Gerald Berra He has been in the business world since he was very young. To have founding experiences in China, Abu Dhabi and Spain, Berra went on to project its business in South America, in countries such as Mexico and Argentina. Although he worked mainly in the tourism sector as CEO of Felgueres, Berra projects a future of diversification: from construction to cinema and theater. Among his next projects, he has a luxury hotel in Bariloche with 80 rooms in which more than 15 million dollars will be invested. Berra chatted with profile.com about his plans for the future, what he finds unique about Argentina as a country to work in and why he continues to bet on the country.
– Tell us how was your start in business?
– After finishing college at Les Roches, where I studied at the China Shanghai and Marbella Spain locations, I had my first work experiences in China and then in Abu Dhabi in Formula 1 Marketing. I wanted to learn more about South America and I came to Argentina; That’s when I decided to open a tourism agency. The first year was difficult, but fortunately today I am already 6 years old and we have had quite a big growth. My first business was when I was 21 years old, with an investment of 5 thousand dollars, which I managed to consolidate and make a successful business.
– You have worked mainly in the tourism industry, what other businesses have you previously invested in? Would you like to diversify your investment?
– I currently have two fairly large tourism agencies where we move more than 5,000 passengers a year to luxury destinations and we expect to triple this year. However, I also have investments in real estate in different countries; I have enough land in Mexico where we do hydroponic cultivation of bell peppers for sale in the United States; I have investments in gastronomy and I am also about to produce a film in Argentina with a great cast of people prepared and with a long history in this country, for which I can say that I am venturing into the field. Previously I was also an investor in many plays. As of today, these are some of my businesses. However, I am growing a lot in agriculture and real estate building and buying in different parts of the world.
– Why Argentina?
– It is a country that received me very well, today I feel my home. As much as I can live in other countries, I decide to stay here, having offices in Mexico, Miami, etc. For me, Argentina is a unique country.
– What are the benefits and pleasant surprises that you have found? (Eg, the professionalism of the Argentines…)
– I am lucky to have come across very good, honest, hard-working, professional people. My entire circle and my work team is made up of admirable people, they are all part of my life beyond professional life. I have managed to have a great family.
– Do you have a long-term investment plan? Of how many years?
– I am working on a construction project and another receptive tourism project to publicize Argentina and bring tourists. They are very large projects that I will tell more about in the future, but it is an investment over approximately 15 years.
– What would be the annual investment amount for these new businesses? And for those already established?
– During the past year I invested more than 150 million pesos in new businesses and in tourism. For this year I have projected a growth of 150% and an approximate investment of 5 million dollars to enter the Brazilian tourism market and to continue with real estate.
– In which areas of these businesses would the main investment go?
– Today I could say that in tourism, real estate and commerce. We will also have a strong investment in the entertainment sector.
– In recent years you have seen business opportunities in very different industries. What makes you decide to invest in one item vs another?
– I have a great love for business, for what I do. I am looking for projects that demand me and can help me create new things, through which I can generate an impact on people or society.
– Your work with Turismo Felgueres is over 5 years old and continues to grow. What do you think has been the “secret” to being successful in an industry that is seasonal and has been hit hard by the pandemic?
– Innovate. I believe that we live in a moment where it is crucial to be able to innovate, we are not a travel agency, we are a corporation, we have a team of more than 50 specialists and thanks to a lot of work, we have managed to offer a superior service. Our complaint ratio is 1 passenger per 1,000.
– Is there something you think you can’t leave aside when starting a business?
– Seeking to generate an impact. It is important not to lose sight of the goal throughout the process, to be able to continue working seeking to improve the lives of others. If what you do is good for someone, I’m sure it will be good for you.
– Have you ever received any advice that changed your life?
– Yes, some time ago the vice president of W Hotels group told me that 6 months of your life working with your 100% you can do what anyone else does in 6 years.
– What is the most important thing to keep in mind when investing in Latin American countries?
– For me it is very important to create strategies according to geographical location, analyze competitive costs, human capital, the size and strength of the internal market, the country’s inflation and macroeconomic and political stability, in addition to the possibility of economic growth and the ability to produce advanced manufactures. All this represents information about growth at the country level that can affect or facilitate investment.
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