LATAM e-News – March 2018
Arturo García Rosa
President & Founder, SAHIC
Local or visitor?
In football terms, the question is clear: playing at home is something else.
“At home” we are the favorites, we know all the details, nooks and crannies and secrets of the place, the “trapos” (flags, banners, drums and some other “little toys” specially prepared for the occasion) are there at hand. If things go well, “we are all there”. If luck is a bit adverse or the weather is not good, “we are a few less”. But at home it’s something else, we have a good time and if the team wins, which we “don’t doubt” until reality tells us otherwise, all the better. If we lose, the shelter of friends, the house or the bar are all a good haven to quench our sorrows.
Playing as a visitor is something different.
You have to hire buses (or the plane if you have to travel a long distance and can afford it) to take both players and fans. When playing as local or visitor, fans complete the game. There’s nothing more cruel than playing a game behind closed doors. When you get to the big leagues, you play for the grandstand and if they are empty, or only with a few who managed to circumvent inconveniences and restrictions, we are overcome with great disquiet and a state of great frustration takes over both players and authorities. If you win as a visitor, you have the pleasure of defeating the locals in their own home but if you lose, the return is hard and especially endless. Why on earth have we made the effort to go there?
Because of my roots, in the environment of people who made football their greatest passion and which gave two of the greatest players in history, Maradona first and Messi later, I allow myself to use this metaphor in the belief that the passage of so many years in life and industry (for now I will reveal only those of the latter: this year they will be 41 in the industry, the others I keep for another time or leave them for the reader’s deduction) make that almost everything is forgiven to embryos of old people like me.
When we decided to launch SAHIC, back in the crest of the real estate wave that crushed almost together with the opening of its first edition, we had no doubt that playing local was something else. To such an extent that, thanks to fanaticism, we firmly stuck to stay local and we started in Buenos Aires despite the fact that by then, thanks to miles and miles on airplanes and accumulating year after year the highest category in at least two airlines (for Latin Americans, only one airline still does not cover all the needs to connect with the entire world), my Buenos Aires heart had adopted Latin America as its guardian.
With over 40 years in the industry, visiting first, participating more actively later and finally becoming one of its speakers has been a constant in the largest investment events in the industry: NYU, Berlin, Forum and many others.
In all of them, it was discussed in one way and another that the Latin America, Mexico or Brazil chapter and, depending on the waves, some other destinations in our region, had their place.
We, the Latin Americans, were encouraged to participate in those events trying to contact new players, mainly new investors. In short, that is what broadening the basis of what we have is about.
We have done it and we will continue to do it. The development of the hotel and tourism industry in Latin America must continue, and for this to happen it is necessary to promote our strengths, exhibit our opportunities and attract new players to join those who are already doing so.
The task of investment promotion is a long one and it requires a plan, a strategy and a set of actions, which includes playing as visitors and doing the best job in order to take advantage of the effort that this requires.
Playing as locals also implies efforts, but at home it’s something else, we have everything. As I said, “at home” we are the favorites, we know all the details, nooks and crannies and secrets of the place, “all the trapos” are there at hand.
That is why SAHIC was conceived as an investment promotion platform taking place in the region. We had no doubt that this was the way to facilitate bringing together local players and destinations and a conglomerate of important international players.
SAHIC South America already has 10 editions. One first edition in Cuba, the largest island in the Caribbean, and one first edition in Central America, Costa Rica, are just the beginning of a work which is renewed at the beginning of the second decade of SAHIC, a platform that allows us to play as locals to open up our destinations and opportunities to a large universe of international players who face the challenge of investing in a world that is changing at an ever-increasing rate, where once unpredictable markets like most of our own begin to become more and more reliable and stable than those that for years claimed from us what many of them seem hesitant to hold today.
All of us who make SAHIC are obliged to make this tool more and more current, more professional and more effective every day, and to make it available to the entire industry to support the largest investment promotion platform in the hotel and tourism industry in Latin America.
We are grateful for the constant support of all those who trust us year after year, event after event, enabling SAHIC to be a powerful tool for the development of tourism throughout the region.
At SAHIC, everyone wins, both locals and visitors.
See you soon, in one of the meetings of this year 2018.