13th Brazilian Convention & Visitors Bureau Congress

The 13th Brazilian Convention & Visitors Bureau Congress will bring the Brazilian travel and tourism industry and authorities together over two days on 17 and 18 June 2021 (via video conferencing) to look at the challenges facing the industry as it works to reset itself post pandemic. 

While domestic tourism has held up quite well in Brazil over the past 18 months, when allowed to operate, international visitors have been very limited as travel between Brazil and rest of the world has been severely restricted and continues to be so.

The conference, organised by the Brasil Convention & Visitors Bureaux (BC&VB), will emphasise the growing importance of tourism to many areas of Brazil, and look at the challenges to be faced by the accommodation and aviation sectors post pandemic, flights being of key importance to a country the size of Brazil. Sustainable transport is on the agenda, and the participants will also hear about the current global situation for travel and tourism and how other destinations are looking to re-launch and open when it is safe to do so.

Via the magic of Zoom Critical Divide’s Christopher Pickard has the honour of giving his view of world events in a presentation entitled “O Mercado Global de Turismo – um olhar na realidade.” (The Global Tourism Market: A Reality Check).

Abba’s Super Troupers Land at the O2 in London

Abba Super Troupers The Exhibition opened at the O2 in London on 6 December 2019 and is scheduled, to the delight of Abba fans visiting London, to run through 31 August 2020.

The new exhibition occupies a 14,000 square foot space within London’s home of music, offers a musical journey into the phenomenon that is ABBA (Agnetha Fältskog, Björn Ulvaeus, Benny Andersson, and Anni-Frid (“Frida”) Lyngstad)  while offering visitors a time capsule of the 1970s and 1980s, a period when the band’s eight albums and many singles dominated the global charts.

The exhibit charts their music, lyrics, creative process and influence as one of the most iconic pop bands of the modern age. It examines ABBA’s rise to global superstardom through a series of atmospheric rooms, exploring each of ABBA’s multi-million selling albums, alongside the band’s personal and public journey.

ABBA first burst onto the UK music scene with a dazzling win on 6 April 1974 at the Eurovision Song Contest at the Brighton Dome, with the song that would become their first UK chart-topper, “Waterloo”. 

The exhibition has been conceptualised and curated by Jude Kelly CBE, a renowned theatre director and the former artistic director at The Southbank Centre.

ABBA: Super Troupers The Exhibition displays an array of objects that include:

  • Personal artefacts from each musician’s youth that provide an insight into their pre-ABBA lives, including Björn’s school report, his military book and photographs from his time in service, and pictures of a 13-year-old Frida in a jazz band as a beatnik teenager.
  • Key items from the height of the band’s heyday, reflecting on both the personal – such as a collection of behind the scenes photos taken of the band on their ‘77 Australian “Arrival” tour – and the professional, with iconic items from the height of their success, including a limited-edition replica of the ‘Star Guitar’ played at Eurovision ’74, signed by all four members; over 40 Gold Discs from ABBA’s personal archive, including “Dancing Queen”, their biggest selling single, worldwide; a collection of exquisitely designed, image-defining costumes and personal clothing.
  • A recreation of superfan Andrew Boardman’s Manchester living room, a veritable shrine to ABBA memorabilia. Andrew began collecting 40 years ago, having fallen under the band’s spell when, at age 16, he first attended an ABBA concert. This room explores the notion that ABBA may have the most ardent and committed fans of any contemporary band.

Visitors are fully immersed in the ABBA story through the ABBA: Super Troupers The Exhibition’s theatrical staging, including:

  • A recreation of the Eurovision Song Contest stage at the Brighton Dome, where, from lush deep theatre seats, fans can watch the performance.
  • Multiple photo-opportunities, where attendees can capture themselves beside:
    • A full-sized replica of the helicopter that graced the cover of “Arrival’.
    • Replicas of the iconic “Super Trouper” album cover costumes.
    • A life-size replica of the scoreboard that saw ABBA secure Eurovision Song Contest victory (despite null points from the United Kingdom…).
  • A glimpse inside the band’s POLAR Studios, where the hard-working pop perfectionists refined their defining harmonised sound, with interactive elements that include a voice recording booth and mixing desk.
  • Ending the experience on a  high, guests are invited to sing, dance, add to fan mail, explore memorabilia and indeed say “Thank You For The Music” in The Legacy finale, as a specular audio-visual backdrop documents the very best of the band’s successes.


