Winners of the 2018 LATA Achievement Awards @ ELA

15 Jun

The Latin American Travel Association (LATA) has revealed the winners of the LATA Achievement Awards for 2018. They were announced on 11 June during the B2B travel conference Experience Latin America (ELA).

Now in its 8th edition, the LATA Achievement Awards recognises individuals and/or companies who have made an exceptional contribution to the development of travel to Latin America.

The winners were voted for by a judging panel led by AITO Chairman Derek Moore and including Aneil Bedi, M&C Saatchi; Barbara Kolosinska, C&M Recruitment; Quinn Meyer, CREES Manu and Danny Callaghan, LATA, and they were:

CRUISE OPERATOR OF THE YEAR AWARD

Winner: Australis

Australis was awarded for providing an unforgettable cruise experience that includes travelling to some of the most remote regions of the world such as Cape Horn. The tours have resulted in outstanding customer satisfaction rates.

Runner-up: Aqua Expeditions

Aqua Expedition was recognised for combining high-quality accommodation with immersive Amazon experiences such as their recently launched 2018 hosted departures.

PRODUCT LAUNCH OF THE YEAR AWARD

Winner: Belmond

Belmond was awarded for launching the first-ever luxury sleeper train in Latin America: the Belmond Andean Explorer. The trip takes guests to over 4,000 metres above sea level and travels through areas of the Andes that are not usually accessible to tourists, whilst offering in the epitome of luxury.

Runner-up: Maya Trails

Maya Trails was recognised for identifying the glamping market as one that has potential growth in Latin America, and for developing a tour called the ‘Mayan Community Glamping Trek’ that combines trekking in Guatemala with overnight stays in luxurious accommodation.

AIRLINE OF THE YEAR AWARD

Winner: Air Europa
Air Europa was awarded for its continent-wide support and for the introduction of the new 22 Dreamliner aircraft, demonstrating that the airline is investing heavily into its long-haul business, with the benefit of reduced fuel usage, fewer emissions and less noise pollution.

Runner-up: Norwegian Airlines
Norwegian Airlines was recognised for successfully disrupting the well-established Latin American aviation scene by launching its low-cost service to Buenos Aires and for creating an internal flight network servicing 72 Latin American destinations, opening up the destination to European travellers.

PEOPLE AWARD

Winner: Audley Travel

Audley Travel was awarded for going above and beyond to offer excellent training opportunities to its sales team with the aim of developing their product knowledge. For example, the company introduced an induction scheme during which staff are hosted in Latin America as a guest for one month. The programme has delivered impressive results with productivity up by 20%.

Runner-up: Aqua Expeditions

Aqua Expeditions recognises that its employees are at the heart of the business and has developed a number of company schemes to ensure staff satisfaction. Some of the company’s initiatives include offering child benefits to all employees, and a ‘School for Parents’ scheme providing support to staff with young families.

HOTEL OF THE YEAR AWARD

 Winner: EcoCamp Patagonia

EcoCamp Patagonia was awarded for being one of the few operations permitted in the Torres del Paine National Park. The property is based on the design of indigenous houses in geodesic domes that blend in with the landscape. 90% of the power is provided from solar and hydroelectric sources.

Runner-up: Hacienda AltaGracia

Luxury Hotel Hacienda AltaGracia was recognised as one of the leading properties in Latin America offering a completely authentic Costa Rican experience. Visitors can engage with local communities and learn about traditional customs by joining a variety of programmes at the hotel.

SUSTAINABILITY AWARD

Winner: Amazon Nature Tours

Amazon Expedition Cruise Company, Amazon Nature Tours was awarded for its multi-faceted and strategic commitment to responsible tourism by ensuring operations have a minimal impact on the environment and for sharing the economic benefits of tourism with local communities.

Runner-up: Condor Travel

Condor Travel was recognised for its commitment to the environment and sustainable tourism highlighted by the creation of an NGO that manages the company’s social-environmental programme, and for its work with reforestation projects, and low-income families.

