Travel & Tourism Awards 2021 Page 9 LUX 2021 Travel & Tourism Awards Discover Scandinavia Tours is a tour operator which focuses on showcasing the wonders of Scandinavia to travellers who want to really experience the unique countries of Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Finland and Iceland in a meaningful way. Discover Scandinavia Tours Best Northern Europe Leisure Tour Operator - North America Jan21476 By concentrating its efforts on just five countries, Discover Scandinavia Tours has positioned itself as a true expert in the region which, in turn, allows the firm to ensure that its bespoke itineraries flow seamlessly. All tours are customised according to the clients’ desires, however the team is always on hand to provide advice to clients on the ideal way of structuring their vacations, if needs be. It was back in 2011 that Marcelo Guimaraes visited the five Nordic capitals for the first time and instantly fell in love with the people, the culture, and the history of the region. In an effort to share his experiences with the world, he founded Discover Scandinavia Tours in 2013, and now seeks to combine the best elements of Northern Europe into memorable vacations of a lifetime. After a humble start, Marcelo and his dedicated team have now helped hundreds of travellers explore the exotic landscapes and meet the friendly people of Scandinavia, greatly enriching their lives in the process. “That’s our job!” Marcelo exclaims. “Creating the perfect experience for each client becomes a matter of blending the client’s wishes with the best “formulas” for discovering the Nordic Countries.” One of the company’s core values is the thoroughness of its approach, and something which Marcelo believes firmly sets Discover Scandinavia Tours aside from competitors. “When it comes to the experiences we offer our clients, we will never be obsessed enough about the details,” he explains. “This is vital to our success.” “We offer two things: expertise and peace of mind. Scandinavia is there for anyone who wants to experience it and it sells itself. What we offer, on the other hand, is unique.” Marcelo comes from a background in science and engineering, so structure and processes are of key importance to the company culture. Additionally, he makes a point of visiting Scandinavia multiple times each year, so that he can personally sit down with suppliers to learn about them and discover new regions for future products. “The products we offer are very complex in terms of logistics, so the number of opportunities for things to go wrong is very large. Therefore, we rely heavily in our processes and strict protocols for doing things. “We take tremendous pride in satisfying even our most demanding clients and reading/ hearing their words of joy once they return from their adventures.” The Covid-19 pandemic brought the travel industry to its knees, and this was felt very strongly by Marcelo and the team at Discover Scandinavia Tours. In addition to the severely reduced demand for travel Marcelo tells us that the biggest challenge has been to see so many of the firm’s suppliers go out of business or have to severely reduce their services. Many of these suppliers are small, family- owned businesses and are chosen carefully by Discover Scandinavia Tours for their warmth and passion that larger companies can’t offer, so it has been a struggle to see them suffer. “A big challenge for us now is to figure out how to offer the same ‘essence of excellence’ with all the changes that have taken place with our suppliers. We feel very optimistic, though, because our suppliers, just like ourselves, are eager to go through this necessary rebuilding process.” There has, however, been an unexpected benefit emerge from the pandemic. This being that many travellers are now favouring the quality and care that is typical of smaller operations, such as Marcelo and his firm, as opposed to much larger multi-national companies. Marcelo believes that this will, over time, naturally lead to an increase in his target market. Remaining optimistic about the future is something Marcelo is keen to do, and his motto for the year ahead is “adjustment and growth.” We are in the process of developing new programmes based on special interests and designed to take travellers through locations and experiences which are mostly enjoyed by locals only,” he says of his upcoming plans. “We are also increasing our portfolio of fully-escorted, very-small-group (12 pax maximum) tours, such as our ‘Be a Norwegian for 10-Days’ programme. “We will not be beaten, we will continue to move forward with doing what we love: ‘We Work – You Discover.’” Company: Discover Scandinavia Tours Website: Contact: Marcelo Guimaraes Email: [email protected]