The first edition of ILTM Americas has opened for business. International Luxury Travel Market (ILTM)’s first dedicated event to focus on the American Continent gathered more than 150 exhibitors from the most luxurious destinations across the world to meet with 150 exclusive buyers from across the Americas.
CBS travel news journalist Peter Greenberg observed that the luxury travel market is growing exponentially in the Americas, not only in countries like Brazil, but the infrastructure is also growing within Paraguay, Nicaragua, Dominican Republic and even Cuba. He commented: “At the end of the day, travel and tourism is one of the largest of global industries, producing one out of seven jobs and up to 10% of the GDP of some countries. It will be pleasing to see which countries that are not represented at ILTM Americas today, will be here next year; they will not want to miss this boat”.
The ILTM Americas Opening Forum with Travesías focused on how the importance of marketing content is transforming media and tourism and explored the advantages that are there to be taken by both sectors. Attendees were left questioning themselves on whether their businesses are working with good content strategies and furthermore, are they working? The high level expert panelists addressing the ILTM Americas Opening Forum were: Javier Arredondo – Chairman of Travesías, Carlos Couturier – Founder of Grupo Habita, José Koechlin – Founder of Inkaterra, Shelby Donley – Owner of Camelback Odyssey Travel and Nicolás Peluffo – Managing Director of Punta dos Ganchos.
“Travesías has been ILTM’s exclusive Latin American media partner for the last 9 years. I am very happy that they chose Mexico as the destination for ILTM Americas, it is very important for us. I have attended many other related industry events but this is the best show; it is so well organized and attracts only the top business leaders and experts,” said Javier Arredondo.
Prior to the Opening Forum, two seminars were held: Mario Jobbe, COO & Co Founder of Brand Karma addressed: “Social Media: Is it more than just participating in Facebook & Twitter?” which explored the value of developing social media strategies, from being accessible and inclusive, to being able to sell the expertise, have a measurable return on investment and the importance of constantly reviewing new sites and opportunities.
Wendy Perrin, Director of Consumer News & Digital Community at Condé Nast Traveler added “Credibility is essential to make it authentic, to create a bond between the network and the readers in order for them to trust you.”
The second seminar featured Peter Greenberg moderating the panel: “The three most misused words in travel – Ecotourism, Volunteerism and Sustainability.” The discussion debated whether it was possible for these three words to co-exist in tourism. It was observed that education, guidelines and partnerships are the main challenges in promoting sustainable environmental conservation. At the same time, the panel acknowledged that volunteering is becoming a new way to promote foreign destinations by combining innovative experiences like enhancing community service activities with luxury travel. This is not only attractive for the unique life changing experiences offered, but also for the potential tax deductions they can offer.
Claudia Madrazo, Founder of Catherwood Travels commented that ILTM Americas is a dream come true for her, turning a possibility into a reality. She said: “There is such potential: if we consider that just less than 1.5 million people that come to the Yucatán peninsula staying an average length of 1 day and a half, and knowing that 95% just come to Chichén Itzá; then our goal now is to double the amount of people coming and double the length of stay, and this would really change the Península.”
ILTM concluded: “We are looking forward to introducing our handpicked VIP Americas buyers to our exclusive travel exhibitors over the next few days via our exclusive ILTM pre-scheduled appointment programme, distinctive since the first ILTM in Cannes almost 11 years ago.”