Meet Adriano Lucchesi Through managing three different companies (tour operator, consultancy and marketing), Adriano had the privilege to travel on average, 6 months per year for the last 25 years. Before that, as a student, he was also committed to travel in all his free time. In 2020, he would have visited his 100th country during a trip to Central Asia, but his plans had to be postponed due to the pandemic.
How did you fall in love with travelling or start working within the industry as a career?
When I was 14 years old, instead of a graduation party at school I decided to backpack in Europe for 2 months. My mother thought I was on a tour group, but I was alone travelling by train. Not an easy trip at that age, but certainly my start as a traveller and the start of my future career! Some months later I told mum the truth and she promised I’d never travel again …
What kind of traveller are you?
I consider myself very lucky that I enjoy sleeping under the stars in a simple tent in Sudan as much as in the comfort of a luxury resort in Seychelles. My work gives me the opportunity to experience the wildest and simplest campsites and the most luxurious hotels – and everything in between. But what I really like is to travel overland.
Tell us about one of your most memorable trips/travel moments. Where and why?
Some of my memorable overland trips include Singapore – Rome (via Transiberian); Lahore – Kathmandu; Cairo – Istanbul; and Cairns – Adelaide – Darwin. These trips always involve a lot of planning and many unpredictable situations. But Cape Agulhas to Alexandria (my own version of Cape to Cairo) in 2015 was very special, considering my professional and personal connection to Africa. The moment I arrived at the Mediterranean in Alexandria was unforgettable.
What lessons have you learnt from your experience during COVID – both personally and in your business?
After 25 years of building, day by day, a serious reputation and a travel brand, I understood that some things are beyond our control. When we cannot do anything to change the situation, just keep strong and loyal to your beliefs. I also learned the bitter taste of cancelling a long-awaited trip to Central Asia and the Pamir Highway. It’s the first time I’ve had to cancel a trip in my life, but I’m confident the trip will happen soon.
How confident are you that the travel and tourism industry in Africa (especially South Africa) will survive & prosper over the next 2-3 years?
I am very concerned about the flight network in Southern Africa, especially the situation of South African Airways and the JNB hub. Not to mention that after 50 years there are no more regular direct flights between South America and South Africa – at least for the short term. SAA has always provided a reliable structure for our packages in Africa. I’m also concerned about the situation in northern Mozambique and how South Africa will wake up after the long months of hibernation.
What do we need to do to make sure that happens?
I will keep believing and working hard, but I hope governments can play their part as well.
Based on the five senses and thinking about travelling what do you…
Like to see: SAA flying again to Brazil.
Like to feel: The cold water of the Atlantic off Clifton 1st beach.
Like to hear: Good news.
Like to taste: Airplane food!
Like to smell: Anything without a mask!