The event brings together key players in the market and goes on until tomorrow (6th) in São Paulo
The second day of activities of the 5th edition of WTM Latin America & the 47th Braztoa Business Event got underway with an important political meeting between leaders of the Latin American travel industry. The “Ministerial Round Table on Tourism as a Tool for Development” consisted of Marx Beltrão, the Brazilian Minister for Tourism, Lilian Kechichián, Uruguay’s Minister of Tourism, and Alejandro Lastra, Argentina’s Secretary of Tourism, in the realization of a meeting that was conceived during WTM London in November of last year.
More than 100 people, including leaders of class entities, authorities, private sector executives and tourism professionals, accompanied the conversation between the leadership of the three countries which, according to the United Nations (UN), are looking at tourism as a component of sustainable development.
“WTM is globally recognized for guaranteeing encounters that promote networking, business creation, and reflection regarding the industry’s challenges and opportunities. Holding this meeting as one of the milestones of the fifth edition of WTM Latin America is a source of great pride for us. We know that we are contributing, in an effective way, to the industry’s development”, says Lawrence Reinisch, WTM Latin America’s director.
The secretary of the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), Sandra Carvao, who mediated the debate, reinforced the importance of 2017, which was elected the Year of Sustainable Tourism, and highlighted the three goals that have been ever-present this year: raising awareness regarding this industry’s power as a tool for sustainable development, the mobilization of the public and private sector, and mobilization with public policies changing consumer behaviour.
During the meeting, the Brazilian Tourism minister, Marx Beltrão, praised the initiatives that are being developed, in particular policies for simplifying visas, strengthening air infrastructure, with greater connectivity, and promotion of destinations, in addition to the size of Brazil’s territory and the potential from the partnership with the private sector. “We are working hard on the concessions and infrastructure agenda, increasing access to the more than 60 million people who travel throughout Brazil. But the government can’t resolve everything”.
Marx Beltrão also stressed that the country needs to use the sector as a driver of economic development “generating employment and income in local communities where tourism enterprises have already been developed”. The Brazilian minister added that the industry continues to grow, even in the face of the economic challenges. “the travel industry is the only one that’s swimming against the tide of unemployment.”
Another highlight of the second day of WTM Latin America was the start of the highly sought after Speed Networking sessions, in the Networking Area. This business activity was set up so that buyers have the opportunity to make the greatest possible number of contacts with exhibitors in a short space of time. The sessions contribute to the diversity of contacts and receptiveness among the investors, making the relationship between them more dynamic. “It is very important to stress that these are not conventional meetings: Speed Networking paves the way for deals that will be done later,” says WTM Latin America’s director, Lawrence Reinisch.
Today, approximately 400 exhibitors and 100 buyers took part, including Ricardo Shimosakai, who is commercial director of the company Turismo Adaptado. “I regard it as having been a very good experience. These relationship encounters are very positive, mainly because I manage to make numerous contacts”.
Braztoa 2017 Yearbook: 3% growth in the turnover
In 2016, the turnover of the companies associated with Braztoa (the Brazilian Tour Operators Association) came to a total of R$ 11.3 billion, which represents a 3% increase vis-à-vis the previous year. Domestic tourism was the choice of 81.4% of Brazilians during the period, as compared with 78.5% in 2015, reflecting the crisis period and the change in consumption patterns, marked by substitution of destinations, products and services. These figures are part of the Braztoa 2017 Yearbook, which is presented today by the organization’s president, Magda Nassar.
In relation to the type of package sold, complete packages – those that include both the land part and the air part – remain the preferred option for most people, accounting for 60% of the choices. The number of embarkations showed a slight increase of 1%, and of the 5.12 million passengers who embarked, 4.1 million went to destinations inside Brazil. The Brazilian region that stands out the most is that of the Northeast, which accounts for 67.4% of the sales of domestic trips, followed by the Southeast with 13.7%, the South with 12.6% and the North and Centre-West regions, which together account for 6.1% of the industry’s turnover.
“Our industry registered a small increase in a year full of challenges,” recalled Magda. “But we recently had the announcement of a freeze of nearly 68% in the Ministry of Tourism’s expenses (a R$ 321.6 million cut). Let’s complain”, invited the president.
The complete yearbook will be available on Braztoa’s website (www.braztoa.com.br) from April 7th onwards.
