Meet another one of our first-time buyers to the show, Sergio Banales from Mac Travel in Uruguay. Sergio shares with us his mission to discover the individual stories that exist across the continent…

Tell us who you are and what your business is about?

I grew up in Montevideo living in a suburb the “savage way”.

Due to that, nothing and no one can stop me from doing anything I put my mind to. As an adult, I decided to start travelling around nearby countries and in 1973 I ended up in Sydney, where I studied and graduated in International Tourism learning tourism from the scientific point of view.

I had to find my own way to make a living, so I started working in a Travel Agency and later as an International Tour Operator. In 1986 I returned to Uruguay and after a short period of wandering around with a thick CV under my arm, I started working for somebody, but not long after that I was managing my own tour operator. Since then, and true to my style as a person, my Agency is profiled as one that specialises in exotic destinations; today our identity is pretty strong among travel agents who trust us to create the best itineraries for anything strange that clients ask for.

Sergio Banales

Who is your typical client travelling to Africa and what is their perception of the continent?

In Uruguay there is not much knowledge about Africa from the touristic point of view yet. Our population is pretty ignorant as far as history and culture around the world is concerned.

The strongest identification of the continent people have relates to the jungle, tribes and animals.

What region of Africa and supplier products are you looking to build your knowledge on through attending We Are Africa 2016?

As we have already been working with South Africa for more than 25 years, I am mainly looking for products that will enrich our offer of the African continent. Kenya, Tanzania, Ethiopia, Uganda, Namibia, Mozambique, etc. Products which will have offer a rich experience of culture, history, adventure, relaxation, beaches and various special interests.

What makes your company, or the people who work with you, different?

As I mentioned previously, Mac Travel specialises in exotic destination – and this profile personality gives us a clear, stand-out position in the market. Our staff is very capable and function at an expert level on operative matters.

We Are Africa’s ethos is ‘Not One Story’. Tell us your greatest story/experience of Africa.

Once I was in Kenya at the border of the Mara River, standing there completely distracted, until suddenly I turned back and on top of some rocks behind me was a crocodile, so quiet. My mates from the Massai community shouted at me not to move. I had to stay there in the same position for  almost half an hour, the crocodile would not move from his position and so I couldn’t escape. Thankfully, it then suddenly jumped to the water and I was so relieved!!!

Are you an African specialist buyer who stands apart from the crowd? If you’d like to join Sergio as part of the We Are Africa 2016 tribe, as either a buyer or exhibitor, send us your application and we’ll get back to you!


John Segar

We use cookies to improve your experience, by browsing this site you are agreeing to this. For more information, including how to disable these cookies, please see our privacy policy