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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 and 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.

Count Down to Experience Latin America by LATA

24 Apr


Experience Latin America by LATA, the new b2b trade show bringing together key suppliers from Latin America with buyers from the UK and Europe, is on track for launch in less than eight weeks time. So far the event, which is being held between 16–18 June, at 40 Bank Street, in London’s Canary Wharf has attracted around 100 confirmed exhibitors from a cross section of suppliers operating in the region. LATA has also announced details of the seminar programme with two categories – ‘Uncover’ or ‘Discover’ seminars.

Exhibitors including tourist boards such as Brazil, Argentina, Chile, Costa Rica, Peru, Quito and the CTO; leading airlines serving the region such as AirEuropa, Avianca, British Airways, Caribbean, Copa, Iberia, LAN, TAM, TAP and United; hotel companies including Alvear, Belmond, Fasano Hotels, Grace Hotels and Inkaterra, are among those exhibiting and even leading cruise lines, such as Silversea, have recognised the promotional and business opportunities the event brings.

With delegates by invitation only and registration growing daily, the three-day show will bring together carefully-selected companies wishing to increase business to Latin America, including Brazil. Pre-scheduled meetings, inspiring seminars and plenty of networking opportunities should ensure a cross-section of Latin American suppliers and overseas buyers and media get ample opportunity to meet and network, learn about new products and strengthen existing relationships.

LATA chairman and Critical Divide director Chris Pickard said: “We are delighted by the response we have had for the first year from both the suppliers and the buyers – a true reflection of the interest from the UK and Europe in Latin America as a destination and the belief of the Latin American suppliers in the future growth of the UK outbound market.

“We did not make it easy for ourselves in holding the first Experience Latin America during the World Cup, especially when the tournament was in Latin America itself, but LATA is looking beyond 2014 and sees this very much as an annual event that will be a must do on the calendar of anyone involved in travel and tourism to Latin America.”

40 Bank Street, Canary Wharf, London

40 Bank Street, Canary Wharf, London

The seminar programme is a fundamental part of the experience for buyer and supplier delegates to engage, interact and learn at Experience Latin America. The ‘Discover’ and ‘Uncover’ seminars will provide education, inspiration and interaction for all delegates attending the event.

‘Discover’ seminars will be destination themed offering delegates the chance to learn about each region and specific product highlighting the incredible variety of experiences in Latin America.

‘Uncover’ seminars will look at the topical issues facing tourism to Latin America in general. Expert speakers and panellists will inform on current trends, perceptions and opportunities in Latin America, and highlight its enormous potential for increased business. Topics will include:-

  • Key sustainable tourism trends in Latin America for the next 10 years
  • How to get the most out of your social and digital media strategies
  • Routes to the UK market
  • Why adventure travel is essential to the future of tourism in Latin America
  • Key European booking trends
  • Growing niche markets in Latin America
  • How hotel and transport safety in Latin America affects you
  • Trends in cruising in Latin America.

The Experience Latin America social programme will kick off with an official launch party on 16th June sponsored by Air Europa.

LATA Foundation Quiz

12 Apr


The annual LATA Foundation Pub Quiz, hosted by British Airways/Iberia, will take place on Tuesday, 6 May at the Railway Tavern close to Liverpool Street Station. Tickets in support of the LATA Foundation cost £15 per person.

For more information, or to register your team, contact

Lily Cole honoured with LATA Media Award for her work with the Amazon

8 Feb
Lily Cole LATA Award

Chris Pickard, Lily Cole, Baroness Hooper

Environmentalist, fashion model and entrepreneur Lily Cole has been honoured with the LATA Media Award for 2014 at a ceremony in the Palace of Westminster. The presentation took place  on Wednesday, 5 February 2014 during the All-Party Parliamentary British-Latin American Group and Latin American Travel Association’s ninth annual reception.

Lily was following in the footsteps of the award’s most recent winners Jonathan Dimbleby (2012) and Michael Palin (2013). Christopher Pickard, chairman of LATA and Critical Divide, said Lily had been chosen for the way she had used the media to help educate a new audience about the Amazon rainforest, its benefits to mankind and also the perils that such regions of the world face from both nature and from human beings.

Cole has visited the Amazon in Brazil where she directed her own short film Wild Rubber and featured in Sky Arts’ “Amazon Adventure”. She is very active ambassador for Sky Rainforest Rescue and the WWF (World Wildlife Fund) who between them are committed to saving a billion trees in the Amazon through green economics.

Cole has also collaborated with Vivienne Westwood and the EJF (Ethical Justice Foundation for which she is a patron) to create wild rubber fashion and accessories and will continue to explore the potential development of wild rubber.

