Interviewing Turiart – Spanish SME in the tourism sector
Here we bring you the interview that we conducted with Marta Templado, owner of Turiart – an SME based in Valencia (Spain), regarding her collaboration, from March to May 2021, with Claudio Cristofori, owner of Jabalito & Karma (Bolonia, Italy):
– Tell us a bit about your company (services, sector, and projects) and your professional path.
I am the owner of Turiart, which is a travel agency and a small private company based in València, that offers cultural, family and agricultural tourism services in the Valencian Community for more than 20 years.
– Why did you decide to participate in MobiliseSME?
Due to the pandemic caused by the COVID-19 that led to a serious crisis for my company, I thought of looking for an opportunity to invest in the future by looking for clients abroad. In this sense, I found the MobiliseSME programme very interesting and appropriate for these complex times in which the tourism sector and my company are immersed.
– How did you find out about the programme?
I heard about the MobiliseSME programme in Valencia by Fundación Equipo Humano (as co-coordinators of the programme and as one of the Local Contact Points), with whom we have been collaborating for several years.
– Describe the matchmaking process and the preparation of activities with the Sending Company (SC). How did the process go? Did you know each other previously? In case of an affirmative response, in which projects have you collaborated before?
The latest collaboration with Claudio Cristofori from the Italian travel agency Jabalito & Karma Viaggi arose from my previous stay in Bologna, as well as from the good relationships we established with many counterparts, with whom we are already working organizing trips based on the twinning of the cities of València and Bologna. For example, meetings with women managers and entrepreneurs from València and Bologna, or meetings with musicians or cookery students.
My previous stay in Bologna has greatly facilitated Claudio’s activity plan during his stay in my company Turiart.
– How did the collaboration with the SC / the seconded person contribute to your company? Please, mention the main results and benefits obtained after the collaboration (new services, projects, knowledge, contacts, skills, business lines or similar).
The work and collaboration between Claudio’s company and mine has been very interesting, because we have been able to better understand the demands of potential clients from both countries, as well as their preferences and the type of tourist product they are looking for.
These business relationships have been very useful since in any service company human relations are essential, and we have had many opportunities to meet a lot of people from different professional fields, who have brought knowledge, new perspectives and experiences to our way of doing things.
On the other hand, there are customs about time and gastronomic preferences that are very important to take into account, in order to serve tourists properly. In this case, Claudio informed us what is more attractive or interesting to be able to sell more easily. In this respect, learning Spanish and Italian is essential to establish good business relationships, so I decided to improve my Italian language skills by enrolling in a course while working with Claudio.
Also, in the context of the pandemic and the limitations that it entails, Claudio and I have thought of giving a twist to our guided tours (which are one of our main services), carrying them out online.
Another highlight of our activities during this period has been the meetings we have held with key contacts in our sector. For example, the meeting with the Proloco Castel San Pietro Terme in Regione Emilia-Romagna, in order to share our interest in cultural tourism and agritourism, making the collaboration increasingly fruitful; the professional meeting with Guide d’Arte Bologna; or the visit to Parma airport in order to look for new air connections between València and Bologna.
In addition, we had the opportunity to share our experience in MobiliseSME on the Valencian television channel À Punt Mèdia, as well as to attend the International Tourism Fair (FITUR), held in Madrid.
Of course, we have also been able to organise several excursions during this period, always keeping safety measures in mind, demonstrating that culture is, and can be, safe.
– Do you plan to collaborate with the SC after this experience? If yes, how so? (Development of products and services, projects within the sector, knowledge transfer, new business lines, market research activities…).
Of course, we plan to continue our collaboration beyond our participation in MobiliseSME, because we have realised how many synergies are created by working together. Moreover, in a sector as affected by this health and economic crisis as the tourism sector, being able to collaborate with SMEs from other parts of Europe and build projects together can literally be the salvation for your tourism business.
During our participation period, we have already been able to invoice both services thanks to the programme. As an example of this, we have the first event that we organised during this period (January-May 2021), which was the online meeting “Entrepreneur and professional women in times of COVID”, held between female entrepreneurs and professionals and sponsored by the Valencian City Council, on the occasion of the 40th anniversary of the twinning between València and Bologna. During the meeting, the president of EVAP/BPW Valencia and the associates shared successful practices applied in their SMEs during the COVID pandemic.
In connection with the organisation of activities around the twinning of the two cities, we are translating some books from Italian into Spanish.
Finally, we already have a planned travel schedule that we will begin as soon as it is possible to travel without restrictions and there is more health security. We are confident that it will be soon and that we will finally be able to fully provide our services.
Marta and her company Turiart are a clear example of a Host Company that has participated in a very satisfactory way and has made the most of MobiliseSME programme.
If you want to become the protagonist of the next successful collaboration between European SMEs, contact our Local Contact Points and do not miss this great opportunity!