Some 250 buyers and suppliers gathered in
Panama City, Panama, last month for the 30th annual TravelMart
LatinAmerica trade show, held at the capital's Atlapa Convention
three-day event, organized by Jacksonville, Fla.-based event
management firm William H. Coleman Inc., buyers met with companies
and tourism organizations from Central and South
efficient way to communicate about your product with a great number
of people," said Jascivan Carvalho, general manager of Quito,
Ecuador-based Tropic Ecological Adventures.
With a new
ecolodge under construction and new tour options, Carvalho said he
decided it was time for Tropic to make its first appearance at the
conference. "Now that we have more product, we need to be more
aggressive to get the word out," he said.
Arrarte, president of Lima Tours in Peru, described the conference
as an opportunity to build relations with others in the industry.
"We've had good meetings; business looks great," he said. "The key
players come and we network."
"It's been quite
a success," said Kathy de Guardia, marketing director at the
Panamanian Institute of Tourism, known by its Spanish-language
initials of IPAT. "People in the private sector have told me
they've had a lot of meetings and did a lot of business, and I
think that's the most important thing."
During the event,
organizers announced that next year's TravelMart will take place
Sept. 12 to 14 in Cartagena, Colombia, at the Cartagena Convention
Noting that it
will be first time Cartagena has hosted TravelMart Latin America,
Luis Guillermo Martinez Fernandez, president of city tourism board
Turismo Cartagena de Indias, said, "We're very focused on having
the event achieve all it sets out to.
important moment for Cartagena," he said. "[Show attendees] are
going to see the best of Colombia."
that the event will also be an opportunity to position Colombia in
the minds of buyers and to demonstrate the nation's focus on
tourism. Martinez said Colombian President Alvaro Uribe is "very
interested" in tourism.
"He's created the
position of vice minister of tourism, the first time such a
position has existed in Colombia," he said. "We're very happy about
To contact reporter Mark Chesnut, send e-mail [email protected].