Continuing with the training and professional development agenda, WTM Latin America once again welcomed the consultant Gabriela Otto, who this time round was part of the Conference Theatre’s schedule. The owner of GO Consultoria and President of HSMAI Brasil mediated the debate between André Alves, Country Manager of Decolar.com and Paulo Salvador, Distribution Director at Intercity Hotels, regarding “What is the future of distribution?”.
The Conference Theatre was packed solid for the presentation, which started off with an emphatic speech by the mediator. “There is no war in distribution. What you have are companies which do or don’t have a strategy; more or less assertive management”, stated Gabriela.
In Paulo Salvador’s assessment, the OTAs are not the villains, but rather the high cost of acquisition of clients. “They are complementary tools. With the Internet, the investment value in this dispute has shown a very marked increase”. Salvador also believes that “complexity and more sales intermediaries create layers of costs that need to be well analysed”. In other words, it doesn’t do any good to cut out steps and increase the number of reservations, what is needed instead is to ensure a high level of interaction and involvement with the client.
For André Alves, in addition to finding ourselves in a scenario where we constantly need to reinvent ourselves, in order to be successful in distribution, we also need “to be relevant to the client”.
Following on from this, the researcher and professor at the University of São Paulo, Mariana Aldrigui, spoke about how new generations are playing a leading role in terms of developing inspiring projects to help preserve the environment. During the panel “Translating sustainability into business: inspiring ideas!”, the specialist went as far as to challenge Brazilian students. “If countries such as the Netherlands, the United States and the United Kingdom can create gardens inside supermarkets, vests with pollution sensors that measure how often to reduce pollution, Brazil needs to get into gear and encourage people with new ideas”.
Another panel that had a full crowd was the one presented by Google’s tourism industry analyst, Felipe Chammas. The advertising executive presented a number of examples of productions that got thousands of hits on YouTube, applauding the fact that the consumption of travel content on the platform has increased by 200% over the last few years. “You have to think in terms of how to creatively inspire and influence these travellers. Because they are doing research and are identifying with the tips given and the experiences presented in the videos”.
While on the Travel Tech show at WTM, Pilar Osorio, TravelClick’s Sales Director, talked about how hotels need effective marketing actions in order to keep customers. For the manager, it is necessary to anticipate the wishes and to think of the words that win over future guests: “a well-planned video for the social networks can create an emotional relationship and this will attract them.” But immediately afterwards there was a warning. “It’s not enough to have good production, you also need strategic planning so that your site is visually appealing, clean and responsive. The customer needs to find everything on your portal, even if they access it from different devices. ”
To bring the agenda to a close, Fernanda Castelo Branco, from the Vontade de Viajar (Desire to Travel) blog and a member of the Brazilian Association of Travel Blogs (ABBV), spoke about “Digital Influencers in the Travel Market”. For the blogger, there is a transformation wave underway that is leading consumers to trust people who have gone through the same experiences that this public is seeking. That’s why brands are increasingly announcing and promoting digital influencers: “what counts nowadays is not just a brand’s commercial ads, but rather what other people think of it.”
About WTM Latin America
WTM Latin America, now in its 5th year, attracts almost 9,000 unique senior executives interested in the Latin American travel industry. The 2016 event generated US$ 370 million of new business which was conducted between exhibitors and buyers. WTM Latin America is part of WTM Portfolio of events, which also includes World Travel Market London, World Travel Market Africa, Arabian Travel Market, WTM Connect Asia and International Golf Travel Market. www.wtm.com. http://latinamerica.wtm.com.
About Reed Travel Exhibitions
Reed Travel Exhibitions (RTE) is the world’s leading provider of exhibitions in the travel and tourism industry. Its wide-ranging portfolio of events around the globe covers leisure travel, luxury travel, meetings, incentives and business travel. RTE, which organizes more than 20 events around the world, includes three portfolios: World Travel Market, IBTM Events and International Luxury Travel Market. RTE is a business unit of Reed Exhibitions. www.reedtravelexhibitions.com.
About Reed Exhibitions
Reed Exhibitions is the world’s leading events organizer, with over 500 events in 30 countries. In 2015, Reed brought together over seven million events participants from around the world generating billions of dollars in business. Today Reed events are hold throughout Americas, Africa, Europe, Middle East, Asia and Oceania, and organized by 40 fully staffed offices. Reed Exhibitions serves 43 industry sectors with trade and consumer events. It is part of the RELX Group plc, a world-leading provider of information solutions for professional customers across industries. www.reedexpo.com.
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