Lily Cole award

On receiving the award Cole said: “As demonstrated by my work with WWF and Sky, I am committed to our project in saving one billion trees in the Brazilian Amazon. By raising awareness and through creating sustainable projects where we can put the profits back into the hands of the local people we hope to encourage them to protect the Amazon rainforest not only in Brazil but across Latin America.”

Pickard said: “Lily’s work has catapulted the perils of destroying the rainforest and the Amazon to a much wider audience. She has used her fame to highlight a cause very close to our hearts and we are delighted to present her with an award in recognition of her impact in inspiring a new audience to learn and care about the Amazon and the rainforests of Latin America.”

TTG Award

TTG: Chris Pickard, Baroness Hooper, Pippa Jacks, Daniel Pearce

Also presented with an award was Travel Trade Gazette (TTG) in recognition of its 60 years of coverage of the global travel industry and in promoting Latin America to the UK travel trade. The South American Handbook now published by Footprint also received an award for its coverage and impact in promoting Latin America over 90 years of continuous publication (1924-2014). The guide’s editor, Ben Box, was singled out for his incredible achievement of editing the book for the past 25 years.

Managing director, Daniel Pearce, and editor, Pippa Jacks picked up the award for TTG, and Footprint managing director Patrick Dawson accepted the award for The South American Handbook.

South American Handbook Awards

South American Handbook: Chris Pickard, Baroness Hooper, Sarah Cameron, Patrick Dawson.

Over 200 guests including members of both the Commons and the Lords, Latin American ambassadors and diplomats in London, as well as travel companies involved with Latin America, heard from the Rt Hon Hugo Swire MP, Minister of State at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office with responsibility for Latin America, and the Baroness Hooper, chairman of the All-Party Parliamentary British-Latin American Group.

Hugo Swire

Rt Hon Hugo Swire

During his speech, Swire highlighted the increased investment between the UK and Latin America which in the case of Colombia will see the return of direct flights from the UK this summer, as well as the new embassy in Paraguay thanks to increased ministerial visits to the region. His final words echoed foreign secretary William Hague’s speech in 2010 firmly stating: “the British are back and ready to re-engage with Latin America.”

This summer LATA will launch its first business-to-business travel show, Experience Latin America, taking place in London from 14 to 16 June this year with further details expected in the coming weeks.


Experience Latin America – A New Travel Show for London

27 Jan


The Latin American Travel Association (LATA) has launched a new b2b travel show that will take place in London between 16 and 18 June 2014.

Experience Latin America by LATA will bring together key suppliers from Latin America with buyers from the UK and Europe. By invitation only, and organised by Latin America’s largest travel trade association, this vibrant three day show will bring together carefully-selected companies wishing to increase business to Latin America.

Pre-scheduled meetings, inspiring seminars and lots of networking opportunities should ensure a cross-section of Latin American suppliers and overseas buyers and media get ample opportunity to meet, learn about new products and strengthen existing relationships.

Taking place in the  stunning waterside venue of 40 Bank Street during the World Cup, Experience Latin America by LATA promises to be the only place to be in London in June for people passionate about tourism to Latin America.

Screen Shot 2014-01-22 at 18.15.00


Latin Frenzy

12 Sep


Tickets are now on sale for the Latin Frenzy on Wednesday 9th October at Guanabara in Covent Garden. This is a major fundraiser for the LATA Foundation and La Vida.

It promises to be a fantastic evening of entertainment, food and dance from around Latin America featuring the Latin fusion band WARA as well as Mariachi El Mexicano, traditional Bolivian dancers, a tango show, samba dancers and a bossa nova performance. DJ Limão will also be there to keep guests dancing to the early hours!

CLICK HERE for full details

Chris Pickard re-elected chairman of LATA

6 Jun

CNN Business Traveller CP 02

The Latin American Travel Association (LATA) has held the first meeting of its new executive committee for 2013/14. During the meeting Critical Divide’s Chris Pickard was re-elected chairman. The other officers for 2013/14 are Sue Faithfull – Vice Chairman, Byron Shirto – Honorary Secretary, Lesley Roberts – Treasurer, Ed Paine – LATA Counsellor.

The full LATA committee for 2013/14 is:

Amanda Sweeney (Rainbow Tours)
Byron Shirto (Talking Stick Marketing)
Chris Pickard (Critical Divide)
Claudia Morales (Branding Latin America)
Colin Stewart (Air Europa)
Edward Paine (Last Frontiers)
Lesley Roberts (United Airlines)
Liza Masias (Inkaterra)
Lupita Ayala (Mexico Tourism Board)
Lyn Hughes (Wanderlust)
Priti Mehta (Silversea Cruises)
Ray Blok (British Airways / Iberia)
Sara Nozal (Aviacircle)
Simon Heyes (Senderos)
Sue Faithfull (Brazilian Chamber of Commerce)
Wendy McNeill (Americas)