Hundreds of travel agents attended the first Sydney workshop at the Ivy Ballroom on 18 May, while agents in Melbourne attended a workshop expo at the InterContinental Hotel on 19 May. Latin dancers joined the agents who were able to meet with 50 exhibitors representing airlines, hotels, cruise lines, tour and travel operators and tourism bodies from 20 countries in South and Central America. Among the exhibitors were tourism bodies from Chile, Brazil and Colombia which have never fronted an Australian travel trade show before.
The Sydney and Melbourne trade workshops are part of Latin America Travel Week (15 – 22 May), organised by the Australian Travel Association for Latin America (ATALA). The inaugural promotion also included a free travel expo for the public at Sydney Town Hall on Sunday 15 May and another public expo at Melbourne Town Hall on Sunday 22 May 2016. As part of the initiative, the public and travel workers have been invited to donate gold coins to the UNHCR’s Ecuador Earthquake Appeal.
Latin America Travel Week is backed by major sponsors LATAM Airlines group and Prom Peru, with silver sponsors Turismo Chile and Ecuadorian tour operators, Metropolitan Touring and Latin Trails.
One lucky travel agent at ATALA’s Sydney trade workshop – Valma Herb from MTA Travel – won a $12,000 luxury holiday for two to Chile including flights from LATAM Airlines, The Singular Patagonia, The Singular Santiago, Alto Atacama Desert Lodge & Spa and Vira Vira Hacienda Hotel.
A lucky agent in Melbourne at the Victorian trade expo on 19 May will win a luxury holiday for two to Peru including flights thanks to LATAM Airlines, Mountain Lodges of Peru, Hotel B and Delfin Amazon Cruises.
Held less than three months before the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro this August, the two Latin America Travel Agent Workshops came with the theme – ‘The Changing Face of Latin America’ – aimed to address misconceptions about the region and update agents on product.
ATALA Chairman, Ted Dziadkiewicz, said the inaugural Latin America Travel Week was aimed at increasing awareness of Latin America as a travel destination.
“More Australians are looking at South and Central America as holiday destinations with a sizeable increase in airline capacity in recent years, the Rio Olympics, more packaged tours and positive marketing all helping to fuel travel to Latin America,” Mr Dziadkiewicz said.
“South America is full of wonder and excitement – from the Inca ruins at Machu Picchu, the splendour of Iguazu Falls, the mysterious Amazon jungle and the spectacular peaks of Patagonia to the mighty glaciers of Chile, the buzz of beautiful Rio, the elegance of Buenos Aires and the exotic wildlife of the Galapagos Islands. There’s the sun-kissed Mexican Riviera, the tropical Caribbean island of Cuba, the breathtaking expanse of Antarctica and colourful, friendly and welcoming cultures right across the continent.”
ATALA is an Australian-based association dedicated to the promotion of travel to Latin America.