WTM Latin America presents the Responsible Tourism Awards and debates the reconstruction of tourism

WTM Latin America presents the Responsible Tourism Awards and debates the reconstruction of tourism

In another day of intense movement in the pavilions, WTM Latin America was the stage for debates on topics that are essential for the reconstruction of tourism. With full audiences, the three theatres – Diversity & Inclusion, Travel Tech and Responsible Tourism – emphasized challenges such as professional qualification, initiatives on behalf of diversity and the use of data to guide strategic decisions.

The region’s main B2B event got underway with a training course by the Ministry of Tourism, with the theme “good service in accessible tourism”, which presented figures for the implementation of accessibility policies and training actions for the trade. Carlos Brito took over the Ministry of Tourism six days ago and visited WTM Latin America today. “Tourism deserves to be this country’s main protagonist,” he said. Accompanied by the event’s director, Simon Mayle, Brito walked around the two pavilions and promised continuity management, making a point of talking to a lot of the officials, exhibitors and businessmen who were present.

Verônica Kunze, Chile’s undersecretary, also reinforced tourism’s importance for economic recovery and stressed WTM Latin America’s role in re-establishing connections and creating new commercial ties. “It’s exciting to meet people again after such a long time. We will continue working to ensure a continuous movement of tourists between Brazil and Chile”, she declared. The country received 4.5 million international tourists in 2019 and the forecast is that it will end this year with 2 million travellers.

Under the motto “Chile is Back”, the country is taking part in the event with a delegation of 25 companies that represent all of Chile’s tourist regions. The idea is to show travel agents and operators the entire offer of new products and services that have been developed with a focus on experiences. According to Veronica, next week Chile should announce an easing of the restrictions on the entry of international travellers.

Data, people and technology 

The impact on tourism of the war between Russia and the Ukraine was covered in the panel “The outlook for tourism in Latin America, Brazil and the world, in the wake of the pandemic”. According to Juán Gómez, Head of Market Intelligence at ForwardKeys, the intercurrences related to the confrontation are already at a limited level, but the likelihood is that other factors resulting from the war will be observed, such as super-inflation and a consequent drop in purchasing power.

Leonardo Seabra from Empresa Potiguar de Promoção Turística (the State of Rio Grande do Norte’s Tourism Promotion Company) and Nicolás Franco from ProColombia (Colombia’s Tourism Promotion Entity) both took part in the debate and defended the use of data as a strategic solution for the reconstruction of business. Understanding demand, creating customized products – either by segment or by focusing on outbound travel markets – and monitoring the results is vital in order to achieve affirmative results.

Another important aspect in relation to this is to develop professional qualification programs, a major challenge that is not limited to the tourism industry. Cássio Sales Oliveira, Claiton Armelim and Gregorio Polaino argued that the initiative provides opportunities for retaining talent and consolidates relationships of loyalty and trust between employer and employee, as well as giving the country’s competitiveness a boost.

In terms of public services, Daniel Antonelli, manager of the New Business department of the Federal Data Processing Service (Serpro), presented new features that are under development and which should soon be available. “Embarque+Seguro” (More Secure Boarding) is a technology that cross references information from government agencies’ database and allows passengers to board planes without having to present any documents, supported by biometric identification. Congonhas (in the city of Sao Paulo) and Santos Dumont (in the city of Rio de Janeiro) airports are expected to have this facility in the second half of this year.

Another feature that is much awaited is the new fully digital check-in at hotels, integrated into the gov.br system, which makes it possible to concentrate everything in a single database. “Since this information is still analog, it ends up being lost. With a more complete database, it will be possible to generate panels for the tourism industry, from the moment the passengers leave home, which transport they use, where they are staying and much more”, he explained.

