Last week, I was in São Paulo to participate in the WTM (World Travel Market) Latin America event. It was MMGY Global’s first time at this event, but our extremely positive experiences participating at WTM London over recent years combined with our growing portfolio of Latin American clients and the increasing interest in Latin America by U.S. travelers led us to join the party in Brazil this year.
WTM Latin America is a much smaller affair than its mother event in London, filling just two exhibition halls – and it is pretty focused on regional giant and host country Brazil. It is, however, impeccably organized and definitely worth the visit for anyone interested in meeting decision-makers in Latin America’s travel industry, both inbound and outbound. After returning just a couple of weeks ago from the global monster show ITB, it was quite refreshing to have a more compact and focused event.
The event also had an interesting program of presentations. I was honored to present to a mainly Brazilian audience about some of the opportunities for Latin American destinations and travel brands to capitalize on the growing interest from North American travelers to the region. I explained that by using research and data, Latin American brands can avoid stereotypes in their segmentation of target audiences. As a result, they become more precise, timely and effective in their marketing.
The audience was pleased, and somewhat surprised, to hear that our Portrait of American Travelers® research shows that 25 percent of all U.S. travelers express an interest in traveling to Latin America for leisure purposes in the next two years. They started to sit up in their seats and take notes when I told them that compared to other travelers, those interested in visiting Latin America spend more and travel more often than the average for all destinations.
Lastly, I was pleased to have the chance to meet some representatives from the Brazilian travel industry. I learned from their experiences about how last year’s reduction on VAT and other public- and private-sector initiatives are contributing to tourism’s resilience to an increasingly complicated economic climate in Brazil.