The digital appeal of Latin America & the Caribbean

Once the brave New World, Latin America is a truly special place, providing great experiences to those who visit its unique countries, cultures and people. Its natural landscapes, vibrant cities, exotic food and the hospitality and kindness of its inhabitants are some of the reasons that lead tourists to choose Latin America as their next travel destination. And their Caribbean neighbors are well-known for their white sandy beaches, natural beauty, biodiversity and wildlife.


Making the leap from digital searches to actual bookings

Nevertheless, with so much on offer, how do people choose where to go on their next vacation? According to the 2014 Google Traveler study, 65% of leisure travelers search the Internet as a trusted source of information when choosing a destination for travel. In many ways, the digital perception of a place brand is the prospective tourist’s only reality.

In the new Bloom Consulting Country Brand Ranking© 2019/2020, which studied the online performance of almost 200 Country Brands from nations and territories worldwide, we can see how strong the digital appeal of destinations is. Mexico, for instance, is the best Nation Brand of Latin America thanks to leading the region with its outstanding performance on social media and in online searches, surpassing one of its direct competitors in the American continent.

65% of leisure travelers search the Internet as a trusted source of information when choosing a destination for travel.

Costa Rica, the proud host of the very first City Nation Place Latin America & The Caribbean event, is a good example of how becoming a sustainable destination can have economic benefits. Besides the increase of tourism receipts, this Central American country came out with the third best search-level in the region and is one of the Top 20 global nations most searched online by tourists in Bloom’s ranking.

Just as Central America has recorded positive results in almost all destinations, with Mexico and Costa Rica leading the way, South America has Colombia showing a steady growth this year, Peru maintaining its performance and Brazil profiting from hosting important international sporting events, such as the Olympic Games and the FIFA World Cup.

Surprisingly, it’s the Caribbean region that has given the most important lesson about Nation Branding, as the territories in this region were affected by violent hurricanes in the summer of 2017. Despite the natural disasters, 80% of Caribbean countries improved across the board in their touristic activities, such as Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic, Jamaica, and especially, Haiti, who responded incredibly well to the humanitarian crisis of the last few years.

Leveraging your digital reputation to attract international investment

For thousands of years, Latin America and the Caribbean were part of the sea routes for gold and the spice trade. Nowadays, their roots seem to be focused on strengthening political ties to set trade blocs with the United States of America, China and the West.

But how can this region get more Foreign Direct Investment? According to a 2015 Bloom Consulting's Study, more than 86% of international investors say they start searching for information about potential countries to invest by using a search engine as a primary source of information.

The more online investment-related searches a country has, the more appealing its Country Brand will be. As we can observe in Bloom Consulting Country Brand Ranking© 2019/2020, the total online searches for trade-related activities allows places to assess the online behavior and decision-making processes of international investors.

86% of business investors uses search engines as a primary knowledge source to seek information about potential countries to invest.

In terms of Trade, Latin American countries such as Brazil, Mexico and Colombia are among the Top 25 most appealing Nation Brands in the world, with high positions on social media and online performances, as well as in absolute internet searches. Regarding Central America, Panama is now in the Top 10 American markets due to a better position in online searches, but, on the other hand, Costa Rica has lost some of its shine in this current ranking.

Ecuador, Paraguay and Bolivia are three good examples of how online searches and social media performance can boost investors’ interest. On a less positive trend, we have Chile who lost the online performance battle with Colombia, Uruguay who fell hard on the social media rank, and Venezuela, whose political issues are probably affecting possible Foreign Direct Investment.

The Bloom Consulting Country Brand Ranking© shows that the Caribbean region, once again, has a booming investment sector with trade activities and positive flows in some industries. Looking at the 14 Nation Brands in the ranking, 10 increased their positions, with the Cayman Islands and the Dominican Republic as the main drivers. Jamaica improved its online performance thanks to a good brand strategy, and territories like Aruba, Grenada, Bermuda and Antigua and Barbuda are becoming more attractive, as confirmed by a better social media presence.

With successful Nation Brands such as Mexico, Brazil, and now Costa Rica, this region must work on consistent and vigorous strategies to draw more tourists and investors. Taking into consideration that we are living in a globalized and fast-paced world, the Digital Identity of a Country Brand is the right path to pursue.

The Bloom Consulting Country Brand Ranking© 2019/2020, both Tourism and Trade Editions, was launched at the first City Nation Place – Latin America & The Caribbean, on September 3rd, by Gonzalo Vilar, Bloom’s Head of Strategy, in a special session at 9:40 AM.

Bloom Consulting Country Brand Rankings© will soon be available at in 3 different languages (English, Spanish and Portuguese) for the first time in its history.

The Place Brand Portfolio is City Nation Place's searchable portfolio of Awards case studies from the past five years.