We interviewed the Prestige Travel team and asked them a few questions, here's what we came up with.
You can pack a lot of travel into 28 years, and that is exactly what Benita has done.
Benita's career started at the South Australian Tourism Commission and it was during that time she realised her career would be in International travel. Her passion for all things 'travel' lead her to start working at Hans Lees Travel, a German based agency, where the clientele included Eastern European, this suited Benita perfectly as she has Latvian heritage and can speak the language.
Keen to share where she's travelled to and what she has seen, Benita offered a fabulous list of incredible places and experiences;
Some of the places I've travelled to are India, Burma, Sri Lanka, Turkey, Egypt, Jordan, Africa, South America, China, Vietnam, Croatia, Spain, France, many Western Europe countries, Italy, Positano, Cambodia, Laos, Russia, Latvia, Hawaii, Asia, Fiji, Hong Kong, Thailand, Dubai, Oman, New Zealand, Mauritius, Borneo, Cancun, Canada , USA (coast to coast).
Recently Benita has added to her travel portfolio a fabulous trip to Scandanavia & Iceland featuring the Northern Lights & Portugal .
I've experienced some amazing things like Ziplining in Alaska, Washing elephants in Myanmar in a fresh water river, Bike riding through Vietnam, 5* crystal cruising in Alaska, cruising through Croatia & the Caribbean, enjoying a White Xmas & Ice Lake Fishing in Minnesota with my children, taking a chance on driving in Mexico to see the famous ruins of Chichen Itza, swimming in the Nile, salsa dancing lessons in Cuba, Sunset camel ride in the Sahara Desert in Morocco, Helicopter through the Grand Canyon, balloon ride over Cappadocia & Luxor and most recently experiencing the Holi Colour Festival in India.
I have travelled with various tour companies which include G Adventures, Intrepid, Insight Vacations, Gecko's and have organised small groups that I have escorted through Vietnam, India & Myanmar. By mixing it up, this has given me a great perspective on how to tailor / suit travel styles for every client.
Over the years I have changed the way I see & travel the world, which started with the traditional backpacking through Europe, to family holidays, travelling independently (solo) and now more recently with small groups of friends sharing similar interests. The best part of my travelling has been to mix it up and never keep it the same.
So what is it about the industry that keeps Benita coming back for more?
"The diversity of clients and their holiday destinations along with their wish / bucket lists on what they want to do on their holidays and how to achieve that on a daily basis, I just love it"
And when we asked Benita what she thinks she's really good at doing at work, she replied
"I would like to think I am good at listening to my clients when they are explaining & planning their holidays and then helping them to have a relaxing & worry free holiday."
Cathy thrives on creating detailed independent itineraries using knowledge gained from her 30 plus years in the travel industry. Her list of visited destinations is vast, and covers most continents, yet she continually seeks to discover places new and foreign. Every effort is made to ensure that all clients, whether intrepid travellers or those planning their trip of a lifetime, embark on an adventure that exceeds their expectations.
When we asked Cathy about her most memorable moments, her list included some of the most magical places on earth, here are the highlights.
Game viewing in Kenya, seeing my first Pride of Lion and then getting charged by an Elephant at Hwange National Park in Zimbabwe are experiences I will never forget. But there are many more wonderful moments Cathy shared like, climbing Sri Pada / Adams Peak in Sri Lank for the Sunrise, watching her son's face as he visited Disneyland for the first time, seeing the Condor fly in the Colca Canyon in Peru, hiking through the villages around Sapa in Vietnam, enjoying the stunning blue water in the Maldives, then there was the stay at Umaid Bhawan Palace Hotel in Jodphur India and watching and listening to the Glacier Ice thunder into the water in Alaska, these were all amazing experiences.
Cathy has visited so many countries, here is her magnificent list.
Bali, Fiji, Norfolk Island, Tahiti, Western Samoa, Cook Islands, Tonga, a South Pacific Cruise, Caribbean Cruise , Alaskan Cruise & Vancouver, India, Sri Lanka where Cathy lived for one year as an exchange student many years ago and has been back several times, Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, Hong Kong, Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai, Vietnam, Kenya, Zimbabwe, South Africa, European River Cruise, Contiki Tour, Insight Tour of Germany, Austria. Trafalgar Tour of Prague and Germany. Trafalgar Tour of the UK as a tour escort. Cathy has also travelled extensively to Paris, Switzerland, Drive Republic Ireland, 4 weeks UK drive, London, Rome, Florence, Venice, Milan by Rail and New Zealand. Dubai, Egypt, USA and two weeks around New York, Los Angeles, San Fransisco, San Diego and Las Vegas plus Disneyland three times.
