By Eduardo Rivera
For those of us that are active players of the noble, yet sometimes very sensitive travel industry, facing hard times caused by exogenous circumstances, is something that does not come as a surprise, although the challenges that we are enduring right now due to the COVID19 pandemic are unprecedented, the resilience and courage of travel professionals have been well proven through times.
Over the years, we have seen the impact brought upon tour and travel companies by epidemies and illnesses of all kinds such as: malaria, cholera, dengue fever, chikungunya, leptospirosis, salmonella, E-Coli, Ebola, SARS, H1N1…you name it, although the coronavirus pandemic is a stronger enemy affecting everyone alike, in essense is no different than the others. We have witness how travel businesses survived wars, terrorism, natural disasters such as hurricanes, tropical storms, earthquakes and volcano eruptions, not to mention sudden spikes of crime, civil unrest and political crises; empathetic and all, we have to accept that these instances come with the territory.
Never have we been poised to make a “career change” the truth is, we love what we do… perhaps many of you can relate to this assertion. Desperate times call for desperate measures, in view of the magnitude of the situation these measures might need to be transcendental right now, at least until a safe and effective vaccine is made available to the world; it is time to stay informed and to be creative more than ever, we need to be ready for what lays ahead, promoting trust will be a key factor to encourage people to travel again soon, stakeholders will have to convey to potential visitors, either directly or through their distributing channels abroad, a convincing message regarding steps taken to ensure their safety.
To help accomplishing that goal, Explore – Turismo de Centroamerica, has joined efforts with its sister company ER3 Web Solutions, to produce our newest venture, Central America Expo, a major of 7-day virtual trade show, where related providers based on each country in Central America, will be able to meet online with retail and wholesale tour companies from around the globe, allowing for great destination, product and services exposure.
While we know virtual events will never substitute the excitement and feel of a physical exhibit, we are sure that this type of meet up event is much safer and viable for the time being, producing the same and sometimes surpassing the results expected of a live event, with the added value of practicality and cost effectiveness, we suspect this tool will get more sophisticated and will become part of the new norm to do business for years to come.
We must acknowledge the need to keep potential customers updated, as well as maintaining brand visibility and momentum, so we can all be part of the great recovery after the emergency; we are very excited about this endeavor and hope that you will consider coming on board as an attendee or exhibitor… in the meantime, stay safe.
Eduardo Rivera has been Director of Explore, a regional tour company in Central America for the past 32 years, he has a bachelors degree in tourism and an MBA with emphasis on marketing; Mr. Rivera is former president and founder of the Honduran National Association of Tour Operators as well as former president of the Honduran Chamber of Tourism in San Pedro Sula.