Tickets are sold in 30-minute entry slots. Anticipated average dwell time within the exhibition is 90 minutes.

Adult £27

Adult Return £59 (up to a maximum of 4 visits)

Child £13.50 (children under 5 go free)

Tickets available at abbasupertroupers.com or by calling 08442 491 000*


Mon – Wed 10.00 until 19.30 (last ticket 18.00)

Thu – Fri 10.00 until 20.30 (last ticket 19.00)

Sat – Sun 09.30 until 19.30 (last ticket 18.00)

Closed 25th December 2019 and 1st Jan 2020


Some Fun ABBA Facts…

  • At the Grand Hotel in Brighton on the eve of Eurovision, quite by accident, ABBA discovered that the organisers had booked them into the Napoleon suite.  They took it as a good omen. 
  • Least glamorous fact – in 1979, ABBA fronted a poster for British Rail and Keep Britain Tidy
  • In 1973, ABBA competed in Melodifestivalen (the Swedish qualifying competition for the Eurovicion Song contest) with “Ring Ring” but only came third. 
  • When ABBA won Eurovision in Brighton with Waterloo, the UK gave them ‘nul points’. 
  • 3.5 million people applied for tickets to their 1977 London tour dates.
  • Lasse Hallström, who directed ABBA: The Movie and most of the band’s videos was nominated for Oscars for his direction on My Life as a Dog and The Cider House Rules. He also directed What’s Eating Gilbert Grape and Chocolat. 
  • ABBA scored their first number one album in the US in 2008. It was the film soundtrack to Mamma Mia. 
  • By the age of 19 Agnetha was already one of the most popular singer in Sweden.
  • ABBA Gold is one of the best-selling albums of all time in the UK, outselling Sgt Pepper’s. Lonely Hearts Club Band and second only to Queen’s Greatest Hits.
  • For the Sex Pistols’ 20th anniversary shows, John Lydon (an ABBA fan since early Seventies) wanted to walk onstage to ‘Dancing Queen’ in a bid to highlight how bad music was before punk – but, despite Lydon’s intentions, the crowd roared their approval and started dancing as soon as the ABBA hit kicked in. 
  • Already a household name, Agnetha played Mary Magdalene in the 1971 Swedish production of Jesus Christ Superstar.
  • Arrival was ABBA’s fourth LP but was their first studio release to hit the Number One spot in the UK (ABBA’s Greatest Hits went to No. 1 first).
  • Anni-Frid is a mezzo and Agnetha is a soprano. 
  • ABBA never officially broke up. In 1982 they decided to have a rest. It just went on a while. 
  • Both Led Zeppelin and Genesis recorded at Abba’s POLAR Studios.
  • After finally deciding on the name ABBA Benny flipped his “B” horizontally during a photo shoot. This inspired their official logo, though it was later given a proper design by Rune Soderqvist.
  • In 1973 after she had given birth to their daughter, Linda, Agnetha was replaced on their German tour by a lookalike. She was a local singer and friend of Anni-Frid called Inger Brundin.
  • A 1976 ABBA TV special, filmed in Australia, got more views than the 1969 moon landing in that country.
  • ABBA were the very first group from a non-English-speaking country to achieve top spots in charts in all English-speaking countries including Canada, Ireland, Australia and New Zealand, South Africa, the United Kingdom and the United States.

Mamma Mia: The Party!

The O2 is also home to the Abba dining and party experience, “Mamma Mia! The Party”. To book and more information CLICK HERE

Critical Divide at the Panama Film Festival

2015-04-11 14.11.38

Critical Divide traveled to Panama to help Variety with its coverage of the Panama Film Festival, produce four eShow Dailies, and to observe the Summit of the Americas.

To follow is Christopher Pickard’s overview of the festival. You can also read full coverage in the Variety eShow Dailies.

Panama – Variety – eShow Daily 1

Panama – Variety – eShow Daily 2

Panama – Variety – eShow Daily 3

Panama – Variety – eShow Daily 4


IFF Panama: Opening the World’s Eyes to Central America

Festival consolidates its position as a regional leader

The boy from Ipanema – Tom Jobim – heads to Cannes

The music of Antonio Carlos Jobim will be heard in Cannes this years as the festival is giving a special screening to Nelson Pereira dos Santos’ new documentary A Música segundo Tom Jobim.

