Opening with Pedro Andrade, interview with a representative from Egypt and an Euromonitor International survey were some of the highlights
São Paulo, August 10th 2021 – WTM Latin America, the main tourism event aimed at the B2B public in Latin America, has just concluded its first day. The fair, which in this edition is 100% virtual, had visitors and exhibitors from different countries and very important content to help the tourism industry recovery.
The event opening was marked by a message from the organizing team, followed by a brief speech of Simon Mayle, director of WTM Latin America, noting that the challenges posed by the pandemic were many, with a drop of US$ 4.5 trillion for the tourism and travel industry. But, with the vaccination advance, restrictions reductions and with the feeling of resilience, innovation and recovery, WTM Latin America is presented again.
Afterwards, Pedro Andrade, journalist, known for programs such as “Pedro Pelo Mundo”, “Manhattan Connection” and recently hired by CNN Brasil, made a personal and emotional presentation about his history since his roots in Maranhão, highlighting the lessons learned, culture and reflections acquired from the trips he made. Andrade also toasted the audience with the presentation of his new project trailer: “Amazônia”.
The event 1st day registered a high rate of meetings and virtual meetings, which should result in the closing of new business, and also presented many panels that addressed topics that are indispensable for the present days.
Pandemic and destinations reopening
The first of them had reporter Peter Greenberg as an interviewer and received Ghada Shalaby, deputy minister of tourism and antiquities – Arab Republic of Egypt. Ghada explained how the country has been dealing with the reopening, which began in July 2020, and the actions that were put into practice, including the innovation of local tourism with new spots and villages to be visited by tourists.
Next, Michael Goldsmith, president of Magellan Marketing, interviewed Dan Richards, CEO of Global Rescue, and explored a differentiated model of care in emergencies cases, as well as how it can be an option to move tourism in some countries and regions. “We are in a process with the Jamaica Cares program and what we are trying to do is resolve two issues. The first is to get out of this pandemic, for that we need to assure travelers that the place they are going to is safe and has protocols, precautions and protocols being followed. The second is to provide the destination with capacity so that the country itself can help to manage other events such as natural disasters, earthquakes or others that might occur”, explains Richards.
The importance of LGBT+ tourism in destinations was also one of the topics this Tuesday. Mediated by Clovis Casemiro, coordinator of IGLTA Brasil, the panel presented Pipa, in Rio Grande do Norte, and the state of Mato Grosso do Sul. Both destinations bet on a different approach to attract and value this audience.
Beth Bauchwitz, coordinator of Preserve Pipa, explained that the village has 6,000 beds, including 5-star hotels, spas and inns, each with its own charm and that are being trained to receive LGBT+ tourists. Bruno Wendling, director-president of Fundação de Turismo de Mato Grosso do Sul, highlighted how the state has been preparing to receive this public. “When I took over the Tourism Foundation in 2017, Bonito and Pantanal were already LGBT friendly destinations for a few years. But the state action started just over 3 years ago. And, in February 2020, we were able to promote a large workshop in terms of hospitality, positioning and market, which was attended by more than 100 entrepreneurs and even had a waiting list. I believe that from that point, we started a process of trade professionalization, as it is not enough just to say that the destination is LGBT+, it is also necessary to be prepared for that”, explained Wendling.
Technology in tourism
Another panel that addressed the social media was ABBV (Brazilian Travel Blogs Association). With an unprecedented content presentation, Gaia Vani and Manuela Hollós gave a class on how to reach the right audience, talked about working with influencers and how to effectively promote actions.
Euromonitor International presented a survey with demographic and socioeconomic data focused on the tourism industry and projections for post-pandemic recovery, and how digitization will be more present from now on.
For the post-pandemic future, Euromonitor has developed four projections in four scenarios, from the most optimistic to the least. In the first, it is expected that the industry can return to pre-pandemic levels as early as 2022. In the most severe, this recovery is only expected to take place in 2024. “As long as the pandemic is contained within this year and next, we expect airlines to take at least 3-4 years to recover. While the accommodation and intermediaries sector should take a longer time”, commented Marília Borges, consultant at Euromonitor International, in her panel.
In the same digitization line, Gabriela Otto, Daniele Amaro and Janete Ribeiro highlighted that the digitization process is something that has already been happening, but the pandemic accelerated it, and now adapting to the new era is essential for all the industry sectors, including travel. They stressed that technology brings solutions that help the traveler, such as translations and localization, so that requesting information in new countries is no longer necessary.
Women in tourism and community tourism
The Women in Travel program began with Mariana Aldrigui as mediator and the participation of Adriana Cavalcanti, Alessandra Alonso and Carrie Wilder, who commented, among other matters, on how much there is still a need for women to receive the same treatment and salaries as men in the market, and that women are still judged or do not feel safe to study or perform some functions. Then, it was Elisa Spampinato’s turn to moderate the panel with Rachel O’Reilly, Leah Chandler and Yolanda Perdo, and talk about rebuilding trust with communication.
WTM Latin America ended the day with panels on community tourism in Latin America and the tools that were added to the KAYAK travel metasearch in times of pandemic.
“We are proud to close this first day with all this content that added so much to our market. We want to thank all the speakers and panelists, as well as all the exhibitors and travel professionals that attended the event. This was the first 100% virtual edition and we are very happy with the first day result”, thanks Simon Mayle, director of WTM Latin America.
All panels are available on the event platform, which can be accessed at this link, and WTM Latin America will have other content to share with the public over the next two days of the event (August 11th and 12th), and the meetings can be scheduled until August 13.
WTM Latin America Virtual:
August 10, 11 and 12 (Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday)
From 8:00 am to 3:00 pm (BRT) or from 12:00 pm to 7:00 pm (GMT)
From 10:00 am to 2:00 pm (BRT) or from 2:00 pm to 6:00 pm (GMT)
Accreditation: on this link