Brazil’s Student Travel Bureau merges into BeFly

Published 27/04/2023

One of Brazil’s largest education consultancy companies, Student Travel Bureau, has merged with tourism conglomerate BeFly, The PIE has been told.

As part of a “strategic move” to increase market share and business volume, the 50-year-old consultancy hopes to gain a valuable expansion from the acquisition by BeFly. This is a new incarnation of STB since its previous strategic partnership with LCI in Canada in 2019.

“By the end of 2024, the goal is to expand to 30 new offices,” noted José Carlos Hauer Santos Júnior, head of Student Travel Bureau.

It has not yet been made clear whether office expansions would be through organic growth, or proposed “acquisition of competitors in Brazil and Latin America”.

Student Travel Bureau specialises in educational and language exchange programs, with other facets being high school and higher education abroad.

Santos Júnior also expects the business’ market share to grow 15% by 2024.

José Carlos Hauer Santos Júnior (left) with Marcelo Cohen, BeFly CEO. Photo: STB

The merger, he said, is expected to be fully implemented in just 30 days.

“This expansion reflects positively on the business of our partners, composed of educational institutions from all over the world,” Santos Júnior told The PIE.

BeFly is an ecosystem of 34 companies who, Santos Júnior stressed, navigate independently under a centralised finance and utilities system.

Other brands under the BeFly banner include Insta Travel, Guide 121 and Õner Travel.

Santos Júnior also stressed that despite the merger with the much larger BeFly, STB will “still be STB”.

“All companies in the ecosystem work under their own brand,” he said.

“The essence of the business will not change”

The strategic plan going forward, Santos Júnior said, will be subject to the approval of the board – on which he will have a seat.

“The essence of the business will not change and the board will support and advise on proposed strategies,” he noted.

When asked about the other facet of the business – higher education – which seems to have taken a back seat with the merger as BeFly’s expertise lies in tourism and exchange, he said, “higher education is very much in our basket of products that will be further developed.”

“Befly is very capitalised and will allow STB to further invest in technology, marketing and expansion,” he insisted.

The company will also move its head office to BeFly’s building off São Paulo’s iconic Avenida Paulista – the “headquarters of the future”, Santos Júnior said.

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