Gavin Tollman

Once a month Trafalgar’s CEO, Gavin Tollman, takes time out of his schedule to share his thoughts on the state of the industry. This month he talks about returning home to Africa with the TTC brand.

No matter how far and wide one may travel, there’s no place like home. Today my wife and I live in Switzerland, the rest of our family is dotted across the globe from London to Los Angeles, Cape Town to Toronto. Yet our hearts will always remain in one place: Africa.

It’s impossible to describe how Africa penetrates one’s spirit. A land of abundant beauty and history, stunning scenery and endless horizons, bold energy and rich culture.

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It’s the land of my history and roots, where I feel most alive and created a most personal journal of my life: racing through the golden grasses of the veld as a child, travelling along the mighty Nile, scaling the Atlas Mountains, releasing a rhino in the Okavango Delta, seeing the city of Nairobi turn a whimsical shade of mauve as Jacarandas burst into Springtime bloom, hearing the sound of Zulu drums in Durban or the call of a lion while sitting around a crackling fire after a day on safari.

I am, therefore, excited to unveil Trafalgar’s Africa portfolio with overwhelming pride – 72 years in the making.

The timing has great significance as 2018 marks the centenary of the life of Nelson Mandela. Also known to South Africans by his clan name, Madiba, who grew to be one of our generation’s most remarkable expressions of courage, compassion, justice, and the journey of a life dedicated to service. Trafalgar coming home is a small homage to one of the great leaders of Africa.

Why did Trafalgar wait this long to fully invest in an Africa programme? Our commitment providing the best precious holiday times meant that we needed to have all the pieces in place. We were not prepared to make the promise of being simply the best way to experience Africa unless we could be confident that we could bring it to our guests, in our own inimitable way. With TTC’s recent 100% acquisition of the foremost operator in the region, that dream is now a wonderful reality.

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To say our family takes our new Trafalgar Africa itineraries personally is an understatement. It’s the place we know best from our array of personal explorations. We’ve reached deeper to share our knowledge and expertise with our guests, weaving in our passion and history to these handcrafted trips, sharing with you the secrets and hidden gems that form our favourite memories.

It’s about experiencing Africa – meeting its people, embracing their warmth, feeling the vibrancy of their music, appreciating the distinctiveness of their art, savouring the aromas of their cuisine, understanding their beliefs and what makes their lives hopeful. You can’t imagine how different African life is until you experience it for yourself. Our goal is to give everyone that travels here fresh ideas, perspectives and inspiration. I challenge anyone not to return with a new lease of life.

By being exposed to Africa’s diversity of people, cultures, landscapes and lifestyles, everyone who visits develops a wider, richer view of the world. This also provides us the opportunity to learn from the way of life but also give back. Tourism sustains livelihoods throughout the continent and we we feel strongly about preserving and protecting our homeland and communities that we engage. Last year Africa welcomed 62 million international visitors. Our ongoing aim with TreadRight and JoinTrafalgar is to support and showcase as many projects as we can.

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There really is something inexplicable about the kaleidoscope of Africa. We hear it time and again, often with a tone of surprise in the voices of people who have made the journey, unaware of just how emotionally and spiritually profound their time would be. It always expands one’s mind and heart. Seeing nature and humanity in its pure, perfect balance helps us realise what matters. Modern ways of measuring success and happiness simply do not equate. Value is not about price tags, it’s about discovering what is priceless.

In the inspirational words from the great Madiba: “What counts in life is not the mere fact that we have lived. It is what difference we have made to the lives of others.” Nowhere is this exemplified more than in Africa.

Check out the video below for more information:

 

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Have you seen a copy of the new Africa programme?