LATA chairman shares insight on the region and association's future
Martin Johnson told Travel Bulletin all about his excitement to join the role, what agents can expect from the future of LATA, and pressing challenges the industry must rise to.
"When I set up Latin Routes with my business partner nearly 12 years ago, and later that year attended my first LATA event, I could only have dreamt of one day being able to call myself chair of such a fantastic organisation.
"Latin America is without doubt the greatest continent on the planet and I’ve loved travelling there for over 15 years. Nowhere offers higher mountains, richer culture, friendlier people and more diverse wildlife – all in one holiday.
"Last month, we appointed Carmel Hendry, product manager at Explore Worldwide, to serve as vice-chair. Her extensive knowledge and skills will greatly benefit LATA, and I am excited to collaborate with her, the committee, and the management team as we embark on the next exciting stage of LATA's development.
"Looking at challenges, one of the biggest our industry has ever seen is now upon us. Evidence abundantly shows us that responsible and sustainable travel is now a fundamental requirement to ensure a long and prosperous future for travel.
"I am absolutely committed to ensuring LATA is a vital part of that discussion and leads the way for its membership to achieve positive transformation in this area.
"We have already rolled out the LATA Sustainability Network, made up of members who have completed the Strategic Sustainability Training Programme, run in partnership with the Long Run – Preferred by Nature.
"The network allows course graduates to meet quarterly to discuss their progress, challenges and provide peer to peer support with their sustainability journey.
"I look forward to taking part in these discussions, seeing where the main challenges lie and how we can make positive changes across all travel businesses.
"I want to put Latin America on the map as a leading destination for sustainable tourism. There are opportunities for us to widen our tour operator membership and significantly develop our travel agent membership, capitalising on the great work started with our agent roadshows earlier this year.
"There is an incredible opportunity to inspire UK travellers on how amazing Latin America is, and to continue sustainably growing the number of UK travellers to Latin America over the years ahead."