Latin America’s potential for big hotels and boutiques


26th September 2017

In Latin America, international hotel chains see growth potential in a market dominated by independents, as recovering economies and rising tourism boost the promise of profits.
Hilton Hotels & Resorts has doubled its portfolio in the region to 100 hotels over the past five years, and has more than 70 in the pipeline. “Our customers are asking us, ‘Where can you take us next?’” says Juan Corvinos, a managing director of development.
To expand tourism, however, more flights are needed to increase competition and drive down airfares, says Patricia Boo, a director of hotel research firm STR. “It is not a cheap or quick destination” from Europe or the U.S., she says.
Air connectivity emerged as a main topic at the September 13-14 SAHIC Latin America investment conference in Buenos Aires, with participants pointing to Argentina as an example. It plans to open more than 500 air routes into and around the country over the next two years, many for low-cost airlines. The government expects this will help ramp up foreign visits to nine million in 2020 from six million in 2016.
Another driver of investment is the region’s return to economic growth, bar Venezuela. With stability in the region, “we are going to see a more fluid industry more akin to what we see in the U.S., where more institutional investors will play a role,” says David Tarr, senior vice president of real estate and development at Hyatt Hotels.
Argentina and Brazil, two of the biggest markets, plan to reduce …

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