Today (April 22nd) saw the opening of the third WTM Latin America, which also hosts the 43rd Braztoa Business Event, at the Expo Center Norte Exhibition Centre, in the city of São Paulo, and will run until Friday.
Participants to the opening ceremony were welcomed by Craig Moyes, WTM Portfolio Director; Lawrence Reinisch, the Trade Fair’s Director; Eduardo Barbosa, Vice-CEO of Braztoa; Henrique Eduardo Alves, the Minister for Tourism; Aydin Karacabay, from Istanbul’s Chamber of Commerce; Márcio Favilla, Director of the World Tourism Organization; and Roberto de Lucena, congressman and Secretary of Tourism for the State of São Paulo, along with a number of senior world tourism authorities and international media.
During the Opening Ceremony, Craig Moyes emphasized the importance of the exhibition for promoting the industry, with 60 new exhibitors and the new partnership with ALAGEV (the Latin American Association of Managers of Corporate Events and Travel).
Craig Moyes, WTM Portfolio Director commented “The 2014 event generated US$ 341 million of business deals, and this year will be no different, boosting Brazil’s and Latin America’s growing importance within the global industry”.
Lawrence Reinisch, WTM Latin America’s Director, stressed the trade fair’s growth and the rising middle class as being growth factors for the sector, which has registered an increase of more than 40 million potential consumers since 2003.
“Every day that we work for tourism, we are working for income and employment generation and for social inclusion”, pointed out Reinisch.
During his speech, the Minister for Tourism, Henrique Alves, emphasized that tourism accounts for 3.7% of Brazil’s GDP, and that in 2014, it generated roughly R$ 50 billion in terms of taxes and registered a turnover of R$ 209 billion. Alves stressed the sector’s importance as an employment and income generator and stated that the Federal Government was committed to encouraging professional training and new technologies in order to improve tourism’s results even more.
Aydin Karacabay, a representative from Istanbul’s Chamber of Commerce, sponsor destination of WTM Latin America 2015, cited a survey carried out by TripAdvisor in which Istanbul shows up as the world’s most popular destination in 2014. He also mentioned the importance of the connections between Latin America and the rest of the world.
The Executive Director of Operational Programs and Institutional Relations of UNWTO, Márcio Favilla, took advantage of the occasion to present some impressive figures. A 4.4% growth was registered in 2014 in the number of trips vis-à-vis the previous year, adding up to a total of 1.135 billion international arrivals in the world. Brazil and Chile showed a growth of 2.5%, which was very similar to the growth posted by the entire European continent, which was one of 3%. For 2015, the WTO is forecasting a global growth of 4%.
Eduardo Barbosa, Vice-CEO of Braztoa, stressed that the tourism sector is undergoing changes and, that for this reason his organization has prepared a training and qualification program that will take place each day at the Braztoa location at the event, in the very center of the exhibition floor.
The Secretary of Tourism for the State of São Paulo, Roberto de Lucena, mentioned the fact that a Draft Bill has been signed which establishes 140 new destinations of touristic interest in the State.