The future is open. Be the change: WTM Latin America announces expectations and first indicators for the 2024 edition

The future is open. Be the change: WTM Latin America announces expectations and first indicators for the 2024 edition

A leading role in the face of a future marked by rapid change is the core theme of the eleventh event, which will be held between April 15 and 17, at Expo Center Norte in São Paulo.

27,044 travel professionals. Other than operational teams, this is the exact number of people who took part in the tenth edition of WTM Latin America, held in 2023. The figure meant a 37% increase on the previous edition (2022), which had already been bigger than its last face-to-face edition in 2019. Alongside these professionals were 5,581 representatives from 623 exhibiting companies in a marketed area that grew by 8% in the 2023 edition.

These indicators, more than just numbers, highlight the strength and consolidation of the event which, in the 2024 edition, brings the leading role of all members of the industry – including the traveler – as a core theme for reflection and to be widely discussed by the sector. WTM Latin America 2024 takes place between April 15 and 17  at the Expo Center Norte in São Paulo, emphasizing the role each professional and company from different segments has in the collective creation of an innovative, diverse, and sustainable future for the entire industry.

With a floor plan that follows the same layout as in 2023, designed to further optimize the flow and improve the visitor experience, WTM Latin America will maintain the color signage that indicates the location of exhibitors from the floor, which makes visiting even easier. “Having the floor organized is a strategy that makes a big difference to the event, as this saves time for those who are looking for suppliers,” says Bianca Pizzolito, head of WTM Latin America, confirming the approximately 10% growth in the exhibition area.

The evolution in the exhibition area, as mentioned by Bianca, is due not only to the expansion of spaces such as the area reserved for international destinations or the Tour Operator Area, but also to the increase in existing booths through the increase in co-exhibiting companies. “This is a movement that reflects the market behavior of different government entities that act as a promotional platform for their respective private sectors,” she says.

As well as the general plan and specific areas, the number of visitors is also expected to grow by around 5%, according to the studies already conducted by WTM Latin America. “The conservative projection of a 5% increase in visitors for WTM Latin America 2024 takes into account our significant growth of 37% between 2022 and 2023. We believe we have already reached a large portion of our priority audience and this forecast reflects our prudent approach to this recent success, keeping a balance between ongoing expansion and the quality of the event,” says Bianca Pizzolito.

New team from Brazil

The management of WTM Latin America is under the responsibility of Head Bianca Pizzolito, who relies on the work of marketing and commercial teams, respectively, under the responsibility of Virgínia Marques and Cláudia Delfino. All three are executives who previously worked at RX and WTM Latin America. “Valuing in-house talents means to recognize the team’s history of dedication and commitment over these years, as well as to recognize the in-house technical capacity we have,” says Bianca Pizzolito.

The executives highlight the challenge of maintaining the roots already established by WTM Latin America, while making room for the new, and celebrate being part of a very special moment at the RX company. Today, WTM has women at the helm of its entire global portfolio, including, in addition to the Latin American edition, the London, Dubai and Africa editions.

To Vasyl Zhygalo, global director of the WTM and IBTM Portfolio, “RX is, in general, a company connected with the sustainability, diversity and inclusion themes. It is very important for us to be an active part of this movement for change, bringing the vision, strategy and strength of women to the event management.”

Advisory Board

Ana Biselli Aidar, president of Resorts Brasil; Bruno Reis, Market, Fairs and Events Manager at Embratur; Danielle Roman, president of Interamerican; Estella Farina, managing director of NCL; Fabio Godinho, CEO of CVC Corp; Fabrício Amaral, president of Fornatur; Luis Ferrinho, president of Omnibees; Mariella Volppe, head of Dissemination at the Uruguayan Ministry of Tourism; Natalia Pisoni, coordinator of Inprotur, Paola Gómez, representative of the Dominican Republic Tourist Office in Brazil and Patrick Yvars, Travel Industry Sales Director – Latin America at Visit Orlando, are the 11 names of the members elected to the WTM Latin America’s Advisory Board, which has Mariana Aldrigui as chairman for the 2023-2025 term.  The executives take office working together with the team to discuss strategic topics in their respective areas, enriching the event’s strategy with important contributions from the market.

Bianca Pizzolito, head of WTM Latin America, highlights the importance of the work and contribution of these executives. “We are at a very important moment for our event, which is already consolidated in different ways and, precisely because of this, encourages us to find new opportunities for development and action based on new perspectives that take into account the changes that have taken place and are yet to take place in our industry,” she says.

She adds: “This is a strong and diverse board, capable of anticipating trends and working to build a future based on them. For us, bringing together so many members who represent the region in a board that generates high-level discussions and strengthens the Latin American aspect of the event is a source of great pride and certainty of assertiveness.”

Mariana Aldrigui reinforces Bianca Pizzolito’s explanation by pointing out that the very composition of the board, with professionals from different Latin American countries, ensures that the event addresses regional issues and challenges. “These are people who are active in the market, who have been working in different segments for a long time and have a great repertoire in terms of impacts, solutions and challenges,” she says.

Global trends

Among the global trends presented, one highlight was Saudi Arabia’s strategic entry into the Latin American region after WTM Latin America. The news was announced by Vasyl Zhygalo, global director of the WTM and IBMT Portfolio, when he announced the global partnership confirmed during WTM London. “We are pleased to welcome Saudi as WTM’s first global travel partner. Saudi has ambitious goals to expand its tourism sector and our shows offer an unparalleled opportunity for Saudi Arabia to share its diverse range of tourism offerings and investment opportunities with key trade buyers and media from around the world, says the executive.

The executive also highlighted the importance of the data from  WTM Global Report, an exclusive compilation of global researches carried out and presented at WTM London, which provides an in-depth analysis of the industry’s performance in 2023 and a comprehensive view of the outlook for national and international leisure travels in the coming years.

Published in partnership with researchers from Tourism Economics, an Oxford Economics company, the 70-page report uses an extensive database of companies operating in the tourism industry in 185 different countries to provide analysis from the perspective of both tourist destinations and inbound markets and reveal data related to visitation flows, nights and spending. The document also considers the impact of challenges such as inflation, falling living costs, strikes, staff shortages and natural crises, among others, on the activity.

The section dedicated to the Americas shows the recovery of business by travel companies in the main markets, driven by the heating up of domestic tourism. The report projects that the domestic segment on the American continent will close 2023 with figures 31% higher than those obtained in 2019 and shows all countries with better results than those presented in the last year before the start of the pandemic.

In the analysis by country for 2023, Brazil ranks third in domestic tourism and should maintain this position in 2024. The forecast is to end this year with an increase of 118% on pre-pandemic results – behind Mexico, which is expected to have an increase of 144%, and the United States, which is projected to grow 130% in domestic spending. Another highlight is Venezuela, the region’s seventh largest domestic market, which is expected to grow 325% domestically compared to 2019.

Regarding the reception of international travelers, however, the projections show results below those presented in the pre-pandemic, both in volumes and values for all American markets. The region is expected to receive 117 million leisure travelers in 2023, 4% less than in 2019, with profits down 2%. The report points out that inbound leisure in the United States, the region’s largest market, will fall by 17% this year, but will recover in 2024, when it should be 8% higher than in 2019.
 Among the positive highlights, two countries are projected to be in second and third place in the Americas ranking: Mexico, which is expected to grow by 128% compared to 2019; and Canada, which is projected to rise by 107%. Brazil is expected to record a 112% increase in inbound, placing it in seventh place in 2023.

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WTM Latin America is the three day must-attend business-to-business (B2B) event which brings the world to Latin America and promotes Latin America to the world.

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