In the context of this renowned event, Travel2latam had the opportunity to talk with Sebastian Bras Harriott, Country Manager of ASSIST CARD.
What was Assist Card's participation in the FIT?
It is a pleasure to be here again after several consecutive years participating; The company is about to turn 52 years old and for us it is a pleasure to be together with the travel agents who historically are and will be our strategic allies, along with the entire trade of travel agencies that have given us their support to develop our products. , and the reality is that after 52 years it is always a party to have our Stand as a point of contact with all our clients.
How many Assist Card representatives are currently attending the event?
At Assist Card Argentina we have 426 employees and here there are between 30 or 40, largely belonging to the service and commerce sector, but part of the team also came from Rosario, Córdoba and Mendoza where we have our own physical branches.
Outside of the event, how do you perceive this year and this last remaining quarter?
We are generally closing a very good year, we come from the pandemic where it was very particular for the tourism industry throughout the world, because there was a closure of the tourism world, but this year we are already growing approximately 20% in trade. Agencies compared to 2022, speaking of year-on-year figures. In the case of October, November and December we are optimistic beyond the specific uncertainty that may exist in Argentina, and we hope to close with the same level of growth of 20% compared to last year.
What is the plan you have in mind for 2024?
For 2024 we are projecting 10% growth, we are optimistic but we understand that there are two curves specifically in 2024, one may be associated with the first semester where there may be some type of uncertainty due to some measures that may be taken with respect to tourism, but We understand that the curve may adjust and that we may have a second semester that compensates for the first. Furthermore, we expect, from a fiscal point of view, growth in the order of 10%, and basically the budget and the projections that we are making have to do with 4% or 5% of the Argentine population that has unfailingly, in recent times, more Beyond the ups and downs that the country may have, you have the possibility of traveling. According to INDEC figures, we are talking about between two and two and a half million tourists or potential tourists,
Speaking of growth, what are the milestones or news coming to Assist Card in the last months of the year?
We have two big news, one has to do with a new branding plan that we have from the point of view of branches; Today the company here in Argentina has seven of its own branches, several in Buenos Aires, such as in Ezeiza, we also have in the city of Córdoba, in Rosario and in Mendoza and also the Mendoza airport, but we are doing a rebranding and inaugurating new offices in the city of Rosario. We are already with the work, basically we are going to move an office from a second floor to the ground floor and the street with a 300 square meter branch, there we are going to put a meeting room for the entire Agency Trade as a contact point for meetings , and we are also remodeling our branch here in the city of Buenos Aires, in fact on October 1st the work began, which will last 60 days.
So, we are going to be turning more to the streets to be closer to our customers from a marketing point of view, and from a product point of view, the news is related to the fact that we are increasingly selling products with greater global maximum amounts. assistance, that is, more robust products. The demand comes specifically from our strategic allies in the travel agencies and from clients who are demanding that we travel with broader coverage to travel more peacefully, since medical costs in some countries are very high.
Does the airport's participation that you propose have to do with the fact that there are a large number of people who decide at the last minute to take out insurance?
Ultimately it has to do with the fact that Assist Card, together with strategic allies, is not being able to hit the right note for those people who arrive at the airport at the last minute and make purchases. And yes, the reality is that today the percentage of sales at airports is around 5% or 6%, and it is quite high considering that before we were not able to sell to those customers, so we inevitably have an opportunity to work there. together with our allies and with the agency trade.