Christopher Pickard steps down as chairman of LATA

2 May

CNN Business Traveller CP 02

Critical Divide’s Chris Pickard is stepping down as the chairman of the Latin American Travel Association (LATA) and from the association’s executive committee, a body on which he has served for 14 years, nine as deputy chairman and two as chairman. He will step down after the new LATA Executive Committee – which will be elected at the association’s AGM on 19 May – meet and choose the new chairman and officers.

“I thought that if Sir Bruce (Forsyth) had decided to call time on Strictly, it might also be a good time for me to exit stage left from LATA and samba off into the sunset,” Pickard joked. “Happily we don’t have any conscious uncoupling to do as I will still be around and the new chairman and officers can call on me at anytime if I can be of assistance to LATA or the membership. I will still be a member, if they will have me, and a trustee of the LATA Foundation.”

Pickard, who lived and worked in Brazil for 20 years, steps down at a time when LATA is registering record membership levels and revenues, and on the eve of Experience Latin America, a major new b2b show that is being launched by LATA on 16 June.

With LATA, its membership and finances in rude health, Pickard says he has no doubts that the new chair and executive committee will be able to continue the work of modernising and expanding the association and says that Experience Latin America will take LATA to a new level within the industry as the association will effectively control the major European based Latin American focused travel trade event.

Pickard said he felt he could step down now because LATA is in such good shape, and because he accepted that he needed to commit more time to other projects that were not LATA related. A film he developed and co-produced, “Rio 50 Degrees”, directed by Julien Temple, will air shortly on the BBC, while his web sites braziltheguide.com and worldcuptheguide.com have proved very popular with travellers heading to Brazil for the upcoming World Cup.

Pickard says he makes no claim to any legacy at LATA, although he did expand the executive committee and encourage the Latin American and overseas members to have a greater voice within LATA. He also helped establish the annual LATA reception with the All Party Parliamentary British-Latin American Group as a key date in London’s Latin American calendar. In recent years the event – which is held in the Palace of Westminster and attended by most of the Latin American ambassadors in London – has seen LATA’s annual Media Award presented to Michael Palin, Lily Cole and Jonathan Dimbleby.

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