Delta Air Lines’ is canceling its daily nonstop flights between Atlanta and Buenos Aires, Argentina, and Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, even though the number of visitors from those countries had been rising over the past few years, said Gabriela Gonzalez, director of international sales and marketing for the Atlanta Convention and Visitors Bureau.
Although reports used by the ACVB to record numbers of visitors to Atlanta typically have a two-year lag time, Ms. Gonzalez said that visitors from both countries had been increasing over the past few years. But the total number of visitors has not been very large, she added.
The U.S. International Air Travel Statistics Report, published by the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Office of Travel and Tourism Industries showed passenger arrivals on all airlines from Brazil to Atlanta as increasing 12% from 1999 to 2000 and 75% from Argentina to Atlanta in the same period. Some 72,000 arrived from Brazil and 13,573 from Argentina.
Outbound travel from Atlanta to both Argentina and Brazil had also increased, according to the report. Some 14,000 passengers on all airlines went to Argentina in 2000, a 62% increase from 1999, and some 65,000 went to Brazil, up 12% from 1999.
The Delta cutbacks are results of two economies that are simply sluggish at present, Ms. Gonzalez said, noting that the airline cited less demand for the flights as reason for their cancellations.
But this will not slow the city’s efforts to pursue ties with Argentina or Brazil, Ms. Gonzalez asserted, adding that Atlanta’s marketing efforts will remain focused on Latin America generally.
“We really feel that the routes will be reestablished in time,” Ms. Gonzalez told GlobalFax. “We’re going to continue to spread the word about Atlanta to Argentina, Brazil and the rest of Latin America. It just may be temporarily more challenging to get there.”
The ACVB, in cooperation with the Georgia Department of Industry, Trade and Tourism and the Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce, has been leading a campaign to situate Atlanta as a commercial center vis-à-vis Latin America.
The organizations’ marketing efforts have portrayed Atlanta as a “gateway to Latin America” as the city competes to attract the Secretariat of the Free Trade Area of the Americas here in 2005.
Visitors to and from Buenos Aires or Rio can still access those locations on daily Delta flights through Sao Paolo, Brazil, Ms. Gonzalez said. Other Delta destinations in South America include Bogota, Colombia; Caracas, Venezuela; Lima, Peru and Santiago, Chile.
Delta began daily service between and Atlanta and Buenos Aires in 2001 and Rio in 1997.
Contact Ms. Gonzalez at (404) 521-6694 or visit www.atlanta.net