Growth and Competition in Latin American Online Travel

16th Mar 2010
Growth and Competition in Latin American Online Travel

Big changes are about to happen in the Latin American online travel market. Growth in the market is leading to intense competition for this valuable territory.

Travel distribution in Latin America is still primarily an offline process. However, critical mass is building for consumers and travel companies to connect online. Regional players were the first to make the move online, but this is about to change—rapidly—as global online travel companies enter the Latin American market.

Competition is heating up. In the last six months:

  * Expedia has expanded in Latin America with an aggressive presence in Mexico
  * and opened Latin America operations based in Sao Paulo, Brazil
  * Travelocity named a new director for the region operating out of Argentina
  * Egencia launched the Egencia Global Alliance to expand its network of strategic partnerships including Argentina and Uruguay

Regional players are also stepping it up. LAN Airlines has launched a new online booking engine—LAN for Business—designed to allow small and medium businesses to purchase and reserve airline tickets. The biggest online travel agency (OTA) in Brazil,, launched its site focused on corporate travel, Submarino Corporate Travel.


Internet sales are projected to grow significantly as new purchasers increasingly come online for the first time. The travel industry will begin to accommodate Latin America’s emerging middle class tourists and business travelers. Credit card security is no longer the major issue but still a challenge, and continued improvement will foster significant growth. The largest online travel markets in Latin America are Argentina, Brazil and Mexico followed by Colombia and Venezuela. Regional players accounted for exceptional performance and sales increases during 2009 despite the economic slowdown and specific country crises. Latin America’s large number of Internet users and high adoption of social networks are factors contributing to the online growth.

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