The lack of travel and professional meetings was for all one of the traumas brought by the pandemic, but its financial and human impact was felt even more strongly by tourism professionals.
For men and women who chose a sector because of its openness to the world, its permanent exchange and its national and international friendship networks, physical isolation worsens a scenario of economic and social crisis. One of the icons of French tourism claimed that the profession had three characteristics: hard work, little money, but lots of fun. With Covid’s crisis, for almost two years, revenues were few and no one had much fun.
If the resumption of travel has been noticed for months by agencies, airlines and hoteliers, it is only now that fairs restart with the presence of people. It was the case of ILTM LATAM from the 26th to the 29th of October, and it was even more the case of Festuris last week. In Gramado, the joy of reunions was already perceived at the traditional opening party, in a room where there was no lack of big names in Brazilian tourism. The tradition of numerous speeches was respected – including with the Minister’s very optimistic and very political statements -, but the emotion was great, soon with the young singer Luiza Barbosa and her exciting interpretation of the national anthem, and then with the intense speech of Marta Rossi in his moving duo with Eduardo Zorzanello on the transformations of tourism.
The reunions also marked Guilhermo Paulus’ well-attended dinner at Relais Châteaux Saint Andrews . Now taken from both the CVC and the GJP, the businessman that most marked the history of tourism in Brazil made sure to show his guests his creative news, a luxurious Mountain House, an intense program mixing culture, gastronomy and wine tourism , and ambition to see chef Fernando Becker bring a first star to his Primrose restaurant. In the lively conversations of this long-awaited exclusive meeting, all the guests, journalists, mayors, politicians or businessmen, confirmed that this ambition was really legitimate.
Without reaching the pre-crisis figures, there were, however, 230 exhibitors, 270 journalists and 8000 visitors who came to relive the so essential face-to-face meetings of Festuris. The event’s success could be measured in the animation at the booths as well as in the meetings in the corridors where the pleasure of unexpected meetings, and of quick, surprising, intense and information-rich contacts, was shared by everyone, including the great “players” of today who attended the event: executives from Shultz, Befly, CVC, Orinter, LATAM or Azul, representatives from major destinations such as Argentina, Spain, Italy, Portugal or Uruguay, tourism secretaries from Amapa, Pará, Paraiba, and from Rio Grande do Sul, this reinforced with the strong presence of Gaucho politicians with fair ambitions for a regional tourism showing an immense potential.
The joy of the resumption was less visible at the conferences. The important topic chosen, the transformations of tourism, generated little interactive audiences, and the answers about the changes or accelerations caused by the crisis – of the expected new services, the environmental impact, the distribution upheavals or the concentration of air transport – still have to be found. The organizers had, however, already designed some tracks, whether in the spaces chosen by them – luxury, sustainability – or the themes promoted by the exhibitors – adventure tourism, wine tourism, gastronomy, culture. The importance of the transformations that are coming, and the answers to be provided, shows that other meetings are urgent and necessary. And let’s go to Festuris 2022!