Academy has vast experience working with international tour and travel clients both direct and through various types of agencies. The Newsroom sat down with Chris La Fauci, our expert in international tour and travel, and asked him 5 questions.
You specialize in the international travel market. What are you seeing for the remainder of 2014 and beginning of 2015?
The biggest trend that I’m seeing for the international market for the remainder of 2014 and beginning of 2015 is that most of the European markets are starting to rebound from each of their recessions. Some are recovering faster than others but they’re all recovering. That said, European citizens are regaining confidence about their jobs and income and are feeling better about spending their money on non-necessities such as 4 – 10 day vacation trips. The other trend that may affect international travel is the strengthening US dollar. It may not discourage international tourists from traveling to the US but it will affect the amount of money each person or family spends during their trips.
Academy recently expanded to Florida. How are your clients reacting to this news?
The reaction we have received about Academy’s expansion to Florida has been extremely positive. New York City, Las Vegas and Miami / Orlando are the top 3 destinations in the US. The majority of our international operators cater to inbound groups visiting each of these destinations. Their reaction to the news has been extremely positive for two reasons:
- They’re familiar with our high level of equipment and service that Academy Bus provides in the northeast and are looking forward to using a company like Academy in the south
- Academy is becoming more and more of a one-stop shopping vendor for groups that need coach transportation anywhere from Miami to Boston
Academy has been operating the 38 passenger Temsa Coach for some time. What feedback do you receive about the coach from your clients?
The majority of the feedback received about the 38 passenger Temsa is “Why don’t you have more in your fleet?” This bus type has become the most popular vehicle of all our bus types. The average group size of 75 – 100 passenger has decreased significantly since 2008. The average group size is now 25 – 35 passengers. The 38 passenger Temsa not only meets the perfect size requirements for these groups, it also suits their budget (which has also decreased since 2008). The Temsa’s suspension, look and feel all replicate that of a luxury motorcoach and our clients absolutely love them.
What market has seen the most growth recently?
The market that has been and continues to grow is without a doubt, Brazil. Brazil as a country that has gone through a great deal of changes over the last 10 years. Their economy, shrinking unemployment, development of middle class and lenient visa laws have all attributed to the drastic increase with the Brazilians ability to travel abroad (and domestically). At the moment, their economy has leveled off but will continue to have slight but steady growth up until (what experts predict) the Olympic games to be held in Brazil. Other markets that have shown recent growth are from Australia, Russia, Israel, India and China
When speaking to clients, what is the best selling point about Academy?
The best selling point that I am proud to use is Academy’s high level of safety, service and equipment. Academy’s operation and sales teams go to great lengths to ensure our passengers safety by following all local and state transportation laws, maintaining equipment, training drivers and making themselves available 24/7 to service our customers and clients whenever they need us.