The Latin American Travel Association (Lata) has unveiled plans to become the “authoritative voice” for the region among consumers and the trade.
The association will work closely with agents for the first time in its 22-year history, which could involve the introduction of a special membership structure for the trade over the next six months.
Lata boasts 270 members, which include operators, airlines, ground-handlers, hoteliers and tourist boards. It has extended automatic honorary membership to all Latin American tourist boards and embassies to ensure it represents the entire region.
Under chairman Byron Shirto, who took over from Christopher Pickard last May, Lata aims to raise its profile by being more proactive.
“Traditionally, we have not had agents as members,” he said. “Now we are looking at how to engage with them. We need to evolve as an organisation. We want to increase tourism to Latin America and to be the authoritative voice – the go-to organisation.
“Part of our plan is also to expand outside the UK, possibly having affiliate associations in other European countries.”
Lata is developing a website that will feature more inspirational content, to improve its engagement with consumers. It will go live at World Travel Market.
Last September, it employed its first full-time employee, Megan Parkinson, as executive manager, to help coordinate all of its trade activity.
“We have always had ideas but not the opportunity to move things on as we would have liked, as everyone was a volunteer,” said Shirto.
Lata also hopes to increase recognition of its auditing scheme, which assesses health and safety standards in resorts, to improve best practice among members. This could involve a ‘seal of approval’ to those meeting its criteria.
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