The “Encuentro Nacional de Municipios Turísticos” was held on the 14th. and 15th. of March of this year in Santa Rosa de Calamuchita, Argentine province of Cordoba.
This meeting brought together technicians, local authorities, tourism secretaries and directors, supervisors, representatives of NGO’s and hotel and tourism executives in the interest of promoting its tourist development at the municipal level.
Participants shared their knowledge about recent trends in the tourism industry taken from the local stakeholders’ viewpoint. The event also served to present new techniques for the development of effective global promotional, advertising and digital communication strategies in the tourism sector. Several emblematic cases were brought forth in a practical way sharing experience and knowledge dealing with environmental, economic and socio-cultural issues.
The meeting also analyzed the outlook, bearing and demand of the tourist sector; likewise, workshops and abodiscussions, good municipal practices forums and lectures with guest specialists.
Some of the industry’s leading experts and entrepreneurs were among the event’s exhibitors, such as: Gustavo de Figueredo, Red Federal de Municipios Turisticos Sostenibles President; Pablo Sgubini, the event’s key proponent and organizer; Javier Goldstein, Colonia Pellegrini’s Director of Tourism; Viviana Mettifogo, Ituzaingo’s Director of Tourism; Oscar Antonio, Carlos Paz’s Minister of Tourism and Victor Pizarro, CEO of Berry Whale. Conversely, the occasion included the presence of different personalities associated with the tourism industry of the participating destinations.
The program’s main agenda included:
– A presentation of the tourist municipalities associations’ background
– A round table outlining best municipal practices where various destinations contrasted their successful management processes.
– “Federal Discussion Table”, where representatives from different destinations debated the development of tourism
On the first day the role of promoting associativism between Argentina’s tourist municipalities was discussed by Pablo Sgubiri.
The importance of the exchange of experiences and lessons, and the sharing of this knowledge in the administration of the country’s land resources.
During the course of the local best practices forum, the case of Villa La Angostura (province of Neuquen) was presented by Pablo Bruni, who discussed the town’s experience eradicating both, an environmental and socio-economic crisis while positioning itself as a destination par excellence.
The next dissertation was given by the representatives of “Esteros de Iberá” region, who presented the benefits and difficulties they faced during the area’s redevelopment, setting aside the practices of poaching and collecting of skins and hides to focus on its ecotourism potential. The locality of Carlos Pelegrini shared its expertise in the watching of various species and preservation of its ecosystem as a differentiating factor. The exhibit was complemented with the vision of another of the already consolidated destinations, Ituzaingo.
The third exchange was from Carlos Paz, one of the country’s most relevant touristic centers. Its delegates put forward their background in their managerial experience, as well as the destination’s marketing strategies and the sustained promotion and advocacy a municipality must undergo to guarantee a sustainable flux of tourists.
The first day ended with a panel entitled “The new national tourism calendar”, and a debate about the importance of maintaining economic growth during low travel seasons and the distribution of the demand for tourism services throughout the year. Also, the need of consolidating a networked workplace amongst the country’s tourist municipalities.
Throughout the second day several dissertations took place dealing with the subject of land management and the challenge of administering tourism resources took places. There was also a segment about digital marketing and the exploitation of social media in the tourism industry.
The day got off to a start with a teleconference offered by Berry Whale CEO Victor Pizarro. Pizarro analyzed myriad tools and social media channels used by the tourism industry, as is the case of Wikipedia, Google Maps, Facebook, TripAdvisor, Foursquare, Twitter, and others. Lastly, the shared responsibility between local authorities in the positioning and visibility of their respective destinations was discussed; in doing so, case studies taken from destinations throughout the globe were taken into consideration.
Red Federal de Turismo’s Pablo Sguibini took the podium again, initiating a dialogue where he contrasted demographic, energy and waste indicators, as well as offered an analysis of the supply and demand (of tourism-related products), average tourist spend and total revenues of Santa Rosa de Calamuchita and El Chaelten municipalities.
Malargue offered its perspective for a strategic growth plan for the region, outlining the genesis, development and implementation of such an incentive, along with a continuously updated participatory tourism plan. Oscar Gonzalez, Secretary of Tourism, explained how the locality has stepped back from oil exploration activities to become an important tourist destination on the basis of a decisive political move and demonstrated technical know-how.
The municipalities from the valley regions of Jujuy province conferred their experience with third-sector activities among the area’s 10 municipalities who took on the challenge of integrating and complementing their offers and event calendars to promote themselves as a comprehensive destination. The presentation was in charge of Ramon Aisama, San Salvador de Jujuy’s Secretary of Tourism, Victor Navarro, Secretary of Tourism and Education in the municipality of El Carmen and Dario Zambrano, Secretary of Tourism and Culture for the community of San Antonio.
Rodolfo Antonelli, Secretary of Tourism of the city of Salta spoke of the evolution and the positioning efforts en force by the destination, which has converted the city into a comprehensive case study for its tourism management strategies and becoming the most chosen destinations in the country.
The municipality of Parana (located in Entre Rios) and city of Santa Fe were responsible for the closing remarks of the «acceptable tourism management practices» forum. These two Argentine capital cities, united by a subfluvial tunnel, began working together with the slogan “Two cities, one destination” in order to offer and promote their attractions as a unique product. Carlos Monti, Parana’s Tourism Secretary and Claudia Neil, Deputy Secretary of Tourism for the city of Santa Fe unveiled how the project intends to deepen the ties in different types of activities, such as training, save resources, promote shared cultural, institutional and tourism actions, thus creating a novel and original experience of two capital cities working alongside.
Finally, the second day of the event ended with these debates: destination management and the public-private partnership, and a work session to determine the steps needed to give continuity to the efforts undertaken by the tourism municipality network.
The municipalities and communes that came together in Santa Rosa de Calamuchta, in the province of Cordoba, prioritized working together as its main objective, exchanging good practices guidelines, projects and ordinances with the purpose of deepening their knowledge to improve their local tourism management potential.