Highly Commended: Tierra Atacama

Tierra Atacama was highly commended for being the first hotel in South America to be 100% solar-powered, and for its exceptional sustainability measures including a water system that has eliminated all plastic bottles from the property.

MARKETING CAMPAIGN OF THE YEAR AWARD

Winner: Cox and Kings

Cox & Kings was awarded for its 2017 co-marketing campaign with PromPeru that highlighted Peru’s central tourism attractions and resulted in a 150% uplift in unique page views on Cox & King’s Peru page on their website and a 30% increase in bookings made to the destination.

Runner-up: Journey Latin America

Journey Latin America was recognised for its 2017 ‘TV and Cinema’ multi-platform campaign. The campaign showcased key aspects of Latin America, whilst being successful in raising awareness of the JLA brand and strategically targeting a specific demographic.

DMC / LOCAL TOUR OPERATOR OF THE YEAR AWARD

Winner: Peak DMC

Peak DMC was awarded for demonstrating its commitment to high-quality and safe tours by ensuring all staff receive real-life scenario training with paramedic instructors.

Runner-up: Cascada Expeditions

Cascada Expeditions was recognised for its efforts to offer guests a fully immersive Latin American experience by continuously seeking new programmes and developing new tours in lesser-known countries.

Highly Commended: Vapues Tours

Vapues Tours was highly commended for its environmental and sustainable tourism efforts such as working with university students to teach them about the importance of the environment.

TOUR OPERATOR OF THE YEAR AWARD

Winner: Latin Routes

Latin Routes was awarded for its diverse growth strategy, resulting in a turnover growth of over 150% in the last three years, as well as its commitment to pushing sales through travel agents.

Runner-Up: Cox & Kings

Cox & Kings was recognised for its dedication to increasing tourism to Latin America from the UK, and for piloting travel to the region through joint marketing work with tourist boards, one of which resulted in a 30% increase in bookings to Peru.

 

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Countdown for World Cup: The Guide

11 May

Critical Divide’s site, World Cup: The Guide, has been fully updated and is now ready for the action to start at the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia on 14 June.

Over 300,000 people used the site during the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil and it is popular for its simplicity and ease of use. It offers the user the chance to look at the schedule by date, venue, team and group, and also has the match TV schedules for the UK and USA.

The match scores will be updated throughout the tournament as the final two teams make their way to Moscow for the final on 15 July.

Follow Critical Divide on Social Media

3 Apr

You can now follow Critical Guide on Facebook. To find the page, http://www.facebook.com/TheCriticalDivide/, Click Here and like.

You can also keep up to date by following Critical Divide’s various Twitter accounts. These include.

Critical Divide: @CriticalDivide

Brazil The Guide & Rio The Guide: @RioDiary

World Cup The Guide: @WC_Guide_2018

St Helena: @StHelenaFocus

Ronnie Biggs: @RonnieBiggsNews

And don’t forget our various web sites that cover Rio, Brazil, the World Cup, the Oscars,  and Ronnie Biggs, to mention just a few.

Critical Divide to produce World Cup Guide

4 Dec

Due to public demand, as they say, Critical Divide will once again produce a quick and easy guide to the FIFA World Cup.

Critical Divide offered a guide to the 2014 World Cup in Brazil linked to Brazil: The Guide and Rio: The Guide, and over 300,000 people used the guide over the period of the tournament.

What was to be a one off, has now been extended to the 2018 World Cup in Russia and the site – World Cup: The Guide – has been full updated – most importantly with the schedule by date, team, venue and even TV. You can also follow on Twitter @WC_Guide_2018

World Cup: The Guide

Brazil: The Guide

Rio: The Guide

Returning to the Critical Divide

7 Aug

With a change in the direction of the wind Christopher Pickard, just like Mary Poppins, has decided that the time has come to move on to the next challenge and in October he will return from the South Atlantic Island of St Helena, where he has been director of tourism since 2015, to the UK and Critical Divide.