Build Back Better 

Gustavo Pinto, advisor for WTM Latin America’s Responsible Tourism, started off the conference on Responsible Tourism in the post-pandemic period and invited, the Adventure Travel Trade Association’s director of destinations and products, Gustavo Timo, to inspire participants using cases. “The ATTA is working on a recovery agenda focused on minimizing the impacts that tourism generates for destinations,” he explained.

Camila Baro, director of the Gondwana agency, shared the company’s experience over the last two years. “It was a very difficult period, but it ended up being an opportunity for us to transform ourselves into a better company,” she said. Because of the pandemic, the company stopped focusing on foreign audiences in order to create itineraries aimed at local audiences.

Tomás Garcia, director of the Chilean company Smartrip, explained the proposal to help local communities to develop culturally and economically. “We set aside 20% of our earnings to finance economic and social development programs in the areas in which we operate,” he explained. “Our commitment is with people, with local cultures and with nature”, he explained.

“Aliados da Diversidade” (Allies of Diversity) brought together Bruno Wendling (the State of Mato Grosso do Sul’s Tourism Foundation), Bruno Reis (Empresa Potiguar de Promoção Turística) and Eduardo Murad (3Sixty/BeFly) regarding strategies to increase the establishment of diverse teams in all tourism sectors and segments. The conclusion, which was unanimous among the participants, is that this cause needs to be internalized in order to actually have the whole of society represented in the workforce at all the different levels. “This change is up to us”, stated Murad.

This obviously includes hiring senior professionals and creating products and services aimed at this audience in order to combat ageism. The age bias disregards 36% of the economically active Brazilian population and overlooks major business opportunities, creating products aimed at this audience.

Responsible Tourism 

The day was also marked by the handing out of the Responsible Tourism Awards, created to recognize advances, pave the way for the replication of successful cases and the joint construction of a more sustainable world. “You inspire all of us to be better every day and tourism has the power to change the course of destinations”, argued Mayle during the ceremony.

The awards are part of the Global Responsible Tourism Awards family, which was created eight years ago in order to validate good practices within the tourism industry. The finalists in the six categories were judged by 18 professionals from different areas across the entire continent, in accordance with three criteria: originality, impact and potential for replication within the tourism industry. Meet the winners:

Decarbonization of the travel and tourism sector 

2 Gold Awards and 1 “One to Watch” Award

Gold – Iberostar Hotels & Resorts and Mecenas da Vida (Patrons of Life)

One to Watch – Green Initiative

Supporting employees and communities during the pandemic

1 Gold Award, 1 Silver Award and 1 “One to Watch” Award

Gold – Braziliando

Silver – Hotel Belmar (Costa Rica)

One to Watch – EPOSAK

Destinations that support more sustainable post-COVID reconstruction

1 Gold Award

Secretary of Tourism of the Government of the State of Tamaulipas (Mexico)

Increasing Diversity in Tourism: How inclusive is our industry?

1 Gold Award, 1 Silver Award and 1 “One to Watch” Award

Gold – Il Viaggio Travel (Costa Rica)

Silver – Diáspora.Black

One to Watch – Accor Brasil

Reducing plastic waste in the environment

1 Gold Award and 2 Silver Awards

Gold – Red Costarricense de Turismo Acessible

Silver – Wilderness Patagonia and Iberostar Hotels & Resorts

Increased local economic benefit

1 Gold Award and 1 Silver Award

Gold – TUI Care Foundation (Mexico)

Silver – Smartrip (Chile)

About World Travel Market

The World Travel Market (WTM) portfolio comprises the main travel events, online portals and virtual platforms of four continents, and generates more than US$ 7.5 billion in business for the industry.

About WTM Latin America

WTM Latin America takes place annually in São Paulo and attracts around 19,000 tourism professionals during the three-day event. The fair offers qualified content, as well as networking and business opportunities. In its ninth edition – the first fully virtual event was held in 2021 – WTM Latin America has continued to focus on effective business generation and has reached the mark of 4,200 meetings held between buyers, travel agents and exhibitors.

For further information – WTM Latin America

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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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