Martin Johnson, chairman of the Latin American Travel Association (Lata), outlines the new residential format of Lata Expo for 2024
After the success of the tenth Lata Expo this summer, where I took over as chair of the association, we knew that we could enhance the already-successful format by making Expo a fully-hosted residential conference, and I’ve been delighted with the positive response and feedback from across the membership, who are as excited by the changes as we are at Lata.
We are continuously striving to make sure we represent our members in the best way possible, looking at ways of enhancing the value of being a part of Lata. We listened to feedback and have devised a more intimate event, where along with the much-valued one-to-one business meetings, there will be more time for informal networking among members, as well as time to relax and celebrate at two new evening events. Exhibitor numbers will be limited to just 100, carefully balanced between ground handlers and a much greater percentage of ground products including hotels, lodges and cruise lines, ensuring that those taking part have the best experience we can offer them.
Hosted at the De Vere Beaumont Estate on the outskirts of Windsor, delegates – a cross-section of suppliers, influential buyers and media – will be able to network, discover new products, gain industry insight, all while strengthening existing relationships. With a full programme of conferences, targeted business meetings and evening social events, Expo will feel like an overseas conference but without the travelling time for the UK-based members. For the exhibitors coming from Latin America, we want them to benefit from knowing they had accommodation prearranged, everything on site, and therefore additional time for networking with new buyers.
A further enhancement to Expo is the conference element. This will now be integral to the programme rather than a lunchtime segment. Expo will begin on Monday morning with the brand-new Lata conference, moderated by travel expert and broadcaster Simon Calder. He will host a variety of keynote speakers and panels to elevate the discussion around the future of tourism, as well as the challenges and successes. With business meetings remaining at the heart of Expo, Monday afternoon and Tuesday will be designated for pre-booked appointments. On Wednesday morning, we will conclude Expo with the new sustainability summit, looking at how we can future proof our industry, sharing best sustainable practices.
I am delighted to see the return of the Lata Achievement Awards, which will take place during a gala dinner on Monday celebrating the successes of our members. We are also introducing the Lata Expo Festival on Tuesday, which will be a fun event where the Latin fiesta will meet with a traditional British festival, along with music, street food and a range of entertainment and activities.
Applications for exhibitors are open now, and I am delighted with the number we have already confirmed. We will be inviting our premium buyers in the coming weeks, but interest can also be registered here. Exhibitors and buyers will be able to arrive on the Sunday afternoon, and enjoy events for three nights, all meals, a scheduled meeting diary and a place at both conferences. Should buyers prefer, they will be welcome to join from Monday morning.
First launched in 2014 as Experience Latin America, Lata Expo has seen 10 years of being the key event for the Latin American tourism industry and I am looking forward to progressing it to the next 10.