by Michael J. Shapiro | October 01, 2014
Latin American travel costs could rise considerably in 2015, according to the research conducted by the Global Business Travel Association and Carlson Wagonlit Travel.

"It's the most volatile region, and it's difficult to forecast," noted Joel Wartgow, senior director of the CWT Solutions Group Americas. But because of the high growth in business travel and with demand outstripping supply -- for both flights and lodging -- prices are expected to rise more significantly than in any other region.

According to the GBTA/CWT 2015 Global Travel Price Outlook, air travel prices could climb by 3.5 percent in Latin America, due to high demand and, in part, inflation. That's compared with an anticipated average global fare increase of 2.2 percent, and a projected 2.5 percent hike in North America.

Latin America is expected to lead in corporate hotel rate increases as well, rising by 6.3 percent, compared with 2.6 percent globally.

For meetings, while the cost per attendee, per day, is forecast to rise by 2.2 percent globally and 2.5 percent in North America, it is expected to skyrocket by 8.5 percent in Latin America.

International hoteliers are eager to capture their share of this burgeoning market. Hilton Worldwide recently announced plans to open nearly 40 hotels in the region by the end of 2016, increasing its presence there by 60 percent.

Starwood, which currently operates 80 hotels in the region, has another 17 in the development stage.

Both hotel companies say there is strong interest in their select-service brands. Hilton's Hampton Hotels and Hilton Garden Inn flags account for about three-quarters of the chain's Latin American pipeline, while Starwood expects its Four Points by Sheraton and Aloft brands to grow by 60 percent in the region over the next three years.