An Interview with Simon Mayle

02 Jul 2014

Arthur Luiz Andrade e Fabola Bemfeito from Jornal Panrotas caught up with our very own Simon Mayle, Head of Marketing, ILTM to find out a little bit more about ILTM Americas.

Why should Brazilians attend ILTM Americas, especially after Travelweek SP?
Each ILTM is based on bespoke appointment diaries of tailor made appointments between high-end travel suppliers and agents. Both of these events offer up to 69 appointments lasting 15 minutes. At Travelweek Sao Paulo by ILTM, agents can choose their appointments from over 600 premium travel products exhibiting from across the world and at ILTM Americas from up to 275 luxury travel products. Thus allowing travel suppliers and agents that might attend both events to meet with different companies at each.
Furthermore, there are different suppliers exhibiting at each event, according to their needs; this means that there are typically in excess of 100 exhibitors at ILTM Americas that don’t participate at Travelweek Sao Paulo. It also gives Brazilian high-end hotels the opportunity to meet with agents outside of Brazil and Latin America from the largest outbound market of the USA as well as Canada.
Additionally, ILTM Americas gives Brazilian agents the opportunity to discover a part of Mexico, perfectly suited to the Brazilian traveller.
What's new for this edition?
Each new edition of any ILTM event brings new high-end suppliers, some participating in the event for the first time such as LVMH’s Hotel Saint-Barths, Isle de France at ILTM Americas 2014. The event also welcomes brand new hotels just opening or opening in the near future such as Peninsula Paris, Portrait Suites in Firenze and Faena in Miami. Plus we will deliver an Opening Forum with new speakers offering more inspiration and new ideas on how our attendees can develop their businesses, as well as a variety of different networking experiences each evening, set in the stunning location on the Riviera Maya, Mexico.

What's your analysis on Latin American and Brazilian consumers of luxury travel? And what about the region as a luxury destination?
There is no question that Latin American travellers are some of the most desirable hotel guests in the world. Brazilians are comfortable travelling far, due to their vacation periods they often stay for lengthy periods of times and with a culture of strong family values, they will often travel in multi-generational groups. They are very open to a wide variety of experiences and want to treat themselves to a variety of experiences both within and outside the hotels. It’s common knowledge as well that, as most luxury items in Brazil are expensive, Brazilians will shop extensively whilst abroad.
As an overall destination, Latin America is one of the most exciting and diverse in the globe, with breath-taking natural wonders such as the Amazon, Atacama, Galapagos, Machu Picchu and Patagonia. As well as the picture-postcard perfect sea and sand destinations of Fernando de Noronha, Rio de Janeiro, Trancoso and Florianopolis in Brazil and Jose Ignacio & Punta del Este in Uruguay. Plus the gastronomic delights of Mendoza and vibrant city destinations such as Buenos Aires and Cartagena.
Brazil, possibly due to infrastructure, is developing slower than some of its counterparts, but there are new exciting developments on the horizon and with it I hope we’ll see more international visitors spending their time and money discovering this marvellous country.
Any plans to take ILTM Americas to other country or destination?
ILTM Americas brings premium agents from North and South America making Mexico is perfect location. The event has a wonderful Latino flavour whilst being very accessible to the North American market. Furthermore, it doesn’t get much better than doing business on a beach in the Caribbean Sea.
Which are the trends on the luxury travel segment?

Mexico is experiencing a luxury boom, at the hands of a young, affluent middle-class ready to spend: Mexico’s new affluent clients particularly are looking for a different kind of elegance. They want hotels that are more contemporary, artsy and with restaurants and bars that are happening and filled with locals. They still expect great service, but in more casual settings.

Increasing numbers of younger high net worth both Canadians and North Americans are looking to explore new horizons such as Ecuador, Peru and Indonesia and continue to visit favourites such as Germany, Italy and France.  There are now a record 110 million US passport holders in the country.

Wherever they are from, the global luxury traveller continues to seek authenticity, with family travel and elite ‘off the wall’ experiences continuing to rise in popularity.

How technology distribution has changed the way these consumers buy their luxury trips?
I believe above a certain price point, when you reach the high-end market the importance of a one-to-one relationship, being able to speak to someone you trust on the phone or meet them in person will never be replaced by technology. The way we reach people, influence them and how well informed they are is unquestionably changing consumers’ behaviour but not the way they purchase. The agents we speak to all report a growing amount of business. Additionally, Brazil is a large and diverse country and the wealth is spread right across this vast country and agents with high-end clients are constantly emerging to deliver new business. 

Which are the latest number on luxury travel in the world and the region, also the latest numbers for ILTM Americas and other you may highlight?
Home to ILTM Americas for the last two years since the event launched in 2012, Mexican outbound tourism spending is expected to reach $US 7 billion by 2017. In a list of the countries set to create the most millionaires in 2014, a 7% increase is expected alone in Mexico. In a recent assessment of 80 frontier markets where the potential to develop is high for the luxury industry, Mexico ranked 10th, ahead of Chile, Argentina, Brazil, Colombia and Peru, all of which ranked in the Top 20.  Finally, there are currently 12 million US millionaires, a figure predicted to rise to over 25 million by 2020.   All in all, ILTM Americas will be a key platform for high net worth travellers from both established and emerging markets.

ILTM Americas will take place 22 - 25 Sept 2014. For further information, please visit

Travelweek Sao Paulo by ILTM will take place 5 - 8 May 2015. For further information, please visit


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