Some Uruguayans tend to choose the july vacation to be able to travel and disconnect from the daily routine. The heat plays a key factor when choosing the family destination in those two winter weeks, placing Europe, Brazil Y Caribbean as the preferred destinations. This year the flow of passengers increased considerably, but the numbers prior to the start of the pandemic have not yet been reached due to the COVID-19.
According to El País, in the main tourist agencies sales of international flight tickets they are still 40% below 2019 due to lack of flight connectivity and not having full passenger capacity.
Charles PeraPresident of the Uruguayan Association of Travel Agencies (I dared), told El País that the “vedette” destination on these vacations was Argentina, since it had approximately 180,000 Uruguayan tourists during the July vacations. According to Pera, the exchange difference with Argentina meant a good opportunity for Uruguayans who chose to book travel packages.
“There were packages for US$99, including the boat ticket and one night’s accommodation, for example. There were also more sophisticated offers -between US$190 and US$240- that included a direct ship from port to port and three nights of accommodation”, assured the president of Audavi.
Federico CabreraManager of Operations and Experience of Airports Uruguay, said that this year the passenger traffic was approximately 105,000 Uruguayans in the framework of the July holidays.
According to data from the National direction of MigrationIn the first week of the winter holidays, a total of 87,539 Uruguayans left the country. Foreigners also decided to leave Uruguay on that date, since 14,519 Argentines and 4,300 Brazilian residents chose to spend their vacations in other destinations. Consequently, a total of 110,643 passengers chose to travel to foreign destinations on the days mentioned. The vast majority decided to use the land route to leave the country, traveling through the Paysandú border bridge, through Colonia by boat or also from Salto and Fray Bentos. The border with Brazil (Chuy, Río Branco and Rivera) also presented movement.
Compared to 2021, the flow of passengers by air increased considerably, since last year only 5,000 people traveled in the two weeks of vacation. “Today the situation is very different. In July 2021, the borders were still closed, so connectivity was even more reduced,” said Cabrera.
Thanks to the increase in connectivity compared to last year, the Carrasco Airport had flights from Montevideo with direct destinations to Buenos Aires, Bogotá, Lima, Porto Alegre, San Pablo, Asunción, Santiago de Chile, Panama, Miami and Madrid.
In addition, they are getting closer to pre-pandemic numbers, since almost 170,000 passengers were registered in July 2019. “Currently the supply of flights is in recovery. This explains why the volume of passengers continues below pre-pandemic levels, it is a phenomenon that other countries in the region are experiencing,” admitted Cabrera.
Pera affirmed that the air availability that existed for the “hot destinations” (Europe, the Caribbean and Brazil) was filled well in advance. Camilo Papa, commercial manager of Jetmar Viajes, told El País that -due to the great demand- they put together several packages destined for Brazil, the Caribbean and USA. The price of said vacation offer was around US$1,000 and US$2,500 respectively.
In turn, Cabrera said that the current health situation in the country was key for Uruguayans to choose to travel again. “Today, more than 80% of the population is vaccinated, which gives passengers more peace of mind when traveling. In addition, both the airport and the airlines have well-defined sanitary protocols, guaranteeing a safe trip”, he indicated.
Although passengers were not lacking, Pera commented that the costs of flights to Europe increased to prices “that we had not seen for a long time.” “Last year a plane ticket to Europe was between US$900 and US$1,100, this year it was US$1,800 and up to US$2,200 approximately”, he exemplified.
Due to this, the president of Audavi recommends passengers to be more organized and astute when buying a travel package.
“The consumer is going to have to change their buying attitude, doing it more in advance. Otherwise, the rates he is going to pay are much higher or in the worst case he is not going to get availability, ”he assured.
Pope said that many of the Uruguayans who decided not to travel last year – due to the conditions, uncertainty and fear generated by covid-19 – and wanted to do so this year, found themselves with a large increase in prices caused by the limited supply of flights. .
Pera assured that the war between Russia and Ukraine did not affect Uruguayan tourists who decided to travel to Europe, but it did make it difficult to find accommodation, since European tourists who usually go to Eastern Europe traveled this year towards western Europe. “Destinations such as Madrid, Lisbon, Paris and London suffered great demand in terms of hotels this year, which is why tour operators -in some cases- have encountered difficulties in getting their clients to stay,” Pera explained.
For his part, Cabrera pointed out that international conflicts “undoubtedly have an impact on the world travel and tourism sector.”
The situation and what is projected in travel
Andres Gil, CEO of TocTocViajes, said that prices rose not only because of the limited capacity of seats on flights, but also because airlines are suffering from a lack of equipment and crew on board due to the consequences left by the coronavirus in the sector. tourist.
In turn, Gil maintained that the connectivity problems of the airlines led to fewer operations with Brazil than they would have liked, thus generating fewer charter flights than they usually do. Cabrera assures that the sector is going in the right direction to return to pre-pandemic figures. “We continuously work to recover connectivity and reach pre-2020 levels, as it is a key factor for the country’s development and tourism,” he said. In addition, Cabrera believes that these figures will recover in the medium term, but they are also aware that the recovery depends on several factors, such as the health situation, international news, the situation of the airlines themselves and demand. Papa confessed that they have not yet managed to recover all the flight offers. “We continue with 40% fewer offers compared to the pre-pandemic, that causes the prices of tickets and packages to increase. A ticket for July would not drop below US$2,000, unless it had been bought well in advance, but we also know that not everyone can access those prices, we have to look for other alternatives to offer”, he stated.