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Internal ecotourism leads the interest of travelers in Panama

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The interest in traveling and discovering new destinations has returned to the lives of many people, after the health and mobility restrictions due to COVID-19. In Panama, travel searches remain at 82%, compared to their peak in 2019.

This figure comes from the Big Data Analytics study on searches and digital public conversation to learn about travel and domestic tourism trends, carried out by LLYC analyzing three of the main countries within the tourism industry in Latin America: Mexico, Panama and the Dominican Republic. Dominican, within the framework of World Tourism Day.

Due to the health pandemic, travel searches both in Panama and in Mexico and the Dominican Republic were reduced by up to 67%; however, interest in travel has resurfaced, causing search volume to increase by as much as 86%, compared to 2019.

Mexico it is currently at 86% compared to its highest peak in 2019, the Dominican Republic at 88% compared to its 2018 peak.

Internal tourism, an opportunity to reconquer

Today people prefer places to relax and vacation within their own territory; One of the variables to choose the destination is that they can arrive by land and with the ease of being able to choose between an Airbnb or a hotel that fits their lodging budget.

Panama registers an interest in searches for offers in domestic tourism, mainly to ecotourism and beach destinations, with an increase of 26.4% compared to 2020.

The three most popular destinations for local tourism are: Boquete, an adventure destination in the province of Chiriquí, known for its mountains and volcanoes. The second most sought after destination is Bocas del Toro and the third San Blas, which are part of the group of islands off the Caribbean coast that can be reached from the city in a 2-hour drive, from the city to the port of Carti.

In Mexico, the interest of road trip searches from five main states stands out: Quintana Roo, Mexico City, Jalisco, Baja California Norte and Baja California Sur. These searches have grown 16.2% over 2019, while searches for offers on destinations, flights and accommodations are 55% less than in 2019.

It is worth mentioning that, among the most sought after destinations today, are Cancun, Guadalajara and Mexico City, with Airbnb being the preferred option for travelers, leaving all-inclusive hotels in last place.

In the Dominican Republic, the trend of local tourism searches has been increasing by 22% since 2020, with interest in traveling mainly to the beaches of Punta Cana, Las Terrenas and Samaná. Although the search percentage is 53.1% lower than in 2017, the interest in offers when planning your trips is on the rise; The states where the greatest interest in traveling is generated are: National District, La Altagracia, San Cristóbal, La Romana and Samaná, and among its main travel motivators are camping and hiking..

New forms of travel?

Having different alternatives for both transportation and lodging, allows the traveler to experience various plans and personal experiences or in company.

The interest in searching for hotels when planning a trip had remained in trend in the 3 countries until 2019, where it was surpassed by Airbnb a 1.53%. According to the LLYC study, the main factors that have influenced people’s preference for Airbnb vs. hotels are: price, length of stay and the number of people who travel. However, what still keeps hotels current are security and the type of trip.

According to the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), the last World Tourism Barometer experienced a year-on-year increase of 182% in January-March 2022, with destinations around the world receiving some 117 million international arrivals, up from 41 million in the first quarter of 2021. UNWTO data shows that during the In the first quarter of 2022, international tourist arrivals in the Americas more than doubled (+117%) in the same three months. However, arrivals in Europe and the Americas were still 43% and 46% below 2019 levels, respectively.

It’s always a good time to travel

The time period in which people prefer to travel varies depending on their location and this is valuable information for tourism service providers and for analyzing consumption habits.

Planning a vacation depends on many factors, with the study of LLYC the most important travel moments for each region are identified:

  • For Mexico they are March (Easter holidays) and July-August (summer holidays).
  • For Panama they are January-February (summer vacations) and November (national holidays).
  • For the Dominican Republic they are July-August (summer holidays).

Although each country refers to different times of high season, summer continues to be the season in which tourists travel the most and the peak of search for flights, hotels and experiences. In Mexico, Panama and the Dominican Republic, a constant was identified that remains in the keywords used to organize vacations:

  • #Destinations
  • #Tourism
  • #Hiking/Camping
  • #Discounts
  • #Ride/Trip
  • #Flights

These search trends were analyzed from 2019 to 2022, to examine significant changes in tourism behavior due to the COVID-19 situation. Mentions on Twitter, Blogs and News in 2022 combined 172K messages from 83K unique users. The opportunities for travelers continue in constant adaptation to current needs, where outdoor spaces are privileged, the security of having adequate sanitization protocols and the flexibility so that travelers can visit a destination, from different experiences according to your needs and preferences.

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