media in order 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. Unfortuntely, 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 restricitons ease, and the issuance of US tourist visas normalizes
The tourism sector was one of the most affected due to the measures that were adopted to stop the COVID-19 virus from spreading, but as travel restrictions ease and the number of people vaccinated increases, it is expected to bounce back quickly.
- U.S. Travel Association
- Visit USA Committee Guatemala
- Brand USA
- Dirección General de Aeronautica civil
- National Travel & Tourism Office
Interested parties may contact Commercial Assistant Karla Salas at firstname.lastname@example.org