TravelMart Latin America 2009 Kicks Off

Travel Agent was on hand Wednesday night  as a tent full of tourism industry representives and government officials of Chile welcomed the official opening of the 33rd annual TravelMart Latin America in Patagonia.

Chile is center stage this year in an attempt to attract both the travel trade industry and consumers to a destination that needs tourism help badly. In fact, we were told that tourism is a mere sixth on the list of total income producers to the country. So it was good news when TravelMart Latin America founder William H. Coleman announced that roughly 1,000 buyers, suppliers and media have graced the destination this year.

Although this year was a challenge and next year is still unknown, Coleman urged the audience to focus only on the positive influence on the industry that the show is likely to produce within the next two days. "There may be challenges," Coleman said. "We all know 2009 has been a difficult year and 2010 is uncertain, but the next two days will be positive, productive, valuable and enjoyable."

The trade floor opens Thursday morning and the show concludes Friday.

Travel Agent will keep you posted with all news from the show starting with Thursday morning's opening press conference.