Eurochile concludes successful participation in FIEXPO Latin America 2020 together with business tourism entrepreneurs from Antofagasta
A delegation of companies participating in the project “MICE Antofagasta Tourism Internationalisation Node” participated, virtually, at the end of November in the most important meeting tourism fair in the region, a key instance to show the potential of that area in the north of Chile as a destination for this industry.
At the end of November, the FIEXPO Latin America 2020, the most important meeting tourism fair in the region, and headquarters of the Political Forum on Meetings Tourism, considered this year as a key instance to exchange diagnoses and proposals that help the recovery of Latin American destinations. And it is also the main point of exchange for MICE Tourism players (Meetings, Incentives, Conventions and Exhibitions), since it gathers main leaders and suppliers of this industry.
For this reason, and within the framework of the project, which is being developed jointly with Corfo Antofagasta and GEDES to make that city an attractive destination for convention tourism, Eurochile participated in this virtual fair together with a group of tourism entrepreneurs from the region. The purpose of participating in the fair was to link with international markets and establishing commercial ties for the promotion, marketing and sale of the destination.
“The objective of this fair was to establish contact with potential clients, suppliers or partners, and also to learn about similar cases, good practices from similar companies. In this way, the learning obtained and the contacts will help to improve the offer of tourist products and services of the companies participating in the Node. In addition, participation in the fair required preparing promotional material and organising a common message that aligns with the companies of the node in order to work collaboratively”, explains Francisco Meneses, director of Strategic Development at Eurochile.
During the fair, the group took advantage of spreading the attractions of Antofagasta, as well as its capabilities for business tourism and the offer of the entrepreneurs that make up the Node, with the intention of raising a portfolio of potential clients.
“It was an excellent opportunity to connect with professional associations and professional conference organizers from all over Latin America in an simple way, without losing the presence and work we had been doing at FIEXPO in previous years,” says Alicia Reyes, manager of the Convention Bureau. Antofagasta.
“I was very satisfied,” she adds, “especially knowing that there is a lot of interest from the hosted buyers in holding congresses and incentive trips in new and different places than the traditional ones, which represents a great opportunity for the Antofagasta Region”.
Advantages of the virtual experience
Due to the pandemic this year the FIEXPO was held virtually, this also had some advantages, says Francisco Meneses. Among them, having a greater number of participants at a lower cost and taking advantage of all the instances to meet companies from all over the continent, adapting to the schedule of each participant.
To this is added, says the director of Strategic Development of Eurochile, that the organisation was very good, the virtual stands simulated very well the experience of visiting a fair and where each participant had access to communication tools, views of virtual brochures, agendas, etc.
“As the executing entity of the project, we established a system of meetings that ensured that in each block of hours there were at least one entrepreneur and one professional from Eurochile. However, there is no doubt that face-to-face fairs allow interaction to which tourism entrepreneurs are more accustomed, where networks of trust and direct exchange are established that cannot be achieved in a virtual way ”, he says.
Despite this, Alicia Reyes points out that the FIEXPO was an opportunity to make Antofagasta known as a destination, both to professional associations and conference organisers from other latitudes that probably only refer to Santiago as the main city. “In our participation in FIEXPO we did not only show the attributes for holding congresses and conferences, but also all the tourist attractions of our region, which in turn is a powerful link to promote tourism in the area”, she says.
After the good results obtained, says Francisco Meneses, it is now time to continue advancing in the collaborative business model with a view to complementing each other, and being able to offer integrated services. “The virtual experience, in addition to the value of the fair itself, was a sample of the new world of digital work. In the specific case of Tourism, which has been very hit by Covid-19, the interaction was already and will be even more internet-based, with increasingly digitised and demanding customers, ”he points out.
In this sense, the participation of the entrepreneurs of the Node in FIEXPO revealed the need and the opportunities involved in being able to show themselves as an articulated set of suppliers, capable of providing quality services to those who organise or participate in a business meeting. “Along with the training plan, it is now time to develop the marketing plan for the Node, including the generation of promotional material. FIEXPO’s experience will be very useful in these areas, based on what it has learned regarding potential clients, international competition, eventual partners and other organisations in the MICE tourism sector ”, he concludes.