ELA Colin stewart

Travel agents to play integral part in forward LATA strategy

More travel agent engagement and providing them with the tools they need to confidently sell Latin America is a key component of The Latin American Tourism Association’s (LATA) plans for 2019/20.

“Travel agents have always been important to LATA. As an association we have built our membership to more than 350 tour operators, hotels, airlines, DMC's and tourist boards but identified early on that there is so much more we can do with travel agents,” said Colin Stewart, chairman of the association, at Experience Latin America (ELA) 2019.

Speaking yesterday at the annual trade show - now in its sixth rendition and touted to be Europe’s leading B2B travel event focused on the Latin American region - at Chelsea FC Stadium in Fulham, Stewart continued: “Part of our strategy is to raise the profile of Latin America and help drive consumers to go visit, so naturally travel agents are going to play a big role in that. It was evident in some research we did that our exposure to agents was quite limited and so there's a real opportunity for us to make a big difference in a short space of time by simply engaging with them and to pass on our knowledge; they’re a very important part of LATA’s strategy moving forward.”

It’s been revealed that the association will be launching an online training platform before the end of this year, designed to be the first port of call for all agents keen to embark on or expand their learning of Latin America. This will be followed with a series of dedicated Latin America road shows into 2020, to be held in locations throughout the country.

Stewart commented: “We're about to launch a strategy to engage with the travel agents of the UK and part of that is to dispel the myths about Latin America and to establish the hard facts and truths around how amazing the region is…I think once agents are more familiar with the product and what Latin America has to offer, that will instantly feed into the consumer themselves. The more knowledgeable and comfortable you are with a subject, the more willing you are to talk about it and to sell it effectively.”

With this year’s ELA featuring 145 exhibitors (up 10%, on last year), next year’s event is already expected to see further growth, with agents invited to be a part of that. Stewart added: “There’s absolutely a place at ELA for travel agents. Following our online training and road shows we hope to be that much more connected with agents, so that as we look to 2020 we can make the event a real opportunity for them to come along to and experience. It's an exciting time as this is the start of a new approach to how we engage with the industry and really position LATA as the expert in all things Latin America.”


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