Ontario Independent

Inside Favisbook: Canada Post-Pandemic Travel & Tourism Trends

With an increase in travel, comes an increase in demand for visa consulate appointments. With Favisbook travelers don’t need to wait months for an appointment to appear on the Consulate website. Favisbook can confirm a visa appointment during the busy season within 3 days. With travel and tourism making a return, this New-York based company and its founder are making strategic decisions in the travel and tourism sector by providing expedited visa appointments and tourism forecasting services.

Favisbook provides a range of services that simplify and expedite the visa application process for a number of consulates throughout the United States. The company’s primary service is the confirmation of expedited visa appointments. Appointments booked directly through the consulate’s website typically aren’t available for the next three to four months, however, Favisbook guarantees an appointment within two weeks. Convenience is this company’s number one priority. In order to meet all the needs of travelers, Favisbook offers services ranging from application completion, document review, and assistance with the Apostille process. The company has multiple consulates in Italy, Spain and France are all available for expedited appointments on Favisbook’s website. Founded by Kareem Dus in 2017, Favisbook is reliably able to confirm expedited visa appointments at various consulates as soon as they become available.

With tourism spending in Canada (+28.3%) rising in the third quarter following a 3.3% increase in the previous quarter, tourism gross domestic product (GDP) (+31.1%) and employment attributable to tourism (+17.9%) also rising in the third quarter, the demand for travel visas will increase correspondingly. In January 2022, the number of international visitors to Canada rose from January 2021, but remained well below pre-pandemic levels in January 2020. The number of non-resident visitors arriving from abroad at Canadian airports equipped with electronic kiosks was more than five times the number recorded in the same month a year earlier. (Statistics Canada, 2022) 

In late November 2021, the World Health Organization declared a new variant of concern, Omicron, prompting Canada to implement new travel restrictions. On December 15, the Government of Canada advised Canadians to avoid non-essential travel outside Canada. On December 21, the requirement for all travelers entering Canada, regardless of the length of their trip, to provide a negative molecular test came into force. As of January 15, 2022, certain groups of foreign nationals who had been exempt from this requirement must be fully vaccinated to enter Canada. This includes essential service providers such as truck drivers, as well as individuals traveling to reunite with family. (Statistics Canada, 2022)

Employment attributable to tourism increased 17.9% in the third quarter of 2021, following a 1.5% increase in the previous quarter. The number of tourism jobs in food and beverage services (+27.8%), recreation and entertainment (+36.6%) and accommodation (+19.4%) contributed to the increase, while travel services declined 1.2%. Overall, total employment in Canada increased 3.0% in the third quarter, resulting in tourism’s share of employment growing 0.4 percentage points to 2.8% in the third quarter. (Statistics Canada, 2022) 

It was the tangibility of international employment that inspired Dus to create Favisbook. The CEO quotes that “Back in 2017, a friend of mine got a job in Paris, and she couldn’t schedule a visa appointment in time. She actually lost the job. I was surprised that there were no services to solve this problem. The first thing I did when she told me about her experience wasn’t to go to the consulate calendar and try to book an appointment — I tried to find a service that could expedite it, because it seemed so obvious that such a service should exist.” After hours of searching with no results, “I was totally shocked. I started coming up with how I might build such a service, and soon after, I opened Favisbook.”

Dus never expected to be a businessman or entrepreneur, but he always knew he was a problem solver. “I see myself as a mathematical and scientific thinker first and foremost — as a problem solver. I always wanted to be a mathematician or physicist, and I went to college for math. But I have always pushed myself to find solutions to problems that interested me. So, when I discovered a glaring inefficiency in the visa appointment system, I immediately began to consider how this inefficiency could be fixed. Eventually, my efforts to do so became Favisbook. So I guess I became a businessman by trying to fix a problem.”

Favisbook mainly serves students hoping to study abroad, corporate professionals who need visas to work internationally, and US green cardholders. The expedited visa appointment company offers tourism forecasting services to corporate clients as well. Travelers always apply for visas and prepare visa paperwork before they book a flight to Canada or a hotel room. According to Dus, “since Favisbook sells visa-related services, the company can extrapolate useful data from the volume of inquiries and orders, then provide travel trend predictions up to 3 weeks before they are visible in wider tourism markets.” This allows corporate clients to make impactful data-driven decisions based on the latest travel industry trends. 

Serving customers is at the center of Favisbook. Since 2017, Dus has grown Favisbook into the successful customer-centric company is it today through continuous strategic decision making and learning from previous decisions. “Our biggest success as a business was our second year of operation. The summer of 2019, we expanded to many more consulates, and so we served more customers than we ever had before and capitalized on the opportunities provided by tapping into a larger global market. The key to our success that summer was learning from our previous decisions, and working hard to expand our business.” 

When asked if he would define Favisbook as a brand-based or person-based business, Dus responded “We are very much business based, in the sense that our focus is on providing a service to customers, not on building any kind of personal brand.” A perfect example of how Favisbook puts the customer first is one of their latest strategic decisions, a promotion that allows customers pick the price they want to pay for Favisbook’s services. “It may sound strange, but we’re actually planning to replicate a behavioral experiment among our customers, while demand is still low. It’s an experiment that sparked my curiosity. We’ll use a promotional voucher as an incentive for people to participate.” With Dus and Favisbook’s commitment to continue making strategic, innovative decisions that put customers first, traveling to Canada post-pandemic is much more attainable.

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