The Faustini family has owned and operated a travel agency in Montreal since the mid 1960s. After learning about the travel industry at their father’s knee, the three Faustini brothers now run Med specialist Preference Vacations. What’s new for 2017? Customizable FIT Portugal, says VP Ennio Faustini in this edition of Friday 5.
1. Can you tell us about Preference Vacations’ new Portugal product?
“We have been selling groups to Portugal for several years, therefore adding services and products for individual clients was a natural fit. Once Portugal emerged from the financial crisis we noticed the interest for tourism to Portugal was rapidly rising and felt the timing was right. Regarding the products, while we offer a few escorted bus tours, our strength is customized travel. We therefore offer a complete array of services and products such as; hotels, vacations rentals, farm stays, beach resorts, bus tours, car rentals, transfers, city tours, boat excursions and flights.”
2. Preference Vacations is a Mediterranean specialist with product in top destinations like Spain, Italy, Croatia and Greece. What do you offer travellers who want something different from standard sightseeing?
“We introduced a new foodie package in Paros, Greece which combines touring the island with cooking lessons, food and wine. Our four-night package ‘Charm and Tastes of Como’ is a new romantic experience in Northern Italy. We also have packages for active travellers looking for hiking and cycling as well. We also offer many private tours, exclusive wine tastings, weddings, private cycling tours, private yachts to sail the Greek Islands and much more.”
3. With all the challenges last year in Europe, were Med destinations seen as ‘save havens’?
“Despite the fact that the Mediterranean was also affected by the events in France and Brussels, the perception of the Canadian traveller is that the Mediterranean is still one of the safest regions to visit, and we concur. The number of passengers we booked to Europe in 2016 versus 2015 seems to confirm this perception.”
4. Preference Vacations has been in business since 2000, however the company’s roots in the travel industry go way back. What is your family’s history in the travel industry?
“Our father began as a retail agent in 1965 and he taught us (his three sons) about the business at a very young age. In 1980 we were founding partners of Auratours, an outbound European tour operator which also operated a charter flight to Rome from Montreal for 12 years, until it was sold to Nolitours (Transat Group) in 1996. Although the travel industry has changed in the last 20 years, our passion to create and deliver fantastic travel experiences has not.”
5. What’s your own favourite vacation spot in the Med?
“The contrast of blue sea, white houses and volcanic mountains makes Santorini one of my favourite vacation spots. When in Santorini I enjoy reading a book on a terrace overlooking the sea and having a cocktail in Oia while watching the sunset and having dinner at a cliffside restaurant.”