Anato: the country's passenger movement will exceed 2019 levels

Anato: the country’s passenger movement will exceed 2019 levels

Facing the Tourist Showcase of the Colombian Association of Travel and Tourism Agencies, Anato, its president, Paula Cortés Calle, in an interview with Portafolio, gives his balance on how the tourism sector has taken flight and what are the projections for this year. Considering the vaccination as a motor to avoid closures before possible new variants.

(With a tourist showcase, Anato expects to attract US$90 million).

How did the sector end 2021?

Regarding the arrival of foreign visitors, we reached a reactivation of 38%, we estimate 1.5 or 1.6 million foreigners arriving in our country. Regarding the departure of Colombians, the year closed with 3 million people who traveled abroad, which corresponds to a recovery of 67%, compared to 2019.

Now, as for the passenger movement a reactivation of 74% was registered, with 22 million national passengers and 8 million international ones.

And what was the balance of the agencies?

Although it is true that we had a certain improvement, the nominal income of the agencies has reached, up to now, 63% recoverythis indicator is linked to the reactivation of sales, which was 60%.

We still have a long way to go to reach 2019. Last year we closed with a 36.6% drop in the nominal income of travel agencies.
Obviously if we compare 2021 with 2020, well, the progress was enormous, because two years ago we closed with -70%, but well, 2020 was a year of total closure.

(The ‘getaways’ are now the tourist’s favorite plan).

How will the sector recover in 2022?

We are very optimistic about what will happen this year. We think that we can close 2022, with 3.5 or 3.6 million foreign visitors, with a reactivation of 80%, compared to 2019. We still do not believe that, at the end of this year, we will reach the goal that we had in 2019 of 4.5 million foreign visitors.

In the departure of Colombians, we are going to have approximately 4.3 million people leaving the country, almost 90 or 95% of what we had in 2019.

In the movement of passengers we believe that at the national level, we will overcome 2019, with a reactivation of 105 or 110%. We can reach 30 million national passengers and 11 or 12 million international passengers, with a reactivation of 85%.

As for air ticket sales by agencies?

Regarding these sales, the reactivation was 60%, we obtained US$827 million, and we hope to have a slightly higher reactivation at the end of the year, and try to match the US$1,390 million that we sold in 2019.

What factors have influenced this recovery?

We tie it a lot to the vaccination. As this process has been growing, not only in Colombia but in the world, countries have relaxed, in a good way, regarding restrictions.

In other words, we know that the impediments we had last year, due to the complete closures, the requirements of having to present PCR, and isolations, obviously that kills tourism. As that has been relaxing, the sector has resurfaced.

In addition to the flexibility of the trips, we have understood that we have to improve the policies for cancellations or change of dates.

(A new airline lands in the country: Ultra Air begins operations).

How to improve the busy staff that is the furthest behind?

The busy staff is still totally stagnant. Before the pandemic, we had been falling by 20% less. Last year we closed with a decrease of 42%, that is, the loss of employment in the sector doubled.

To counteract this, the Formal Employment Support Program, PAEF has been one of the greatest economic incentives given by the National Government. This aid ended in December. The great desire of the sector would be that they could extend this program a little more, that is, this is one of the requests that we have for the Congress of the Republic now in the month of March.

Did Ómicron mean anything in terms of setbacks for the sector?

Ómicron was something that generated some uncertainty, but after seeing that it was relatively mild with vaccinated people, we saw that even if people were infected there was no greater risk of hospitalization.

How do you receive the news of the formalization of tourism ‘apps’?

This has been a request that we have made to the Government for several years since we began to see the growth of these platforms. This has been the first step.
Now the eyes fall on the Superintendency of Industry and Commerce, to find out how they will control these ‘apps’ and track them.


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