South America

With the UK seeking new trade deals across the world, some of South America’s fastest-growing economies could prove lucrative markets. Read on for your guide to travelling to and doing business across the continent


It was a visit of several ‘firsts’ when Colombian president Juan Manuel Santos touched down in London last November. It was both the first official state visit to the UK of a Colombian president and also the first state visit since Theresa May became Prime Minister.

The Colombian leader was warmly welcomed by the PM and the Queen and was wined and dined amid the usual pomp and pageantry. He was congratulated for his efforts in bringing peace to his homeland – a feat that earned him the 2016 Nobel Peace Prize – and his country was cited as an important trading partner of the UK.

“As the UK prepares to leave the EU, I am determined that Britain should become the global champion of free trade, and that means boosting trade with fast-growing economies like Colombia,” said the Prime Minister.

Indeed, the UK has been the thirdlargest foreign investor in Colombia over the past decade and the two nations’ trading relationship was worth £1billion in 2015.

The UK’s business dealings with Brazil – the seventh-largest economy in the world, if stuttering – are even larger. According to the Department for International Trade (formerly UK Trade & Investment), the UK’s top exports to Brazil are machinery, vehicles, pharmaceuticals, electrical appliances and chemical products, while the DIT has identified ample opportunities for exporters in sectors such as healthcare, marine, oil and gas, education, mining, agricultural products and technology.

In Peru and Chile, meanwhile, the DIT names infrastructure, defence and security, oil and gas, mining, healthcare and retail as area of opportunity for UK businesses, and in Argentina it highlights communications technology and security, among other sectors.

Those heading southwest across the Atlantic on business will be pleased to hear that getting to South America is easier than ever. Brazil and Argentina have long been served by non-stop flights from the UK but British Airways is now showing further confidence in the region.

It launched non-stop flights from London Gatwick to Peru’s capital city, Lima, last year and added services from London Heathrow to the Chilean capital, Santiago, in January this year. The latter became British Airways’ longest flight on its global network, so passengers will have plenty of time to plan their perfect business pitch onboard.

Non stop Flights

The national carrier, Avianca, operates a daily non-stop flight between London Heathrow and Bogota, the country’s capital city.

British Airways operates a daily service from Heathrow to Buenos Aires, departing each evening and arriving the following morning.

British Airways introduced non-stop flights from London Gatwick to Lima in 2016. The service operates three times a week during summer but will not operate this winter.

British Airways flies five times a week from Heathrow to Rio de Janeiro.

Both British Airways and LATAM operate daily from Heathrow to Sao Paulo

British Airways launched non-stop flights from Heathrow to Chile’s capital city in January. The four- times-weekly service is flown by B787 Dreamliners and is BA’s longest route worldwide.

One-stop alternatives
Convenient connecting services are available to the above destinations with the likes of Air Europa, Iberia and LATAM (all via Madrid), Air France (via Paris) KLM (via Amsterdam) and TAP Portugal (via Lisbon). Further one-stop services are available with North American airlines via their various hubs.

Information correct at time of publication: April 2017