“Be bold and creative”, that’s the advice of the new President of the Association of Travel Agents of Cape Verde (AAVT-CV), Mario Sanches, for young people who want to make their mark in the travel industry.
Amadeus sat down with Mr. Sanches to ask him about his views of the travel industry in Cape Verde:
How do you feel that AAVT-CV is making a difference in the travel industry in Cape Verde?
As far as our new management is concerned, it’s clear we are only starting our journey and this, within a difficult and unusual environment.
Never before have we faced so many challenges in our region as a result of factors beyond our control. Most notably, these are related to the lack of competition with regards to domestic flights and international flights by our national carrier, which have an impact on the cost of flights.
Our initial focus will be to work with the authorities and other stakeholders to find solutions that resolve current challenges in our market.
According to press reports, AAVT-CV’s new management intends to transform travel agencies into tourism agencies. Could you elaborate on why this is important?
The travel industry is highly competitive and, at the same time, very volatile in the sense that the industry is influenced by many external factors. Many of these are actually external factors imposed by destinations. This is why it’s so important for travel agents to diversify and expand their offering.
By their very nature, travel agents are “entry ports” or, better still, promoters and sellers of destinations, in this particular case Cape Verde. Why, as travel agents, should we not embrace this role and add tourism to our portfolio? Not only will this increase the profits of travel agencies, but they’ll also enjoy the status of an agency that promotes domestic and inbound tourism to Cape Verde.
This is why we intend to support our members along this journey, which will only be possible if we improve the quality of our services and our skills. We are committed to training our staff with this objective in mind.
What are your plans for the future when it comes to the travel industry in Cape Verde?
We intend to increase our membership and expand the influence of AAVTCV so that, at the end of our term, we have achieved positive outcomes for our members. We owe this to our members, who believe we can achieve this goal.
It is fair to say, however, that our management has inherited a credible and consolidated Association with 18 years’ of history.
The association has contributed to strengthening Cape Verde’s travel industry and what is needed now, is to strengthen and improve where we can. The consolidation of the travel industry, as with any other industry, will always be a continuous process.
What are some of the trends and developments we can expect for Cape Verde’s travel industry?
Something we should see in the future is an increase in domestic tourism, as part of the necessary evolution of our travel agencies becoming tourism agencies. This includes creating packages for inbound tourists who want to discover other destinations in our archipelago.
We have to go beyond the “Ten Islands, Ten Destinations” slogan. With a better-developed air and sea network, we could also include Santa Luzia in our offering. How many people have the opportunity to visit an uninhabited island in their lives?
But again, I am referring to something that goes beyond the influence of travel agencies. Most of the services, modernisation, increased access, and cost reductions within a competitive environment, have little or nothing to do with us. But we have to work together to diversify our tourism offering. This, including the creation or potential of routes and cultural events, contributes to creating tourism product.
Our members need to diversify their partnerships and identify new domestic and international destinations because Cape Verdeans also travel abroad.
Much has been said about increasing foreign arrivals to the one million tourist mark. To get there; we will have to transform Destination Cape Verde into much more than sun and beach. Diversification and quality have to be the order of the day.
Do you have any advice for young people who want to make their mark in the local travel industry?
Be bold and creative! These two character traits go hand-in-hand and will ensure the quality of your service as your calling card for customers.
There is no magic formula for any career you pursue. Although it might seem contradictory to what I have already mentioned, consultants also need to be pragmatic and realistic. They need to be able to adapt to the reality around them.
So, be bold but take calculated risks and be knowledgeable about the industry and the market.
Amadeus was recently awarded by AAVT-CV, which was a great honour for us. Could you tell us a bit more about the history of these awards?
Travel and tourism agencies in Cape Verde have close relationships with different entities in the tourism industry: from airlines to government institutions, hotels and the GDS.
This year, AAVT-CV celebrated its 18th birthday. We recognise that these different institutions help us grow, which is why the association’s former management wanted to celebrate this milestone by rewarding such institutions, including Amadeus.
How do you see the collaboration with Amadeus evolve in the future?
Amadeus is an important partner for the region’s travel agencies. That is why we welcome stronger collaboration with Amadeus. We feel we are moving beyond the confines of dialogue and partnerships to achieve true collaboration.