In this context, Travel2latam spoke with Ignacio Curbelo, General Director of the Ministry of Tourism of the Eastern Republic of Uruguay,
How has Uruguay's participation in the Motivation Luxury Summit been and what is the situation of tourism promotion in terms of the MICE segment?
It is the third opportunity that we have attended this event, first in Costa Rica and then in Chile, it was quite an experience from the beginning, and we bet on it because Uruguay really has high quality products to offer to this segment of luxury tourism that It has already given us its results because in previous editions private operators who accompanied us on this occasion and have also accompanied us in the previous two editions have been able to sell their services to this type of luxury tourist.
Uruguay has a series of conditions at a general level as a country and also specifically in terms of luxury tourism that is really very attractive, and we always seek to generate some instance, a creative and innovative presentation because many of the people who come to visit us Sometimes they don't even know where Uruguay is located on the map and in this way we manage to draw attention. Last year with a sound experience and this year with an experience of artificial intelligence or virtual reality with state-of-the-art eye oculus created by Meta in which the visitor gets on a bicycle, puts on those oculus and lives a visual and sound experience in which you arrive at the airport of our country and begin pedaling along the Rambla de Montevideo over the Río de la Plata, which is truly beautiful, with different historical monuments, to continue walking through the Colonia del Sacramento, through Punta del Este; its peninsula, its Port, the Museum of Contemporary Art. So everyone has been very surprised by this new way of getting to know Uruguay and the feedback we have had is that they want to come see us and that's what it's all about.
Which destinations have advanced the most in the MICE segment and which ones need more progress according to your vision?
MICE includes different products; basically congress tourism and incentive tourism, which is what we are dealing with here in this edition of the Motivation Luxury Summit. Uruguay has grown a lot in terms of conference tourism, we have had really important conferences. The main destinations in terms of conference tourism, mainly due to infrastructure, are obviously our capital Montevideo and Punta del Este, which have complexes that can accommodate many people and at the same time hold those large conferences with a level of technology in terms of which is the whole audiovisual issue, translations, etc. Cologne has also positioned itself as a destination for conference tourism. Uruguay has a special policy to attract congress tourism, including exonerating VAT, Value Added Tax of 22%, which is a very important benefit when comparing budgets in one country or another to hold the congresses. Salto also has its possibilities, in fact we are now doing Termatalia, a worldwide fair that brings together the entire thermal industry.
Uruguay, as we all know, has wonderful hot springs and that is also very important for the departments that have hot springs, Salto and Paysandú, and to also promote the country. And incentive tourism, with that type of public that seeks luxury products, we have in many parts of the country, because although it is in Punta del Este, José Ignacio and a number of inns and boutique hotels with all the services of high quality that they offer, also throughout the interior of the country there are rural ranches and different establishments such as inns that allow incentive groups that are looking for what today has to offer to be accommodated and received with high quality standards. This is nature, clean air, a crystal clear sky with many stars, short distances, without crowds, and that is what you are looking for.
How is the promotion year going for you?
It is still hectic, there are a number of activities and events that the Ministry attends. The ministry team headed by Tabaré Viera, is divided to be able to cover different events in which we consider that Uruguay has to be, both internationally and nationally, for example the National Director tours the entire country permanently, the Minister, Of course, he attends the most important events, the Vice Minister attends some events such as cruise ships, which are very important for our country and there has been a record for the last 10 years of cruise ship arrivals in Uruguay, both in Montevideo and Punta del Este. , and for my part this luxury event also focused on congresses and links with the World Tourism Organization, which will be held this year in the department of Rocha in La Paloma. So there are very busy times ahead but we are happy to be promoting Uruguay and working for the country.
What is the outlook and planning for the summer season?
Our tourism is basically regional, most of our tourists are Argentine, so in some way the situation in the country and the exchange rate difference is something that affects us. In any case, there is a very loyal public that continues to bet and come to Uruguay for the high quality and services it offers. And we have worked a lot during this time in Brazil, which is the second market in number of visitors, but we believe that it has much more potential and many actions, workshops, fairs were carried out, and the results have been seen because the numbers do not indicate and more Brazilian public has come. Also internationally, there are more and more people from Europe, the United States, and Canada who come to Uruguay for one reason or another and fall in love with the place, then return or even invest and buy a small property.