By Fiona Hurrell, Senior Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – Conde Nast have called him the “fabulous fixer”, and it certainly seems as though anything is possible in Rio with the help of British entrepreneur Andrew Harding. Whether it is a once in a lifetime vacation, an important corporate event or a permanent move, Harding’s destination management and concierge service ‘Man in Rio’ will take care of everything.
Originally from London, Harding has built up an impressive resume of skills and contacts over the years including travel and tourism, hospitality, recruitment and marketing. In 2012 family ties brought him to Rio where he decided to put his talents to use in the travel sector.
“I discovered from talking to expats that there was a lack of service available to help them settle in and language barriers were proving difficult,” explains Harding.
“Similarly, tourists were booking their holidays with travel agencies but found they had no support once they arrived. I recognized a gap in the market and set up Man in Rio as a local point of contact and support network able to plan and manage everything the client needs, whether that be activities and entertainment or help with settling in Rio on a permanent basis,” he adds.
The inconsistency in planning and hospitality services became strikingly obvious to Harding during an extreme sailing event in which the French team reported a lack of hospitality and logistics assistance in Brazil. After coming to their aid Harding realized the opportunity, and potential for change. Taking note of this, Man in Rio has been ferociously making plans in time for the FIFA 2014 World Cup and 2016 Olympics.
“The profile of the client is very important. Everything is tailor made to suit them. No request is too big.” States Harding who has been working with various Olympic teams and sponsors and arranging trips around Rio to help them get accustomed to the city in which they will be competing.
He adds, “We can arrange a bilingual aid for each country, and show them the Olympic stadium and bring sponsors and teams together by improving relations.”
In 2013 alone, Rio’s Maracanã Stadium will host three games during the FIFA Confederations Cup, including the final on June 30th, while the World Youth Day will bring catholic youngsters from around the world to Rio’s shores in July.
Certainly a busy few years await the Man in Rio team, but Harding is ready to adapt and grow to meet the opportunities. In Particular, Harding is excited about the launch of a Man in Rio app. He shares, “The app will be coming soon. It will enable people to upload their interests and give them round the clock access to information and support.”
Clearly immersed in improving the hospitality sector in Rio, Harding is confident that his love of the business and the changing focus in the Brazilian industry will help create wider opportunities and introduce more people to the magic of the Cidade Marvilhosa.
He adds “I believe Rio will continue to grow due to improved awareness and infrastructure. I will continue to seek out new opportunities perhaps even outside of Rio, to give people a broader knowledge of Brazil.”
MAN IN RIO
Av. Nossa Senhora de Copacabana, nº 928, Suite 701
Rio de Janeiro, RJ, Brazil
Phone: + 55 (21) 8527 9245