Latin Americans are increasing their international travel, according to travel analytics specialists ForwardKeys.

The company expects as much as a 9.3% increase for the first half of 2018.

“Argentinians and Brazilians are leading the way, with Argentinians travelling mainly within Latin America and Brazilians travelling more and more to the USA and Canada. The importance of improved connectivity and the ability to easily obtain travel visas to travel trends is once again confirmed as those contributed to the last development,” says ForwardKeys CEO Olivier Jager.

The most popular destinations within Latin America are Colombia, Brazil and Chile. For long-haul trips, the football World Cup in Russia in June is a popular destination. Bookings to Russia for June’s football World Cup are brisk – Mexico ahead 373.5%.

But the strengthening of the US dollar is tempering Argentinians’ enthusiasm for travel when confronted with the diminishing buying power of their currency.

A breakdown of destinations shows that travellers from Argentina are mainly going elsewhere in Latin America – a 17.1% hike year-on-year. Brazilians are travelling  more long-haul, particularly to the US and Canada due to improved connectivity and an Electronic Travel Authorisation programme.

Latin America Inbound

According to Jager: “The trend in flight bookings both to and from Latin America is incredibly healthy. There is something of a virtuous circle right now. Many airlines are increasing capacity and as that capacity is being filled, airlines are encouraged to further increase the number of seats they provide.”

Year to date, flights inbound to South American countries show an “excellent performance” in this period, 12% ahead.

Brazil’s strong rating (inbound bookings for the first half of 2018 are 16.5% ahead) is explained by improved connectivity with the US and the recent e-visa program for visitors from Australia (since November 2017), US, Canada and Japan (since January 2018). The e-visa program significantly simplifies the visa application process, reducing the request time and the fees (in the case of the U.S., to $40 from $160).