If this isn't enough, Cathy has also travelled to Peru, Bolivia, Buenos Aires, Playa del Carmen Mexico and the Maldives. Plus she has travelled extensively through Australia.
On her "still to visit list" are; Zanzibar / Tanzania, Bhutan, Cambodia/Laos, Scandinavia and the Arctic, Maritimes Canada and the New England Coast of the USA
So what is it about the industry that keeps Cathy coming back for more?
"I love that my job changes so much within the space of one day. I can be working on an itinerary through Africa for clients and then have to immediately switch to an 18th century Hotel in rural France & then back to a Disneyland holiday for other clients"
And when we asked Cathy what she thinks she's really good at doing at work, she replied
"I think my specialty is helping first time travellers plan their once in a lifetime trip or their 'first' holiday overseas. Because I am well travelled and have a real eye for detail, I love the intricate elements of planning and coming up with ideas to make the trip a really special one."
"Many of my clients booked their very first overseas holiday some 20 years ago and I am still looking after their holiday arrangements today, this is really special and I value their business so very much."
In recent years , Gail says much of her personal time is spent travelling to the USA to visit family including her 92 year old Mom but her personal passion and where she says she would return at every opportunity is Africa. " I came to this obsession quite late in my career " says Gail . " I made my first visit at the request of my then boss & suddenly just like that... I was hooked. What's not to love ? The exciting wildlife , the amazing Lodges , Camps & Resorts , the dust , the sunsets - the adventure of it ALL . There is something quite primal about hearing Lions roar late at night not far from the other side of my canvas walls . Everyone should visit Africa at least once and there is a trip that will suit every age and budget. My passion is to help plan that trip " .Of her many other travels , Gail says a number of special moments stand out : cruising down the Nile to Tutankhamun's Tomb in the Valley of the Kings , walking the via Dolorosa inside the old City of Jerusalem , staying on a houseboat on Dal Lake in Kashmir , afternoon tea at Harewood House in Yorkshire hosted by the Earl & Countess of Harewood , drinking champagne on the Great Wall of China , hot air ballooning at sunrise over the Masai Mara and staying at the Rambagh Palace in Jaipur , residence of the Maharajah of Jaipur. Gail also spent 3 months on a self drive holiday through the United States & Canada and she loves helping clients plan that perfect driving itinerary with a mix of Cities , Towns , natural wonders & off the beaten track destinations .
So what is it about the industry that keeps Gail coming back for more ?
"There have been so many changes to travel patterns over the years - where people want to go , how they want to get there and what they want to do when they arrive. The continuing changes in trends keeps our profession exciting and vibrant . But mainly I love the relationships one develops with clients over the years . I still work with clients I met more than 30 years ago & now I am also planning travel for their children and grandchildren. I value the friendships I have made with these people and love that they are still with me ! "
And when we asked Gail what she thinks she's really good at doing at work, she replied;
"Attention to detail has always been a priority to me. Thinking ahead and making a travel plan based on what will work best for the clients' needs and then making sure all the 'I's are dotted and 'T's are crossed. I also work very well under pressure , a skill that was learned early through my years of handling corporate travel where everything can happen at the last minute. This also translates well to leisure travellers , plans can change suddenly due to personal situations or world events. It is why people use travel agents - we are here for them not only to plan their travel but if they need us after they leave home. "
A 30 year career in the corporate and leisure travel industry can only come from having an untamed passion for travel and adventure.
Julie was there at the dawn of Chinese tourism during the 1980's, and her love for the country remains to this day. Europe also holds a special place in her heart, having used Germany as a base to explore all that the region has to offer. With 15 years experience traveling with children, Julie has a wealth of knowledge to pass on to families wanting to plan that perfect escape, her specialist niche.
Julie has really experienced some of the best things our world has on offer. Here's the magnificent list of personal and professional adventures she shared with us.
"I've done a lot in 30 years, here are some of my highlights"
I've worked with a China tour operator in the 1980's, guided tours to China on several occasions, lived in the medieval walled city of Xanten and in Germany, walked the Great Wall Of China and then returned with my children 20 years later. I've been deep sea fishing while staying at the luxurious Turtle Island Resort in Fiji, reached the summit of Jungfrau, Switzerland by cog rail, Been mesmerised by the beauty of the Taj Mahal, Dived the blue waters of Tahiti, at Club Med Moorea, stayed at the very romantic Nam Hai, Hoi An, Vietnam with my husband, walked the Cinque Terra with my family, jet boating under Iguassu Falls was exhilarating and to top it off, as a keen cook, I have enjoyed cooking lessons in Paris, Florence and Barcelona with my youngest daughter.
