Hi Luciana! Could you introduce yourself and tell us where your passion for tourism comes from?
I am a tourist guide, born and raised in the city of Rio de Janeiro. My passion for tourism comes from childhood when I went to the Club Med resort with my parents. Since then I decided to work in tourism.
After becoming an adult I worked as a G.O in Club Med and I joined the tourist trade.
I became a tour guide and today I am an entrepreneur and City Manager of the first Strawberry Tours franchise.
What is your experience in the tourism industry in Rio de Janeiro and what have your learned from it?
I have ten years of experience as a tourism guide specializing in natural attractions, and six years as a cultural tourism guide in the city of Rio de Janeiro.
In those 16 years I learned that to work in tourism is to work in realizing dreams, and there is nothing more rewarding than this.
As a Rio local and tourism expert, what do you find to be the most exciting things about the city?
The most exciting things about the city is that we can find nature, history and culture in the same place, accessible to any tourist who will always be well received by local residents and tourism professionals.
What made you decide to become a Strawberry Tours franchise partner?
I decided to become a Strawberry Tours partner because it is a company concerned about establishing a responsible tourism system, and cares about the local people first. And also because it is a collaborative tourism company, a new business model that arrives through the concept of the shared economy. In my opinion, this is the future of the world tourism market.
What positive impacts do you think that Strawberry Tours will make on Rio’s tourism industry?
Strawberry Tours is bringing their work experience to Brazil and establishing a fair competition with other companies, which will certainly add and teach local initiatives on how to develop a responsible tourism system; which is very important for the sustainability of the tourism industry.
What can people expect to learn and experience if they join us on a tour?
Besides learning about the history, by going on our tours the tourist will also have the unique opportunity of experiencing the local culture in an informative and fun way - in addition to having the chance to contribute to a local charity project.
What does Strawberry Tours do to promote responsible and local tourism in Rio?
Whenever Strawberry Tours establishes a franchise, the company hires local managers and promotes a 10% promise system, where 10% of the contributions to the tourism guide will be donated to a local charity located in the favela Rocinha, the largest favela in Brazil.
What are the requirements local guides must meet in order to work for Strawberry Tours in Rio?
All the tour guides who work for Strawberry Tours must be accredited by the Ministry of Tourism with the number CADASTUR. They are all official professionals, able to guide the tourist in a safe and informative way. They are cultured, well-educated tour guides, always ready to please and entertain guests seeking fun and knowledge.
What are the tours offered in Rio and why are they unique and special?
For now we are offering three different tours: The Historical Centre Tour, which focuses on the history of Brazil and Rio de Janeiro. The Favela Tour Rocinha Tour, the first free walking tour in the largest favela in Brazil, and the Lapa By Night Tour, the first and only free pub crawl in the city which passes through the bohemian neighbourhood with the most exciting nightlife of all.
What do you enjoy most about working for Strawberry Tours?
With Strawberry Tours I have the opportunity to guide people from all over the world in one group, so I can get in touch with diverse cultures and enrich my work skills even more.
What message about Rio’s culture, life and charm do you intend to communicate to Strawberry Tours’ customers?
I intend to communicate to Strawberry Tours’ customers that with Strawberry Tours they will have a unique experience where they can learn and contribute, and meet new people from different cultures in a fun and instructive way. This will be unforgettable for anyone who agrees to become a member of Strawberry Tours’ worldwide family!
What makes a visit to Rio different from visiting other Brazilian nations?
The city of Rio de Janeiro was the capital of Brazil for many years. Here we can find the whole history of our country, besides a unique and exuberant nature. We are a city built between the sea and mountains, with a lot of natural beauty and historical patrimonies to be unveiled. We are the birth of samba and carnival, the scene of cultural diversity and miscegenation, the stage of the emergence of new religions and ethnicities. We are a mixture of all nations.
What would people be surprised to hear about Rio de Janeiro?
I think foreigners hear so many bad things about the lack of security in Rio de Janeiro that when they first arrive here, they are shocked by the exaggeration and sensationalism of the international media.
We have security problems like any major tourist city in the world; the tourist only needs to hire a tourist guide accredited by the Ministry of Tourism with CADASTUR number, and they don’t have to worry about anything.
As a tourism professional for more than 15 years, I can say that most of the tourists who go through security problems in Rio are without tour guides, or with irregular guides.
Describe Rio de Janeiro in three words.
The Marvelous City!