Latin American and Spanish businessmen highlight the role of the new tourism industry

The president of Vocento, Ignacio Ybarra (left), in the moderation of the tourism forum at CEAPI. / RC

The first day of the V CEAPI Congress in Punta Cana analyzes the opportunities of this industry as an engine of growth and social transformation


The first day of the V Edition of the CEAPI Ibero-American Business Congress, which is taking place in Punta Cana, has hosted a round table dedicated to analyzing the role of Ibero-America as a global tourism power, its situation after the coronavirus pandemic and the challenges facing faced in the new international context.

Made up of prominent businessmen from the Ibero-American tourism industry and moderated by the president of Vocento, Ignacio Ybarra, the panel highlighted the importance that tourism and leisure have acquired in the post-pandemic global society, already being two of the most valued aspects for citizenship. And the important role as a vector of growth that this industry has the sustained growth of the Ibero-American economies.

Thus, the speakers Amancio López Seijas, president of HOTUSA; Alberto Bacó, founding partner of RE Capital; Elena Foguet, business director of The Bicester Collection, and Isidoro José Alanis Marcos, president of Grupo Global Exchange, have agreed to identify the challenges that the current Ibero-American tourism industry must overcome in order to position itself as an engine of growth and social transformation.

With digitization, innovation, social responsibility and environmental sustainability as the main ways to strengthen the Ibero-American role on the world tourism map, the panelists pointed out the need to develop the sector around efficient public policies and align them with businessmen that lead the evolution and modernization of the sector in the region. In this sense, Isidoro José Alanis has highlighted that «after an unimaginable crisis we have come out stronger in just 24 months. We have transformed ourselves and our challenges are to regain confidence and the habit of doing tourism. Now we must be able to absorb the demand, recover the workforce by training our workers and offering good working conditions. We must also diversify destinations and open the range to new alternatives.”

For his part, Puerto Rican Alberto Bacó stressed that “Latin American collaboration is necessary to strengthen the region as a tourist alternative. Puerto Rico also has its own strengths: low taxation and the fact that Americans can travel without a passport in a country like the US with few people with that type of document (only 27% have it)."

Elena Foguet has pointed out that «the challenge and opportunity for tourism is to change the paradigm and relate to society in another way: committing to talent, creativity and social and environmental sustainability. Tourism must commit itself to society and lead the paradigm shift, taking advantage of the transversality of the sector that fosters economic growth, social and environmental improvement. We must apply transversality in everything we do and give back to society what it has given us. Digitization and technology are key in positioning destinations, but human treatment and personal relationships are very important in the world of tourism. Digitization must serve to improve this human treatment and technology must give more time to people and professionals in the sector to treat people, tourists.

For his part, Amancio López Seijas recalled that “tourism requires security - legal, health and citizen security - and adequate infrastructure. The challenge is to improve quality in order to improve the type of tourism we receive. The 'cluster' formed by small businesses and family businesses must be strengthened and reinforced from a Latin American perspective. Tourism, a sector in which people work 365 days a year, demands vacancies that are not covered due to the high demand and dedication required. For this reason, we need a company culture and training and know how to be at the customer's service. We are more than an industry, we are the industry of happiness. We are more than a sector because we are transversal, key to the development of countries and societies. This can only be done with people and taking care of employability », he has indicated

As a final message, Elena Foguet has asked governments "to value quality tourism and the media not to contribute to tourism-phobia." And Alberto Bacó has assured that we are in "one of the best moments of humanity because we are in the possibility of reinventing ourselves".

In turn, Frank Rainieri, founder of the Puntacana hotel group, called for "innovation and creativity as the basis for success" of a tourism project like the one in Punta Cana. Integration between businessmen from different countries is also key to promoting ventures and projects. Dreams are created like this: having our feet on the ground and with the pragmatism that characterizes us entrepreneurs. The path to success is not stopping at obstacles and challenges must be overcome. The business sector must now lead the social and environmental changes. We can't leave it to politicians. Let us become the leaders -and not just as businessmen- to make a better Latin America. We can no longer be the businessmen of the 19th and 20th centuries, but promote a fairer region while respecting free enterprise.

In the framework of an interview conducted by Jairon Severino, director of the Dominican financial newspaper El Dinero, Frank Rainieri, founder of the Puntacana Group, has narrated how he created this tourist destination that "was born thanks to the desire for adventure, entrepreneurship, intuition and courage and courage of youth.

Rainieri, who has acted as host by hosting the event in one of his hotels -the Punta Cana Resort & Club- also wanted to underline "that the key to the success of Punta Cana is that it has managed to create a destination that generates 15% of the Dominican GDP. And it is a model that can serve as an example for the rest of Latin America.”

In addition, throughout the interview he has made reference to the fact that «destinations and markets are not created in a year. It takes years: you suffer a lot, you lose money at the beginning. Punta Cana is not a product of Frank Rainieri but also of Haydée Rainieri» who helped me throughout that time of sacrifice. I even managed to get an airport built, which is the ninth in the Latin American region.”

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