Say hello to the people of the industry who’ve chosen ‘travel for life’ as their career. These are the ultra passionate, much-loved folk that continue to inspire others by going above and beyond in their everyday roles.
This week I catch up with the Managing Director of Adventure World, Neil Rodgers who heads up Australasia’s largest tailor-made soft adventure company.
What do you love most about working in the travel industry?
The diversity of the product I get to work on.
In the morning it could be discussing new private game safaris in Africa, lunchtime working on a marketing campaign with one of our consortia partners, afternoons I could be discussing new explorations with National Geographic Lindblad Expeditions. No day is never the same…
How has working in travel changed you?
It has further educated me across all aspects of geography and in-depth destination knowledge to learning about social welfare and responsible travel and tourism.
Tell us about a recent, amazing travel experience
Trekking through the Sacred Valley of the Incas to Machu Picchu on a program whereby each evening you stay at a beautiful mountain lodge.
After an exhilarating day hiking, you are welcomed by the local community with delicious Peruvian cuisine and a hot tub nestled in the mountains awaits your weary body.
What’s the weirdest/most amusing job you’ve ever had?
I took a yearlong university internship with Aer Lingus based in JFK airport. They assigned me to the role of ‘Weight & Balance’ for the aircraft. Every day I would have to calculate and evenly distribute the weight load so the aircraft would fly correctly.
Can you imagine giving a student the responsibility of coordinating cargo and passenger loads? My nerves were a complete wreck as I was terrified I would be responsible for a plane crash if I got it wrong.
What’s the funniest thing you’ve ever seen on your travels?
On a Heli-hiking trip in the Canadian Rockies after a day of traversing some of the most spectacular mountain scenery, a mountain bear mama and her cubs made an unexpected visit to our lunch picnic area.
Our clever helicopter pilot simply turned on his motor whereby the noise of the whirling blades served as a deterrent to send them on their way. But not before they had all sampled the smoked salmon, but we didn’t mind that in the slightest.
How can we as an industry ‘travel to change the world?’
I am a very strong advocate for animal welfare in travel & tourism and Adventure World has long been an ardent supporter of the World Animal Protection society.
I believe that as an industry it is our responsibility to educate clients on how to travel ethically. To know the consequences of actions such as taking selfies with posed animals and the reasons why they shouldn’t take a ride on the back of an elephant.
What’s your number one in-flight travel tip?
Always dress in layers as the aircraft can get very cold, especially on long-haul flights where a great sweater always comes in handy.
What’s your favourite travel app?
As much as I love unplanned explorations I am still a big fan of the Google Maps app.
What advice would you give an industry newbie?
Get educated on niche products and destinations. We have the best sales team out across the country, harness their knowledge when they come in for training and try to attend as many travel roadshows when they are on in your local area.
Have you met Neil on your travels in the industry? Want to get involved too? Drop us a line here and let’s introduce you to the wider world of travel.
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