• Sabi Sabi

    Photo credit by Sabi Sabi Game Reseve, Kruger National Park, South Africa

  • Tswalu

    Photo credit by Amakhala Game Reserve, Eastern Cape, South Africa

  • IMG_3851

    Photo credit by !Khwa ttu San Culture and Education Centre, Western Cape, South Africa

  • Amakhala

    Amakhala Game Reserve, Eastern Cape, South Africa

WTM Latin America Consolidates Its Position As The Leading Event For The Continent

WTM-Africa  WTM Latin America 2014 concluded today (Friday 25 April) in São Paulo, with Brazil as the key focus. Over the past three days the event consolidated its position as the region´s powerful business platform. WTM Latin America led to countless contracts being signed between exhibitors and buyers from all parts of the world.

The highlight of the third day was the Embratur Speed Networking between foreign buyers -invited by Embratur – and inward tourism operators.

“The event has been very productive. The negotiations went really well. I´ve made new contacts and signed around 30 new deals,” says Carlos Viso, General Manager at destination management company Solange Reps at the Embratur Speed Networking.

Furthermore, Frederico Maidana Franco, a sales executive from Paraguayan agency, Vips Tour, closed two contracts during the fair for new destinations in Brazil.

2016 Olympic Games

The 2016 Olympic Games and the opportunities and challenges that it offers the tourism industry was the theme of a key debate on the final day. According to Martine Ainsworth-Wells, Marketing and Communication Director at London & Partners, where the games were held in 2012, just holding the event is not automatically a golden opportunity for tourism.

In the case of London, for example, the expectation that the city would be packed during the games meant that many ordinary tourists, motivated by reasons other than the event, chose to stay away. With traditional attractions, not linked to the games there was a reduction in demand. In the end, there was no increase in tourist flow in the period and some businesses that depend on the local population, who fled to other regions in the country, were negatively affected.

On the other hand, Martine said that the city took advantage of the visibility guaranteed by the media to show the best it had, which led to an increase in tourism in the period after the games.

Google Glass

The first app. for Google Glass aimed at the tourism sector was also presented at WTM Latin America. MooveTeam, the Spanish company that is responsible for the innovation, developed a system that presents information about pre-established customised routes on the screen of the glasses, while the tourist moves around the destination. Information can be accessed by voice command. “This is a powerful, enhanced reality resource,” said Albert Roca, a MooveTeam executive. “This is just the beginning of what’s coming in technological innovation for the tourism sector,“ added David Benitez, International Sales Manager of WTM Latin America.

Responsible tourism

In addition to establishing new contacts and actually signing contracts, WTM Latin America 2014 was the stage for discussion of themes that are highly relevant to the tourism industry, like responsible tourism. According to Harold Goodwin, Professor of Responsible Tourism from Manchester Metropolitan University and chairman of the panel debate on the subject at the fair, the responsible tourism model comprises various concepts, from “the right thing to do” to market advantages and saving costs. “The quality of the product offered is reflected in market advantages, in a license to operate the tourist attraction and even in the morale of the team, which feels involved in a common cause,” said the academic.

Technology

The use of search system technology tools and social networks for generating business was also on the agenda. Leonardo Vieira and Vinicius Landucci, from Google Brasil, presented an interesting panorama of the use of the search system by Brazilians when programming trips and buying tourist packages.

According to the two executives, Google registers 625,000 searches an hour for subjects related to trips, from flight times to information about destinations, restaurants and hotel reservations. In the universe of 105 million Brazilians who are connected, 82% do online research before choosing a destination and 69% of travellers share their content and experiences on social networks.

João Carlos Pastore, Director of Business, Travel, Education and Government for Facebook Brasil, emphasised in particular the reach of social networks as a media tool to be considered in planning company marketing. According to Pastore, just in Brazil, there are 83 million active monthly users of Facebook, who spend on average 30 minutes a day on it, via medium devices, and 51 minutes when access is via the computer.

WTM Vision – Sao Paulo

An example of how the Internet tends to have a profound impact on the tourism industry is the indications presented by companies that are surfing this new wave. Airbnb, for example, expects to perform strongly during the World Cup in Brazil because of questions related to the availability of hotel beds during the period of the event, as disclosed in research launched at the WTM Vision – Sao Paulo.

It is no coincidence that Alexis Thuller Pagliarini, from MPI (Meeting Professionals International), speaking at MICE Forum by MPI – Events: Trends and Cases of Innovation, says that the tendency in the events sector is for an increase in interactivity, immersion in technology, green events and those with greater social responsibility.

Source: Travel and Tour World

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