Destination Ranking

South America and Canada take off while US stagnates

Top growth destinations in North and South America
Top growth destinations in North and South America

South American countries including Colombia, Chile, Peru and Ecuador along with Canada are winning long-haul visitors as the US stagnates, according to the newly-published fvw Destination Ranking 2019.

Smaller destinations in the region are gradually establishing themselves as popular choices for both German and international travellers, the ranking of major destinations worldwide showed.

Colombia is a big success story and the clear regional winner in a five-year growth comparison. The country is profiting strongly from its recent political stability and diverse tourism promotion activities. Overall, the number of international visitors to Colombia has risen steadily at double-digit rates to reach nearly 4.3 million last year, 87% more than in 2013. Thanks to a tourist office in Germany, the country is now featured in 140 different tour operator programmes compared to just 22 a decade ago. German visitor numbers have risen by 59% in the last five years to over 70,000, including by 11% last year.  

Other South American winners on the German source market include Chile (80,000 visitors last year), Peru (81,000) and Ecuador (35,000) as well as niche destination Guyana. Fortunes have been more mixed for Brazil due to recent political instability. German visitor numbers improved slightly to 211,000 last year but this is still some way off the highs seen in 2014 and 2015. Similarly, Argentina has largely stagnated on the German market in recent years.

There is also a clear winner in North America. Canada has generated a 27% rise in international arrivals over the last five years, topping 21 million visitors in 2018. The country is also performing well on the German market with a 30% increase since 2013 to top the 400,000 level for the first time last year. The lower exchange rate, cheaper flight prices and the 150th anniversary of the country’s foundation in 2017 have all been positive factors.

In contrast, the USA has essentially been stagnating for the last few years due to a mix of currency effects and negative publicity, including the well-known ‘Trump effect’. The largest single long-haul destination for German travellers has attracted about two million visitors from Germany in each of the last three years, while international numbers have risen slightly. US officials are optimistic that business could pick up this year, although tour operators have more mixed views.

Overview of all regional clusters