If in 2019 the Teresa Perez Tours agency, which focuses on luxury tourism, earned more than R $ 500 million, in 2020 the result was not even disclosed. For obvious reasons, it was disheartening. But the company’s CEO, Tomás Perez, is optimistic. No wonder, in early March, he announced the launch of a second agency, TP Corporate. Created in partnership with LTN Brasil, the novelty is focused on travel by executives who belong to the so-called C-Level and need to pack even with the pandemic still far from the end – we talk about CEOs, CFOs and the company. In short, TP Corporate stands ready to facilitate international travel, which is increasingly unpredictable and complex due to the new coronavirus. Read the interview that Perez gave to Casual Exam. He reveals the most sought after destinations in recent months by his wealthy clientele, points out the trends imposed on the sector by Sars-coV-2 and talks about how the Brazilian is being seen abroad.
Is your money safe? Learn how to protect your assets
What trends has the pandemic brought to the luxury travel market?
That it brought trends is clear, I just don’t know if they will all continue when the game turns. Those traveling on business tend to take their family with them to spend more time with them. Families are much more integrated. And nowadays you can work from anywhere, especially if you are an executive. I also think that people will stay longer in places. Before, you traveled for fifteen days, divided between five cities. This was already decreasing and now it has decreased much more. People want to stay and enjoy. Another thing that became clear is the greater demand for destinations in the midst of nature. Many restaurants, museums, etc. prefer big cities. Which have become more restricted and have been replaced by distant destinations, in which it is easier to stay out in the open. Many customers said they were surprised by destinations in Brazil that they met during the pandemic. “It wasn’t for my profile, but I was happy to meet,” I heard them say. I just don’t know if they will return when normalcy is resumed.
What were the most sought after destinations since the pandemic began?
Due to this variant of the new coronavirus in Manaus, which the world understands as “the Brazilian variant”, the world has closed even more doors for us. One of the destinations that has remained open to Brazilians since November is the Maldives Islands. A client of ours has been there five times since the beginning of the Pandemic. There are a multitude of hotels there even considering the luxury market. It is for those who like the beach and allows a mix of work and fun. The Caribbean closed itself to us. Before you could visit some islands, although without air access – going to the United States to get a connection is no longer possible. Mexico also remained, where a large number of people went, to enjoy the country’s beaches. Other popular international destinations were Egypt and, to a lesser extent, Tanzania, due to the Serengeti National Park, known for crossing wildebeests and zebras. Until the end of the year, before it closed again to us, Turkey was also in high demand. It changes all the time.
And within Brazil?
Traveling through Brazil saved us. We always sell them, but historically in small quantities. International alternatives are now few. Amazonas was in high demand before the crisis in Manaus. In general, ecotourism is very successful, as are the beaches along the coast. Pantanal, a destination that did not cross many people’s minds, ended up standing out. Brazilians are traveling around the country a lot. The problem is that they can exchange it for international destinations as soon as international tourism is normalized. And the gringos don’t come back anytime soon.
When do you believe the sector will take off again?
What will determine a radical change is vaccination, but being late … I am not an expert on the subject, but I read a lot about it, because it directly affects my business. What I do know is that Brazil’s capacity to produce vaccines is very high, the problem now is the lack of inputs. That said, I think international travel will continue to be timid in the second half. Mainly because many doors will remain closed to Brazil. But the chances of having a great scenario in 2022 are very high, because the population will already be almost entirely vaccinated, from here and from other destinations. Obviously we will continue to live with masks for some good years. At least inside airplanes and airports, where there will always be a large concentration of people from all corners.
Are you optimistic or pessimistic?
I’m optimistic. We are one of the few agencies that continued to invest in technology, digital, people and knowledge. Everything to be prepared for when tourism returns. It is a fact: everyone is crazy to travel, and not necessarily to destinations that are already open. Many people want to go to Europe, many people want to go to the United States or the Caribbean. American airlines are already scheduling more flights for late April and early May. You want to say something. They were not going to do this without a signal from the government. It must be because the United States is going to open due to vaccination.
Should vaccination passports become a reality?
I think so. Iata, the International Air Transport Association, is already producing hers. It is important that you leave an international body. It is who manages all the world rules of flights. It will make it easier. It will be entirely electronic, we will not need to show a paper. I heard of some countries in the Middle East that falsified all PCR. Presenting a paper in an unknown language is complicated. Some countries, such as those in South America, are expected to start demanding both the vaccination passport and the PCR. You can be sure, even more so for Brazilians. That is why we are discussing with laboratories the possibility of taking the exam for our customers in less time. It usually takes 72 hours, but perhaps governments will demand a 24-hour deadline. Or the same day. Only it is an exam that needs to go to the laboratory. We already want to solve a problem that may arise in a little while.
Should Brazilians, even the richest, suffer prejudice when traveling abroad due to the country’s disastrous management to stop the pandemic?
They already suffer. That’s what my acquaintances who live outside the country say. Unfortunately, the current image of Brazil is those piles of coffins, those photographs that say that everyone is dying around here. What image did we have of Italy in March last year? At the time, no one wanted to be around an Italian from there. I don’t know if this image of Brazil lasts for a long time. It is very bad these days. Because of us, some islands in the Caribbean came together and canceled the entry of any South American. Because they think Manaus has spread its variant to the whole region. It is like what happened with Ebola, in Africa. Tanzania had nothing to do with the disease, it did not even have a flight to the affected region. But everyone stopped traveling to the country. But nothing like time for people to forget. Chile is doing very well in vaccination, but has now closed. And it will take a long time to accept Brazilians.
And do foreign tourists ever return?
Traditional tourists maybe only when the pandemic is really eradicated in Brazil. When hospitals are quiet, contamination levels are extremely low. The foreigner who comes here to do something specific, like kitesurfing in the Northeast, can come back sooner. On the other hand, the real is completely devalued. It is very cheap to travel here, which can be a burden. Today, however, foreigners are expected to give priority to Peru and Chile, two major competitors from Brazil, now considered safer.