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Tour enterprise started with lone family van

CEBU CITY, Philippines—It wasn’t just luck that made Emmanuel “Jun” Barretto Jr. succeed in his rent-a-car and travel and tour business.

To the Pagadian-born entrepreneur, business progress was a matter of constant pursuit for clients.

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“And by constant pursuit, I mean going to hotels, approaching managers and tour operators offering our lone, family van,” he tells the Inquirer.

Family van

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Barretto graduated with a degree in hotel and restaurant management from the University of San Carlos in 1999.

He worked as a sales agent after graduation but found himself resigning after six months.

About the same time, his father bought a Toyota Hi-Ace to be used by the family in Cebu.

“I thought about using the van for business since we didn’t use it that often,” Barreto shares.

In 2000, his first clients were guests of Cebu Plaza Hotel (now Marco Polo Plaza). He was 22 years old.

Barretto approached hotel managers, tour operators and even tourists to get the tires moving.

It was a one-man show with Barretto serving as the driver, manager and tour guide.

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Within one month, he earned P30,000 with drop-off and pick-up services, whole-day rental and provincial tours.

The amount was way above the salary an employee received at the time. This encouraged him to continue.

In 2002, with the help of his family, Barretto formally set up the Cebu Trip Rent-A-Car. His small venture had two vans and a car.

The second among three siblings, Barretto says he drew inspiration from his father, a longtime employee of the Land Transportation Office.

His father’s examples of hard work and perseverance encouraged Barretto to do his homework and grow his business further.

Indeed the business has grown, literally by leaps and bounds, as his company’s units traversed roads and traveled places. At present, his rent-a-car business has 19 units.

World of travel

Later on, Barretto thought of entering the world of travel and tour management as he established close relations with various clients and loyal patrons.

Cebu Trip Tours was born with the help of his wife, Maria Kathleen, in June 2010.

Today, the couple works on creating tour packages.

As travelers themselves, the Barrettos think that “to travel means more than simply getting from point A to point B.”

“To travel means to visit a destination and truly experience it,” he explains.

The Barretto couple’s new baby is called the seat-in-coach tour, where anyone can join a six-hour city tour throughout the week. It was launched last August 2010.

An average of 10 people—a combination of balikbayans, foreign and local tourists—join the tour every day.

For P1,200 per person, the tour is inclusive of transportation, lunch buffet, tour guide and entrance fees.

Sites included in the itinerary are Fort San Pedro, Basilica Minore del Sto. Niño, Magellan’s Cross, Taoist Temple and other heritage sites.

The new venture’s list of services includes island hopping adventure, golf tour, twin city private tour and Bohol day swing.

Cebu Trip Rent-A-Car employs 13 drivers while the Cebu Trip Tours has four employees.

Barretto says it is hard to start a business but to sustain it is challenging.

Within the pipeline is another tourism-related venture called the Cebu Travel Guide, a small booklet that showcases Cebu’s best and well-preserved destinations.

About 5,000 free copies will be printed and distributed for free next month, he says.

Barretto says the abundant harvest he reaped from being an entrepreneur far outweighs the challenges he encountered.

“I have my own time to spare but it also instilled in me the value of discipline. (Being an entrepreneur) has brought out my creativity,” says Barretto.

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TAGS: Business, Cebu, Entrepreneurship, People, Rent-a-car, Tourism
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