As a proud member of the grand tourism family of the Caribbean and the Americas and seeing with each passing issue the renewal of the original ideal of spreading the cultural, natural and historic values of this charming half of the planet to the rest of the world, this new presentation of the Excelencias magazine praises the painstaking efforts conducted in the course of these months by both the public and private sectors to weather the storm of the international economic crisis. The good numbers the Latin American and Caribbean travel destinations put on the board during the Holy Week holidays have served to beef out the rebound the region’s industry began hinting at in the past two quarters. And these are encouraging news as we move into a new summertime and leave the first half of the ongoing year behind. Thus, these figure bear out the UNWTO’s latest forecasts that suggest that the Americas will be staging a moderate recovery in 2010 somewhere between 2 and 4 percent, a growth rate that will definitely overcome the side effects of the 5 percent slump endured by the region in 2009 and will pave the way for the year 2011 to post better than or similar numbers to those scored before the crisis broke out. Investment in infrastructure is getting a new lease on life and airlift is getting better now following last year’s moderation trend. Promotion is back on track, with major endeavors now underway in terms of worldwide communications and based on a particular interest in such markets as Russia, India and China. If well attended, these countries could emerge as large outbound markets for Latin America and the Caribbean as a result of their growing middle-class segments and their citizens’ potentials to embark on long-haul trips overseas. The policies, the layout and implementation of multidestination programs with revenues that bring common benefits for a particular region or a community of nations, the piecemeal move toward high-end travel offers and the increasingly active role played by local incoming agencies in the development of non-hotel offerings –they open unlimited possibilities to further know the destinations with far more affordability when it comes to traveling– are, experts say, the great strengths the Latin American and Caribbean travel industry has clung to and made headway with. A recent study –disclosed by Euromonitor International, a consulting firm– made a point when it said that the ongoing year will turn out a period of recovery and stabilization for the region’s travel industry. And 2011, the report adds, will be the year “when Mexico, Peru, Chile and the Caribbean, with Brazil leading the pack, will eventually go back on the growing track.” Once again, our confidence and admiration go out to the Caribbean and Latin America

Jose Carlos de Santiago