With a relatively strong airline market and the opening up of its online travel business, Latin America will experience significant demand for new technology plaforms.
On the airline side in Latin America, the blockbuster merger announcement of LAN (Chile) and TAM (Brazil) is a big story.
Other airlines also have formed partnerships and cross ownership, including The Synergy Group (Avianca et al) and TACA.
The largest travel markets in Latin America are Brazil and Mexico. But they are not the only markets.
The whole region is boosting traffic -- and boasting of some of the strongest passenger-traffic growth in the world. The region and its airlines seem to have avoided much of the global financial crisis and have emerged even stronger.
Brazil, in particular, is strong.
On the intermediary side, as traffic has grown across the region, there are some big players who have emerged and are starting to develop interesting solutions.
In many markets, the use of the GDS is lower than might be expected. For example, in Brazil there is an open market for distribution with many large-scale intermediaries having their own private networks and B2B booking engines independently connected to the airlines, many of which are low cost carriers.
Indeed there is a high percentage of in-house technology arms for these larger agencies. They have built or purchased technology that provides open access to airlines.
And, now, this independent-platform concept is spreading to other markets, such as Chile. For example, the new website of Chile’s largest travel agenc, Turismo Cocha, is powered by technology from Ireland-based OpenJaw.
Big agency groups like Consolid, with gapnet in Brazil as one of its largest agencies, have developed in-house solutions. This technology and purchasing power is shared across the group.
We will see a continued growth in the market with a strong emphasis on B2B tools.
With the B2C market slowly opening up, it is highly likely that we will see a boom in online travel in the coming time period.
With the Olympics and the World Cup both coming to Rio in the near future, we can expect to see Latin America burst on the world stage.
And, the region's demand for new technology platforms will be significant.