Experts in travel: meet the Holiday Hunters

Experts In Travel: Meet The <b><i>Discount Holidays ©</i></b> Holiday Hunters Stuart Douglass-Lee

Stuart caught the travel bug early when backpacking through India, after his degree in geography from School of Oriental & African Studies, University of London. On his return he completed a post-grad course in tourism and never looked back, having now clocked up an impressive 32 years in the travel business.

A passion for India got me into the business and has remained with me always; in fact, I ve visited the sub-continent on more than 25 separate occasions.

“Over time, an enthusiasm for other destinations has developed, especially for north Africa, the Middle East, sub-Saharan Africa, and in particular Morocco, which I visit at least once a year.

“In this world of political change I take great satisfaction from seeking out new destinations for Saga guests, including the recently introduced Zimbabwe, Uzbekistan and Ethiopia.

Experts In Travel: Meet The <b><i>Discount Holidays ©</i></b> Holiday Hunters Kathy Vigolo

Kathy returned to England three years ago after a short break exploring Mexico and Central America turned into 14 years, when she fell in love with life on a little island in Honduras. Fluent in English, Italian, French and Spanish, an avid fan of nature, art and of course travelling, she tells us how her hobbies help her in her role

My travels started in Mexico, where I spent a year travelling extensively from the Copper Canyon to Chiapas, from endless deserts to lush forests, coast to coast. I loved every single moment and every little adventure I took.

“I was hosted by local desert farmers, who introduced me to the real rural life in the desert, and I spent a month in a small village in Chiapas assisting the local midwife in her daily duties. It was mind-blowing to see how life is perceived by others, and a great lesson in learning to embrace simplicity.

“I spent another month on the Pacific Coast working at a black leather turtle conservation project, which introduced me to the outstanding wildlife I ll never forget whale watching during sunset from a rocky cliff and bird watching from a hammock in the garden.

“Now, when I create a holiday, not only do I look for a mix of art and culture, I also look for the nature aspect; one thing that made me really love travelling was the unspoilt nature you can find.

“I think including all these aspects of a destination is necessary to give our customers a truly immersive experience.

Experts In Travel: Meet The <b><i>Discount Holidays ©</i></b> Holiday Hunters Jennifer Richetto

Jen lived in Italy for 10 years, in Turin, close to the French border, surrounded by the mountains that go up into the Alps.

Whenever I go anywhere in Italy, I think: This is where I like best, but just recently I ve been very drawn to Sicily. I love the history of the place, which has had so many influences the Normans, the Saracens, the Arabs, the Romans yet it s so much its own. I find the whole place very inspiring.

“And of course Etna there you are, in Europe and you can see a live volcano erupting, it s just incredible.

“It s that range of contrasts that I try and find on all the holidays I create, to really give our travellers a true idea of the place they re discovering.

Experts In Travel: Meet The <b><i>Discount Holidays ©</i></b> Holiday Hunters Richard Newsome

Richard has worked at Saga for 18 years and has been responsible for organising holidays in Latin America and the Caribbean, Africa, Australia and many European countries, too Spain, in particular.

I studied French and Spanish at Leeds University, which meant I was lucky enough to study in Spain for a year. I was in Bilbao in the years before the Guggenheim was built, so it was not touristy at all but a great, friendly place to be.

“I travelled around quite a bit and went to all the fiestas, the Feria de Abril in Seville, the Cruces de Mayo in Granada, San Fermin in Pamplona, and I was hooked on Spain from that moment on.

“I chose travel as a career because I spoke languages and knew some of the destinations already. I’ve also always been a history fanatic most of my degree was made up of French, Spanish and Latin American history courses so the cultural tours we create really fire my imagination.

“When I saw the Discount Holidays © Holiday Hunters putting together tours to places like Toledo, Salamanca and Seville, and visiting these places to meet the hoteliers, coach companies, museums and guiding agencies to find the best experiences and value for money for customers, I knew that I wanted to work my way up the ranks to be able to do that job.

“Since at Saga we insist on having first-hand knowledge of the hotels that we use and as we do business face to face, it means that there are many opportunities to get out of the office that way we keep our enthusiasm for the destinations that we offer.

Watch the video interview with Discount Holidays © Holiday Hunter Stuart Douglass-Lee>>

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References

  1. ^ Saga Navigator newsletter (navigator.saga.co.uk)
  2. ^ @SagaHolidaysUK (twitter.com)

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