The company celebrates a good 2022 and remains cautiously optimistic for the following year.
Assist Card arrived at the FIT with a great stand, news, products and high expectations. The brand maintains that it is essential to support the tourism sector in its recovery after two years of border closures, travel recession and others, which is why they maintain agreements and seek to adapt to the new needs of passengers. We interviewed Mauricio Valaccio, International Commercial Director of Assist Card and these are his answers.
A few months from the end of 2022 and with notable growth compared to the previous one, how do you feel the year was for you?
For us, and I think for tourism in general, this was a very good year, with very significant growth in sales, clearly a product of the fact that during these two years people were unable to travel and with the releases this year we had almost three seasons in one; that is very positive. Regardless of the fact that there are fewer flights, fewer frequencies and fewer passengers, people became aware that when traveling they do need services such as the Assist Card, there are even countries that require them as an entry requirement, and that made there be more awareness about the importance of traveler assistance, something that impacted us in that we are selling very well.
Today in the national market there is a very important growth, but also in the international one, there are many people traveling to all parts of the world within the frequencies that exist, which imply 40 percent less than before the pandemic, but the flights by For example, in Argentina they are leaving practically full to all destinations and there is a very important growth. Hopefully the country accompanies and this continues for 2023, which is our expectation. Today we have agreements with several airlines, such as Aerolineas Argentinas, where we have special rates and others; and we are open to agreements with all parts of tourism, we want to support tourism in its recovery.
After the pandemic new needs arose, how was Assist Card adapted?
We present products adapted to new needs. Although our assistance covers any complication due to covid, we have a product called covid extra, which is in case a relative who is not in the country has covid, you have to cancel the trip and quarantine in hotels; we cover that situation in which, although the person is not suffering from the disease, they cannot travel anyway.
We also put out a $3 million assist spending cap product, as people order more and more products on the Assist Card. In addition to these novelties, there is all our infrastructure and everything that the Assist Card mobile apps imply to attend anywhere in the world, as well as videoconferences with doctors: today the passenger can request a medical consultation from anywhere in the world in minutes to know if it is really necessary to go to a clinic or you can continue with your trip.
Let's say that we have taken advantage of this time to update our technology in pursuit of the client and the passenger.
How do you see the future of the market?
I think that 2023 will be a tough year, especially for Argentina, let's not forget that it is an election year. In the middle of the year we will be waiting for the elections and that may take a few months. We also depend a lot on economic policies, inflation, the dollar... all of that makes Argentina a difficult market, but we have a lot of faith that we are going to do well and we have high expectations of having a very good 2023.