Delegate Spotlight: Diego Lofeudo

20 May

Name: Diego Lofeudo
Title: Director of Market Management, Eastern Mediterranean and Africa
Organization: Expedia
Location: Madrid, Spain

Q: Why did you come to the Congress?
A: To raise and voice concerns about Internet and e-commerce. Working with ATA is perfect for us, so we are planting the seed. We need to educate and raise awareness and grow the business beyond the “usual suspects,” like South Africa and Egypt. We are bringing in feeder markets to come to Africa because they have [Internet] platforms and do their shopping online, so we want to put Africa on the Internet map.

Q: What is your main goal for the Congress?
A: Networking, networking, networking.

Q: What are some of the challenges you face when trying to bring people to Africa?
A: Education, access to infrastructure, legislation for credit cards, bank transfers, fees… Planting the seed is key and the biggest challenge is trying to change the hotel industry’s mind. Trading in the online marketplace is something they’re not used to doing.

Q: What are some of the trends you are seeing?
A: People are eager for understanding, and the desire to learn is huge. Every time I travel back home from Africa, I am exhausted because people are so eager to learn, so I try to explain to them the benefits of having an Internet platform for transactions.

Q: What tools are necessary to capitalize on these trends?
A: Education about the Internet. We hold e-commerce seminars to teach people about transacting online. For example, we want to help hotels interact online with tour operators and tourist boards. Word of mouth is huge. We have pioneers who are willing to be the first to sell their products on the Internet, so when it is successful, they tell their friends.

Posted by Chi Lo

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