Brazil is one of the most popular tourist spots in South America.
In 2019 alone, approximately 6.35 million international tourist tourists touched down in Brazil to languish in its beautiful sandy beaches and rich culture.
And this travel agency wants you to know that there is more to Brazil than its capital, Rio de Janeiro.
Carina Santos describes herself as a “Brazilian passionate about travels.” She fell in love with the travel industry as a child and studied Tourism at university.
After graduating, Santos gained a wealth of experience working in the sector in various roles before eventually setting up the Black Travelers agency in 2016 after a three-month trip to Europe.
The agency is based in Salvador de Bahia.
“The inspiration is my culture and the black people. I could open a travel agency to sell traditional packages to everyone, but it wouldn’t be me. I want to see more Black people enjoying their vacations with quality, safety and a sense of belonging when it comes to visiting Brazil,” Santos tells ShineMyCrown.
She says she wants her agency to be a ” reference of Black Travels in South America,” within the next five years.
Santos’ agency is run by a small team. Santos says she personally designs each trip and selects the experiences. She is also the first contact with the guests when they send an email.
“I like to call everyone to understand their ideas and feelings about Brazil before sending any itinerary. For the tours, I work with a group of certified tours guides and drivers, to lead the experiences on the ground,” she shares, adding that she also has a content producer that works on the company’s social media and e-books.
However, Covid-19 devasted pretty much every country on the globe, but Brazil was one of the hardest hit. For some, the pandemic has meant bo bookings and no income. However, over the past couple of months, cases have declined in the country and more than half of Brazil’s population has been fully vaccinated. Tourist spots are readying themselves for a projected uptick in bookings.
“I am a very optimistic person. The [pandemic] has made me stop doing the same things [in] business, as I didn’t get any guests from March 2020 to December 2020,” she explains. “I had enough time to reshape experiences, partnerships and marketing strategies. It has been a challenging time, but I took it as a lesson learned for future crises we may face again.”
Salvador de Bahia is the first capital of Brazil. The city, which overlooks the coast, boasts many breathtaking Renaissance buildings but is best loved for its brightly colored houses, often-times adorned with elegant stucco-work.
“Salvador Bahia is a big city. There are many things to do such as urban activities, cultural tours, music festivals, carnival, food experiences, boat rides, beaches plus, it’s where we have the African Heritage most preserved in the country,” says Santos. “So, if you want to learn about Brazil’s Black History, you must come to Salvador instead of Rio. Rio is wonderful, but the history of Black people there is so hidden that many travel agencies even don’t know the Little Africa Region in the Port Zone… In Salvador you feel you are in a Black City, a beautiful one.”