Performances shown in the film include GAL COSTA (Se todos fossem iguais a você), ELIZETH CARDOSO (Eu não existo sem você), DIZZY GILLESPIE (Chega de saudade), GARY BURTON (Chega de saudade ), ANTONIO CARLOS JOBIM & GERRY MULLIGAN (Samba de uma nota só One note samba), ANTONIO CARLOS JOBIM (Samba de uma nota só One note samba), ANTONIO CARLOS JOBIM  (Desafinado Off key), ELLA FITZGERALD (Desafinado Off key), SAMMY DAVIS JR (Desafinado Off key),  JUDY GARLAND (Insensatez How Insensitive), ANTONIO CARLOS JOBIM & VINICIUS DE MORAES  (Garota de Ipanema), ERROL GARNER (Garota de Ipanema), ANTONIO CARLOS JOBIM & FRANK SINATRA ( Garota de Ipanema The girl from Ipanema / Corcovado Quiet Nights of Quiet Stars), ELIS REGINA (Corcovado), ADRIANA CALCANHOTO (Ela é carioca), NARA LEÃO (Dindi ), MAYSA (Por causa de você), NANA CAYMMI (Sem você), DIANA KRALL (Este seu olhar), OSCAR PETERSON (Wave), SARAH VAUGHAN (Wave), CYBELE & CYNARA  (Sabiá), ANTONIO CARLOS JOBIM & ELIS REGINA (Águas de março), CARLINHOS BROWN (Luiza), JANE MONHEIT (Águas de março Waters of March), STACEY KENT (Águas de março Lex eaux de mars), MILTON NASCIMENTO (Matita Perê),  ANTONIO CARLOS JOBIM & MIÚCHA (Samba do avião), ANTONIO CARLOS JOBIM & BANDA NOVA (Two kites), ANTONIO CARLOS JOBIM, CHICO BUARQUE & BANDA NOVA  (Anos dourados), CAETANO VELOSO, MILTON NASCIMENTO, CHICO BUARQUE, GAL COSTA, GILBERTO GIL &PAULINHO DA VIOLA (Lamento no morro).


Brazilian director, Walter Salles, will screen On The Road, a film based on the novel by Jack Kerouac, in competition in Cannes. The film stars Viggo Mortensen, Kristen Stewart, Kirsten Dunst, Sam Riley, Garrett Hedlund, Tom Sturridge Amy Adams, and Steve Buscemi.


LATA returns to the House of Lords

The Latin America Travel Association (LATA) returns to the House of Lords on 1 February for its annual reception with the All-Party Parliamentary British-Latin America Group.

The event promotes relationships between Britain and Latin America through travel and tourism. It also provides the opportunity for the LATA membership to speak to MPs and members of the House of Lords about Latin America, and shows the Latin American ambassadors and embassies in London that Britain takes travel and tourism seriously as an industry.

Baroness Hooper, chairs the All-Party Parliamentary British-Latin America Group and, alongside LATA chairman Ed Paine, will be presenting a couple of very special media awards on the night.

Jeremy Browne MP, Minister of State responsible for Central/South America and the Caribbean, as well human rights, consular, migration, drugs and international crime, public diplomacy and the Olympics, will address the reception.

2012 is a special year in that while London is hosting the Olympic and Paralympic Games, the next host will be Latin America, in the shape of the city of Rio de Janeiro. Brazil also hosts the FIFA World Cup in 2014.

Critical Divide to promote Ecuador and Quito in the UK

Critical Divide has been invited by the Ministry of Tourism for Ecuador and the Quito Visitors Bureau to look after the travel and tourism interests of Ecuador and Quito in the UK.

Critical Divide will be working closely with its sister agency, Acumen Marketing Management, in helping to promote both Ecuador and Quito as destinations in the UK market, and to develop tourism to the country and its capital.

With a resident population of around 14 million, Ecuador is the second smallest country in South America, yet has four distinct regions that include the Andean highlands; the coastal tropical plains; the Amazon Basin; and the iconic Galapagos Islands, located 1,000 km off the coast in the Pacific Ocean.

Brazil picks “Elite Squad: The Enemy Within” for Oscar duty

Brazil’s Ministry of Culture has chosen José Padilha’s Tropa de Elite 2 (Elite Squad: The Enemy Within) as its candidate for the foreign language academy award in 2012.

The film was chosen from a shortlist of 15 films, and is a just reward for the film having become the highest grossing film in Brazilian box office history.

Such is the popularity of the film that within hours of the announcement “Tropa de Elite 2” was one of Twitters worldwide trends.

The Academy will announce its nominations on Tuesday, 24 January 2012.