Full pavilion, the presence of authorities, exhibitor optimism and a lot of content marked the show’s first day
Three intense days with agendas concentrated on business generation, networking and a lot of content. The Expo Center Norte, in São Paulo, is until Thursday April 4th, the stage for WTM Latin America, the main event in travel and tourism in Latin America aimed at the B2B public, now in its seventh year. This year, the pavilion is showing 600 exhibitors from 50 nationalities, which for the three days of the event will present the latest news to a public both highly qualified and with great potential for business generation.
The event’s opening, with the presence of Tourism Minister, Marcelo Álvaro Antônio, and representatives from various regions of Brazil, reinforced the message of how strategic the tourism industry is for the generation of jobs, income and economic development in the country.
Following the event’s official opening, São Paulo Tourism Secretary, Vinicius Lummertz proceeded to a news conference where he again emphasized the strategic role of tourism, especially the development of the activity in São Paulo State. Lummertz announced the launch of a new brand for the State of São Paulo. “We are one of the six largest urban areas on the planet, right next to the Atlantic Rainforest – a rich biodiversity with natural parks, mountains and water, as well as gastronomic delights in coffees and wines. The brand goes beyond the logo, it is a new concept designed for the campaigns” the Secretary said.
The day’s events continued with quality content aimed at the industry’s professional development with an opportunity to interact with panellists and the presentation of successful cases in various areas of the sector’s operation.
One of the day’s highlights was the Women in Travel debating panel. Alessandra Alonso, founder of the social company lending its name to the panel, opened the conference with the affirmation that women “need to occupy not only operational positions, but also those in management and director positions”, and mediated the conversation between four conference participants about what is needed to prosper as an entrepreneur in the travel and tourism area.
Flávia Matos, Manager of Public Policies at Brasil AirBnB, gave positioning advice to the entrepreneurs present and Ana Clévia Guerreiro, representative from Sebrae, talked about how to train our eyes to see the possibilities for the social changes to come. Also participating in the conference was Mariana Aldrigui, professor and researcher at the University of Sao Paulo (USP), who spoke of the role of women in empowering each other. Marianne Costa, founder of Vivejar, strongly believes in tourism as an agent for social evolution.
The Corporate Travel Area hosted the ABRACORP forum with the subject of Governance & Compliance in Corporate Travel. The conference was led by Carlos Alberto Ercolin, coordinator of the Brazilian Institute of Corporate Governance (IBGC) in Paraná State. Ercolin talked about business compliance, explaining the difference between “being in compliance” and “being compliance”. After the presentation, Eduardo Murad, executive director of the ALAGEV – Latin American Association of Managers of Corporate and Travel Events, Rodrigo Sienra, sales manager at Delta Airlines and Peterson Prado, director of AVIPAM, joined Ercolin to take part with the public in a debate and question and answer session related to the subject.
Ending up the first day, Gustavo Pinto, councillor at WTM Latin America’s Responsible Tourism Programme, announced the Responsible Tourism Awards, which, as of 2020, will give prizes in four categories to the first winners. The launch also counted on the presence of winners from the awards in London, such as Juliane Salvadori and Marcos Soares – winners in 2013 in the Best Destination for Responsible Tourism category – and João Vasconcellos de Oliveira – winner in 2018 for World Animal Protection. According to Juliane, “the prize means the winner can position herself in the market and the world in a differentiated way”.
According to WTM Latin America director Luciane Leite, the seventh edition of the event continues its proposal of taking Latin America to the world and bringing the world to Latin America. “We’re very happy with the feedback we have received. In general, the visitors and exhibitors have shown their satisfaction with the way the event has been delivered and the quality of the resulting meetings with a highly qualified public. We are ending this first day with the aisles full and with great business projections”, she said.
What to see in the pavilion
As a great showcase for winning new business, WTM Latin America brought together destinations, offers and technologies. Among the exhibitors, one word frequently used was “experience”, with services and products focussed on unveiling what business people and tourists want, through the use of platforms, architecture, systems, services or even applications making this happen.
Cristina Vieytes, from Ravex Travel Agency, an exhibitor at the Thailand stand, is one of those emphasising the importance of itineraries focussing on experience. “Entering in direct contact with the local gastronomy, with the culture, with the people – this is what we are increasingly offering”. The real innovation is in fact in thinking about what people want to do, not in where they want to stay or where they want to go.
Following this line of focussing on the experience, Movida car rentals used the fair to introduce its new campaign “Muito além do carro” (Much more than the car). “We are the only car hire company in Brazil working with other forms of transport apart from cars”, says Trade Marketing Analyst, Aline Queiroz. You can rent a bicycle online in São Paulo or in Rio de Janeiro and, at the Museum of Tomorrow, a trike.
Tourism is a sector impacting directly or indirectly on over 50 other market sectors, and is responsible for generating one in every ten work posts. Mario D’Andrea, Tourism Secretary for Entre Ríos province in Argentina and an exhibitor at the country’s stand, believes that events such as WTM are great spaces for making contacts and strengthening business. “Exhibiting at WTM Latin America is always a positive experience”.
The same path has been followed by Mariana Roveda Divan, director at Mala de Pandora, and Anna Paula Cesário, from Royal Palm Hotels & Resorts, bringing various models of budgets to help travel agents in defining their itineraries, as well as tourist and informative maps for the various regions.
Beaches, mountains, tropical forests and natural paradises; Brazil has much to offer when the subject is sustainable tourism. In addition to natural beauty, some Brazilian state stands focussed on bringing typical cuisine for visitors to try. On the Pará State stand, for example, chef Ricardo Frugoli brought over 140 kilos of delicacies from the state, including tucupi – a yellow sauce extracted from wild manioc root in the Amazon region, Brazil nuts and a good dose of relax that only the Brazilian North and Northeast have to offer. At the city of Foz do Iguaçu stand, the Tourism Office brought their partners in the hotel and parks to help divulge the region and its marvels.
After hosting the Soccer World Cup in 2018, Moscow has been seen in a new light by tourists. In its first year as a destination exhibitor, the stand brought interaction and immersion. Some examples of activities are the Tea Festival, with tasting of the traditional drink and typical sweets prepared by chef Giselle Magdieva. There’s also an opportunity to see a drum show and a chance to see the city in 3D, by means of augmented reality. Another destination showing off its culinary delights is Ethiopia, with the coffee-serving ceremony, in which the beans are selected, then roasted and ground in situ.