The event showed an 8.7% growth in the number of visitors vis-à-vis 2019
Busy corridors, 565 exhibitors from 40 countries, training theatres packed full and a lot of positive energy marked the end of WTM Latin America 2022. During the first two days of the event, the organization registered the entry of 10,725 visitors, which translates into an 8.7% growth by comparison with 2019. “The event corroborates the signs of a positive future for tourism, with the prospect of deals being closed and a great deal of reflection regarding the activity”, celebrates, WTM Latin America’s director, Simon Mayle.
Another important achievement was the huge support for the scheduling platform, which registered the advance booking of 6 thousand meetings during the three days of the event. Thais Del Ben, Marketing and Communications manager, credits this result to what was learned from the pandemic. “Latin Americans were not in the habit of planning their agenda before events and this behavioural change came about as a result of having taken part in virtual events over the last two years”, she points out. Bianca Pizzolito, Sales Manager for Brazil and Latin America, stresses the benefit that this behavioural change creates for the organization of flows and for attracting new business, which is one of the event’s main premises.
In this sense, the event exhibited some important advances. One of the most symbolic ones was the closing of a commercial agreement between CVC and Blumenau’s (in the State of Santa Catarina) Oktoberfest. The operator will start selling tickets to the largest beer festival in the Americas and the second biggest one in the world at its 1,200 own stores and at all of the chain’s franchisees. Nilson Passarin, director of Tourism Planning and Promotion in Brazil’s beer capital, commemorate the agreement and the potential for publicizing the city’s attractions over and above the beer festival.
“We had a very qualified visit during the WTM and we were able to show the exclusive itineraries that we are developing. During the pandemic, we structured the city by means of a number of public-private partnerships because we were confident that tourism would come back strong”, he said, mentioning the future inauguration of the Museu da Cerveja (Beer Museum) and of the City’s Bus Tour and the revitalization of various squares that meet the demands of both residents as well as visitors for the enjoyment of leisure time in open areas, along with other initiatives.
Minas Gerais also made good use of the encounter to do the pre-release of the Via Liberdade, a 1,179-kilometer route along the BR-040 highway that links the state’s historical and cultural attractions with those of the States of Rio de Janeiro and Goiás and the Federal District. “We already have 70 experiences and itineraries mapped out, in addition to the provision of training to show attractions over and above the Historic Cities, with highlight going to seven World Heritage Sites, among other aspects”, summed up Milena Pedrosa, the State of Minas Gerais’ Deputy Secretary of Tourism.
André Dias, Pará’s Tourism Secretary, also stressed WTM’s importance for publicizing the state and, consequently, for its economy. “Creating responsible jobs is a priority so that business and conservation go hand in hand. We brought to the event the vision of a state that is increasingly connected with nature, gastronomy and the people”, he pointed out.
The event’s success extended to the technical programming that was offered at the three theme-based theatres. The 55 conferences, panels and training courses exhibited derivations of themes related to this edition main cornerstones: Diversity and Inclusion, Responsible Tourism and Technology. “The stories told and the lessons shared prove the power that tourism has to positively affect people’s lives,” stressed Mayle.
For Mariana Aldrigui, who is a professor and researcher at the University of Sao Paulo, the establishment of a committee and an area dedicated to Diversity and Inclusion signals a boldness that is characteristic of WTM, in addition to an alignment with trends. “We are discussing topics that bother people and make them think. We can be prejudiced when it comes to people’s age, not seeing accessibility issues, the inclusion of the deaf and those with intellectual disabilities, but by publishing a Manifesto and offering such a privileged space for debate, we have planted a seed the aim of which is to make these issues more natural. Who knows, maybe ten years from now, we won’t need to discuss this anymore”, she adds.
Gustavo Pinto, the event’s advisor for Responsible Tourism, also celebrated the successful debut of a theatre dedicated to this issue. “We had a full house every day, often in excess of the auditorium’s capacity, and all the panels had interaction with the audience. We noticed that travel agents have come back from this pandemic crisis period with a lot of interest in the topic of sustainable development”, he concluded.
Topics that are contemporary and urgent were discussed in the three spaces, starting off with reflections in relation to creative careers. Juliana Aranega, MCI Brasil’s Director of Corporate Communities; Carolina Yamauti, from Sputnik Educação Corporativa; and Mariana Aldrigui suggested a number of possible paths within the tourist industry, provided that one pays attention to points such as: promoting inclusion in the different sectors, constructing an “out of the box” repertoire and creating real connections. “Doing more than what has been agreed is extremely important for any sector”, argues Juliana.
The theme “Families and Diversity” was explored by Clóvis Casemiro and Ricardo Gomes, respectively commercial executive and president of Brazil’s LGBT Chamber of Commerce and Tourism; Renato Braga, Account Executive at Amadeus Brasil; and Vânia Cabral, director of Cabral Expeditions. The participants shared situations of prejudice experienced while travelling and the work that has been done to break this model, calling for urgency in training and sharing good practices in terms of customer service. “The LGBTQIA+ public does not want to be treated better than anyone else, just to be respected”, stresses Vânia.
Technology and Opportunities
“There is no way back from Pix”, warned Riva Oliveira, senior acquisition manager at Mercado Pago, in a conference about what tourism can (and should) learn from the digital world. The executive presented data and the advantages of the digital payment method that has won over Brazilian consumers. “People are becoming more and more comfortable using Pix and, very soon, the likelihood is that financial institutions will start rewarding those who use it, because it’s much cheaper than debit or credit,” he explained.
Also at the Technology Theatre, Cynthia Michels, economist, communicator and founder of the Silicon Valley Group, spoke about Innovation and Creativity in the Digital Age. The social researcher talked about her own immersion and what she learned from the experience. Contrary to what many think, the place that hosts technological giants such as Google, Uber, Amazon, is a very collaborative environment, in which people are not afraid to ask questions and make mistakes, as this is all part and parcel of the learning process. She stressed that technology is important, but that one should not be afraid of falling behind. “We have to have a good relationship with the technology that is here to make life easier and provide service without ever losing the ability to make connections.
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
Marcia Leite (11) 9-4334 3017
Fran Xavier (41) 9-9188 9576