WTM Latin America 2016 ends on a high
With every year that passes WTM Latin America reinforces its position as the leading event in the Latin American travel and tourism industry. The 2016 edition, which was held from 29 – 31 March in Expo Center Norte in São Paulo, at the same time as the 45th Braztoa Business Event, succeeded all expectations both in terms of visitor and exhibitor feedback and the business opportunities that were available to close big business deals.
The major highlights this year included the presence of some exciting new exhibitors, the UK, which has not taken part in any Latin American travel shows for the last six years had a strong presence; buyer delegations from China and Russia were in attendance; the excellent array of seminars and conferences with the likes of Google; and the heavily anticipated networking sessions between buyers and exhibitors, including one with Embratur.
Two Latin American countries stood out on the final day of the show. In the morning Paraguay held a press conference to present its main attractions “we want to strengthen package sales in Brazil, our second biggest market, and show that we’re not just a shopping destination. From 2014 to 2015, the number of tourists went up from 500,000 to 1 million and we expect to keep on growing”, said the head of the Information Department of the country’s National Department of Tourism, Javier Ramirez.
In the afternoon the spotlight was turned on the Uruguayan stand, thanks to the presence of football star, Diego Lugano, who is currently playing for São Paulo Football Club. Before signing autographs, he talked about the country’s main destinations, particularly Colonia and Punta del Este. “Montevideo is beautiful, but I recommend you also visit the interior of the country and the beautiful beaches we have”, he said; he was born in Canelones, a city close to the capital.
There was a clear sign of high satisfaction at the show. Marcos Motta, Sales and Marketing Director from Marina Hotels, felt that the 2016 edition was even better than last year. “I noticed a lot more activity in terms of business this year than I did last year”. While Rafael Sanches, director of the Experimente Jeri agency from Ceará agreed, saying: “the show maintained the high level as the previous years. The programme was very good. I managed to take part in meetings, conferences and the Speed Networking sessions, where I made contact with buyers who were very interested in Brazilian products”, Sanches explained.
Lawrence Reinisch, Director of WTM Latin America commented: “The general perception of those who attended the event was that it was excellent and every year it is better attended by visitors, busier and more established”
“Our major objective is always to facilitate business and networking opportunities as well as allow our exhibitors and visitors to gather knowledge to help shape their business. I’m convinced that we were once again successful in this”, Reinisch guaranteed, adding that the new floor plan that was adopted is likely to be similar in 2017 due to the positive feedback from the exhibitors.
The dates for next year have already been confirmed as 4 – 6 April, again at Expo Center Norte, which is in the heart of Sao Paulo.