Travelers felt a strong shock to their finances as inflation has not stopped growing since at least 2019. However, in 2022, tourists in the country began to perceive some calm in the prices of tourist products and services. This momentum only lasted a year and now travelers are spending 21% more to cover their nightly destination expenses.
This was shown by figures from the Domestic Expenditure in Tourism (Egit) survey by the National Administrative Department of Statistics (Dane), which showed that each tourist spent $128,681 per night at their destination in the second quarter of the year each year. that’s 21% more than the same period last year, when $106,744 was paid.
The spending categories that saw the largest price increases in the second quarter of 2023 were other expenses (179%), goods for personal use (155%), air transportation (47%), cultural services (45%) and ground transportation (19). %). %).
For Paula Cortés, president of the Colombian Association of Travel and Tourism Agencies (Anato), this increase in spending was not due to greater investments in or improvement of other products or services, but is a direct effect of inflation.
“Of the total of this spending, 30% is on food and beverages, with this group seeing an annual increase of 14.3%, according to the Dane’s June IPC report,” Cortes said.
In addition, according to Anato’s managing director, 17% of the average total expenses are accounted for by air transport and 16% by land transport, two items that were affected during the year.
As for air transport, this year the VAT on this service increased from 5% to 19%, which affected the ticket price. In addition, prices increased due to reduced supply (due to the exit of the two airlines from the market).
As for surface transportation, the price of fuel has risen to over $200 month after month (to reduce the deficit in the Fuel Stabilization Fund), which may explain why people are spending more.
“Together, these three items account for approximately 64% of the total average daily expenditure reported in Egit. Therefore, it cannot be concluded that spending in destinations increases with their respective economic benefits, since this component cannot be specified in real numbers,” explains the President of Anato.
On the other hand, according to José Duarte, managing director of Cotelco, the real accommodation rate has fallen since April and is at single digits between April and August.
Despite the increase in prices, the number of travelers in Egit is recovering year after year, but does not exceed the number before the pandemic. In the second quarter of 2023, 1.9 million people left home to travel, compared to 1.45 million in the same quarter last year and 2 million in 2019.
According to Duarte, “The main reason for Colombians not to travel, at 65.7%, is economic, that is, they are not able to make the decision to travel,” he points out.
The largest increase was for reasons of “visiting friends or family,” with a 51% increase from 577,000 people traveling for this purpose to 868,000. In second place is business travel, up 22%, from 87,000 business travelers in the second quarter of 2022 to 106,000 this year.
Travel for leisure or vacation purposes saw the smallest increase (16%). In 2022, 752,000 people traveled for leisure between April, May and June; this year the figure is 876,000.
Depending on the type of accommodation, people are increasingly looking for different travel options. The Other category saw the largest increase of 54% in the second quarter of 2023 compared to the same period in 2022, guests at hotels increased by 28% and at friends’ homes by 29%.
The way travelers mobilized during this period changed due to the increase in ticket prices. Compared to the same period last year, the number of travelers in public transport increased by 63%, in airplanes by 33%, in private transport by 18% and in the “other” category by 84%.