Thursday, January 10, 2008

Preparing for South America: World Expert on South America Travel Shares His Expertise with Us

Ed and I have read and researched South America since 2005. Our Private Motor Coach, Inc. brochures featured a map including South America since Ed founded the company in 1999. My International Master of Business degree focused on South America. Yet, it was not until we met with a business colleague Norm Yelland this January that we were able to truly grasp the challenges and opportunities of taking Private Motor Coach, Inc. and our new company Global Tourism Solutions, Inc. to the South American market.

Norm knows what it is truly like to live and work in Central and South America. For the past 25 years, he has created the mile-by-mile log book to travel these regions. He has to lead caravans of RVs from Mexico to Panama. Ed accompanied Norm on one Central America trip traveling through Mexico to San Salvador. Norm has shipped RVs from US coastal ports to trek RV enthusiasts down the Pan American Highway of South America. Upon reaching Ushuaia, he then points his caravan north along coastal roads eventually heading inward to the Amazon. There the RVs are ferried to the interior and later shipped back to the USA sometimes from Caracas, Venezuela. Norm knows businessmen, tribal chiefs, police officials, and whoever it takes to travel the highways of the continent.

For five January days in Pharr, Texas Norm shared his expertise with us as we fired off questions: “Will our coach work in South America?” “Do we need a Carnet or Libreta du Paso?” “What about health care and vehicle insurance?” “What are our options for ports of entry?” Norm patiently answered each inquiry and stood in the bathroom corridor where our National Geographic map of South America is mounted on the closet doors. He pointed out cities to avoid because of thievery, safe ports to ship our coach, and “must see’’ places to visit.

Norm fed us no “BS” and gave us a cold water dose to help us see what we still need to do to be effective in the South American market. Plans are changing and evolving. We will need more time and further assessment to refine the possibilities and to get ready and GO!

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