Guatemala confident in the gradual and long-term recovery of tourism
The Central American country has been working hard to keep its tourism industry safe. To know the details, we exclusively interviewed Mynor Cordón, Director of Inguat
The Covid-19 pandemic has wreaked havoc on the tourism market but there are undoubtedly countries that have worked intensively to sustain their tourism infrastructure in the face of reopening. Such is the case of Guatemala. To find out the details on current and medium and long-term future, we interviewed Mynor Cordón, Director of Inguat. We share their responses below:
Until the health crisis erupted due to Covid-19, what was the situation of the tourism industry in Guatemala?
Tourism for the country had been developing in a positive way. In 2019, Guatemala had received 2,559,599 foreign visitors with a foreign exchange outflow of US $ 1,249 million.
Even before the health crisis, the main tourist emitting countries for the country were:
- The Savior
- Costa Rica
- Germany and Italy
What was the original plan and objectives for this year and how has it been modified by the health crisis?
Promote the different destinations of the country, consolidate the tourism industry, to contribute to the economic, social and cultural development of Guatemala, through the Master Plan for Sustainable Tourism 2015-2025.
Continuity to the projects worked during the previous administration (taking into account that the current administration of the Government began its functions in January of this year and has a duration of 4 years) and to the country brand which must be worked together with inter-institutional collaboration of the Presidency of the Republic, Ministry of Foreign Relations and the Ministry of Economy.
In short, as in all sectors, tourism has been affected by the health situation that the world is going through. However, we are making efforts to save the economy of the tourism sector, implement the National Tourism reactivation Plan in the first instance and then the international one, continue promoting the country taking advantage of the digital and friendly tools that exist today worldwide. .
With a view to reopening, how do destination positioning work and how do you describe the health system that will be offered to tourists worldwide?
The tourism sector, as well as all sectors, must adapt to the established safety recommendations and standards. The opening is an issue that will be given according to how the health context in our country evolves and abiding by the measures and dates established by the President of the Republic, Dr. Alejandro Giammattei.
At the Guatemalan Tourism Institute (INGUAT) we have developed a series of action guidelines for good health practices against COVID-19 for segments of the sector, the first six are for lodging establishments, restaurants, turperators, land tourist transportation, guides for tourists and travel agencies. You can consult them on the website of the institution and this link.
We are also working on the guides for archaeological sites jointly with the Ministry of Culture and Sports and for protected areas with the National Council of Protected Areas.
These guides are a series of recommendations that each company decides to implement in its operation. They are designed to be used by micro, small, medium and large companies in the sector, according to their services, establishments and service capacity. They were developed by a specialized team of INGUAT technicians, doctors, epidemiologists and auditors of the Quality Seal and Tourism Sustainability Labels Q and Green Q Seal. They have been endorsed by the
Ministry of Public Health and Social Assistance, through its Risk Coordination Unit.
We have taken advantage of technological tools to hold webinars on topics such as: business meetings with community projects, seminars for international clients of Guatemalan tour operators, training for travel agents and international wholesalers coordinated with embassies and the network of commercial advisers and consulates of the Ministry of Foreign Relations, training for tourism companies and talks on specific tourism issues.
What initiatives were launched to support tourism companies?
The central government, through ministries, has assigned specific support programs such as the Capital Protection Fund through the Crédito Hipotecario Nacional bank, among others.
Meetings have been held jointly with the President of the Republic, Vice President and government authorities, representatives of the private tourism sector to address the issue of support for the industry. A Tourism Advisory Board was formed to comply with the Organic Law of the institution and follow up on the support of the tourism sector.
In addition, various meetings have been held with representatives of the tourism sector at the departmental level to listen to their needs and involve them in reviving the sector, first through internal tourism and then internationally.
What kind of promotional activities and benefits do you plan to recover the number of tourists?
The recovery of tourism will be gradual in the medium and long term. Guatemala will start with domestic tourism. We are working to promote and offer tours organized jointly with the private sector to promote tourist packages for Guatemalans through the website www.paseoguatemala.com