Julie went on to add a few more highlights she thought of at the last minute; standing within an arms length of Pope John Paul second in St Peters Basilica and as a mosaic enthusiast, I was in awe of the mosaics at Topkapi Palace in Istanbul and Amber Palace in Jaipur.
My goodness that is an amazing list of highlights and so it goes without saying, the destinations Julie has travelled to are just as comprehensive.
So what is it about the industry that keeps Julie coming back for more?
"I love the planning stage, talking with clients hearing their interests, likes and dislikes and then providing a travel concept that offers them the best possible experience. I love the opportunities and adventure travel can offer, it brings people together."
While in Venice I spotted George Clooney on his wedding weekend - what's not to love about working in the travel industry!! The travel industry contains many wonderful, friendly, enthusiastic, passionate people, and this is why it has been my only career.
And when we asked Julie what she thinks she's really good at doing at work, she replied
"After many holidays with my 3 children, I believe planning family holidays to be my absolute specialty."
Over 40 years ago Nicky caught the 'travel bug' and after all this time, still enjoys the variety of what she does every day. No two days are the same.
Here's her wonderful story.
Having a Music Degree, I love the Arts and the opulence and charm of the Opera. Hearing a concert at Notre Dame, seeing an opera at Covent Garden, enjoying the ballet in Vienna, going backstage at the Peking Opera or experiencing the delights of the Mozart Festival in Salzburg will enrich the spirit and transport you to another world. I recommend booking early to get concert tickets to some of the most spectacular venues in the world. A recent client was visiting Vienna and I was able to get her tickets on short notice to the New Year's Eve Concert at the Schönbrunn Palace. She said it was the highlight of her holiday.
Living in China for three years, I was captivated by the richness and diversity of the Chinese Culture. I love sharing my experiences of China with customers. The country has so much to offer, from the hustle and bustle of Shanghai to the magnificence of the Great Wall. However, there is so much more to the country, as I discovered when I cycled around Southern China with my family and saw another side of this beautiful and fascinating country - the out of the way places that take you back to another time.
For me, organising travel is about understanding the different needs of my customers - like a recent client who needed help organising a surprise 40th Birthday for his wife visiting a game park in Botswana with their family, which culminated in a helicopter ride over one of the seven natural wonders of the world - Victoria Falls at sunset. For another couple it was helping plan a romantic anniversary staying in a 500 year old castle in England. These are the special touches that people will talk about long after the holiday is over.
I am continually updating my travel knowledge through regular travel. Recent unforgettable trips include the spectacular Canadian Rockies, Uganda to see the gorillas, vibrant New York, trekking to see the Gorillas in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest in Uganda, zip-lining above the trees with snow and frozen creeks below in Alaska, seeing Puccini's La Bohème in the magnificent and famous "Hungarian State Opera House" in Budapest, camping (well, glamping really) overnight in the Sahara - having ridden camels to get there, snorkelling and seeing the giant clams on Lizard Island and having my breath taken away as I entered the "Sagrada Famiglia" in Barcelona - I never thought a building could affect me that way.
Nicky has visited many countries. Here's her extensive list:Vietnam, Cambodia, Bordeaux, Barcelona, Washington DC, New York, London, Norwegian Fjords, Bali, Danube, Budapest, Prague, Monte Carlo, Coral Expeditions' cruise Broome to Darwin, Alaska, Canadian Rockies, Uganda, Fiji, Rome, Las Vegas, Alaska, Hawaii, Tahiti, Morocco, New Zealand, St Petersburg, Italy, England, France, Stockholm, Slovakia, China, Hong Kong, much of Central Europe, Scotland, Japan, Singapore, Bangkok, New Caledonia, Vanuatu, Copenhagen, Malaysia, Doha, French speaking Canada, Nova Scotia and India.
So what is it about the industry that keeps Nicky coming back for more?
"I get great satisfaction organising the special touches to create that 'wow' factor for my clients. I enjoyed organising a special mask-making workshop for a family during a recent visit to Venice, and this was followed by a performance in the evening to see how these masks were involved in music and performance. The children were so excited!"
And when we asked Nicky what she thinks she's really good at doing at work, she replied
"Cruising has become a favourite style of holiday. As an experienced cruise consultant I can help clients choose the right ship to suit their needs and interests - in any part of the world!"
"I enjoy every experience when I travel. I am always "in the moment" wherever I am, and I think this is why I have a unique ability to really focus and tailor precisely the holiday experience my clients are dreaming of."
We are busy creating fantastic trips for our clients and will write something up soon.