Chris has chosen not to extend his contract as director of tourism for St Helena when it ends in late September. In his view St Helena Tourism is now well positioned to handle the arrival of tourists in greater numbers once the scheduled air services begin later in the year from South Africa. The key going forward, he says, is for St Helena and its residents to embrace tourism and the arriving visitors, and offer them the best possible experience at a level that today’s international tourists demand and expect, while keeping true to the island’s rich heritage.

“Since my involvement with St Helena we have, despite the delay to the start of scheduled flights, been able to position the island as an exciting new destination with leading tour operators, the media, and the more adventurous travelling public. St Helena is now much less of a secret than it was when I landed in 2015,” explains Chris. “By the time I leave, St Helena Tourism and the entire Enterprise St Helena team will be prepared for the arrival of visitors by air as we continue to fine tune what the island has to offer and can offer in the future. The next step is to start to close potential sales with the final consumer and the tour operators who have been waiting on the start of air access. I have always believed that it is the Saints themselves who are best suited to this role of selling and promoting the island.”

Chris will continue to watch with interest the developments on St Helena from a tourism and economic development perspective, and he looks forward to catching up with his firends and colleagues from St Helena Tourism at up coming travel shows and events.

Chris Pickard sets sail for St Helena as Director of Tourism

3 Sep

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Christopher Pickard has been appointed as the new Director of Tourism for St Helena. Chris will be on a two-year contract, and will take up his post on arrival at St Helena on 14 October 2015.

Chris will be working with Enterprise St Helena and the Tourist Office and will build on the work already started in expanding, developing and enhancing St Helena’s tourism industry to be on par with best practices globally and for the benefit of the Saint community, the tourism sector and investors alike.

St Helena Rio

Chris said of his appointment:

“The opening of the Airport and start of scheduled flights next year will mark the beginning of what should be a new and very exciting chapter for St Helena. I am honoured and delighted to have been chosen to play my small part in this developing story and will be trying to help St Helena and its residents to build and create a sustainable travel and tourism sector – a sector that should bring very real and tangible benefits to the majority of the Island’s population.

“I look forward to learning about everything that the Island currently offers to its residents and its visitors and, in conversation with Saints, I want to understand how they would like St Helena to develop. By applying my global travel experience and contacts, I will then aim to achieve these objectives through tourism.”

Island Sattelite

Chris is former chairman of the Latin American Travel Association and is a founder and trustee of its charitable foundation. He set up the Brazilian government’s first overseas tourist office, and has been the director of communications for the World Travel & Tourism Council. In his career, including with Critical Divide, he has worked very closely for and with a number of tourist boards, airlines, cruise lines, hotel companies, destinations, as well as tour and ground operators.

He has also written extensively about travel and tourism and has authored and contributed to a number of guidebooks and travel publications.

Lourens-Malan-at-South-West-Point-rocks2

LATA committee for 2015-2016

25 Jun

Following the very successful completion of Experience Latin America by LATA, the new Latin American Travel Association committee voted in at the AGM on 18 June for 2015-16 is Jennifer Beale (Relais & Chateaux); Adam Bowie (Canning House); Max Campos (AirEuropa); Simon Evens (Chimu Adventures); Suzanne Faithfull (Brazilian Chamber of Commerce); Bibiana Garside (HighLives Travel); Becky Harris (Viaventure); Lyn Hughes (Wanderlust); Alex Malcolm (Jacada Travel); Liza Masias (Inkaterra); Wendy McNeill (Americas); Karen Meehan-Bissett (United Airlines); Sara Nozal (Aviacircle); Edward Paine (Last Frontiers); and Byron Shirto (Talking Stick Marketing).

The committee will now elect its four officers (chairman, deputy chairman, treasurer and secretary) at its first meeting on 7 July.

Critical Divide’s Christopher Pickard is an ex-chairman of LATA and a trustee of the LATA Foundation.