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Foreign nations represented at the 2011 ILCT Show included Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, China, Colombia, France, Germany, Guatemala, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Portugal, Romania, Russia, South Africa, Spain,
Switzerland, Turkey, United Kingdom.
LAS VEGAS, Nev. — The international segment of the 2011 ILCT Show came out in full force as 25 different countries were represented by about 250 attendees, underscoring the growth of global networking and operations.
To encourage the growth of the industry and secure LCT as the industry’s only global brand, the magazine is creating this new department dedicated to the operators outside the U.S. The department will be called Global Operator.
The Show hosted a panel of operators from various foreign markets who discussed the key issues and dynamics in each of their markets.
Topics of importance included insurance coverage, chauffeur licensing/training, airport challenges, pricing structures and international payment, and cultural idiosyncrasies.
The panel, led by Scott Solombrino (Dav El Chauffeured Transportation Network, Boston), consisted of Dean De Beer (Tristar Worldwide Chauffeur Services, U.K.), Alexandre Alexe (Geneva VIP Activities, Switzerland), Frederick Busquets (Grup Limousine, Spain), Kris Korkian (Penguin Limousine Services, Australia), Andre Gama (ViaLandauto, Brazil), and Henry Yao (Beijing Limo, China).
Before sending clients to an international affiliate, companies should first understand each market’s insurance policies to ensure their clients’ safety and protection.
- U.K.: Insurance in London meets all U.S. requirements, including unlimited liability for injury.
- Spain: Coverage is €50 million ($69.79 million).
- Switzerland: Coverage is 3 million Swiss francs ($3.2 million)
- Brazil: Coverage is smaller; personal injury protection is only $15,000, so companies must have a policy covering their clients when traveling to Brazil.Australia: Coverage is minimum $10 million.
- China: Insurance covers about $50,000, so companies must make sure their insurance policy covers their clients.
Airport Challenges Clients Should Expect
The only reliable English-speaking drivers in each of the countries represented at the seminar are limousine chauffeurs. Henry Yao of China suggests requesting English-speaking drivers ahead of time. In Brazil and Spain, limousine chauffeurs are the only ground transportation providers that have bilingual, English-speaking drivers. Kris Korkian explained that in Australia, where English is the dominant language, issues arise when travelers choose taxi cabs because many drivers don’t speak English.
- U.K.: Clients can expect traffic. It may take some time to acclimate to the smaller car size. Cell phones may not work or get coverage in the airport area.
- Spain: Barcelona is easy and there are no hassles, but Madrid is a little more difficult. Overall, they are pretty much under control.
- Switzerland: The airports are small and the arrival times are not very reliable.
- Brazil: It can take 1 to 1.5 hours to get to the airport from the main cities. Traffic is terrible and Andre Gama suggests that clients leave five hours before a departing flight.
- Australia: It is a challenge to get the exact cars desired in some of the smaller cities. It is difficult to get a black car — most are white or silver because of the heat — and clients need to make reservations at least 24 hours in advance.
- China: Airports are always packed because it is customary for large groups of people to meet and greet their relatives or arriving friends. Chauffeurs must meet passengers outside the airport exit because they are not allowed at the baggage claim.