I had a very busy travel year. It took me around the world to new places and to places I have visited before. There are always new things to discover, new suppliers to meet, and new properties to visit.
In November, I traveled to Dubai and Abu Dhabi for the Virtuoso Chairman’s event, the travel consortium of which Gateway Travel is a member. This trip began with the luxurious experience of flying on Emirates Airlines. The service was wonderful and after a 12-hour direct flight from New York we arrived in Dubai. While there, we feasted on outstanding Middle Eastern, French, and continental cuisine, and visited superb hotels that boast every amenity imaginable. We were awed by the sights, including the incredible Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque in Abu Dhabi. An extra plus was having my sister join me and having the opportunity to share this adventure with her.
In February, I attended an informative Expo in Milan where I brushed up on the latest trends in Italian travel, met many new suppliers, learned about several interesting out of the way properties in the countryside, and connected with villa owners from all over the country. Biking and hiking tours are becoming more popular in Italy, and I made some good contacts in this area. This year our dollar is so much stronger, and this will reflect favorably in the prices of hotels as well as what you are spending for food and guides.
I feel lucky that my business meetings take me around the world where I can make new discoveries in the world of travel.
A Family Affair in South Africa
I have been to Africa several times before, traveling to various countries, but it was a dream of mine to travel there with my family. There is nothing better than seeing Africa through the eyes of your children and grandchildren. This is one vacation my family and I will always cherish!
Two years in the making, nineteen of us from three generations visited South Africa for 12 days over the Christmas holiday to go on safari, visit the wine country, and tour around Cape Town. I’ve planned many multi-generational vacations in my long career, but I now have even more insight into the planning and logistics for such a large group with varied ages and interests. It is possible to please a preschooler, a teenager, a college student, and a grandparent!
For more information about this extraordinary country, see our blog post- Spotlight On: South Africa.
As you know, I love to take groups to undiscovered destinations. In February, Gateway Travel teamed up with National Geographic for a people-to-people tour of Cuba.
It was a fascinating and educational trip. Each day we learned interesting facts about Cuba and its history, from Havana’s efforts to preserve its architectural and cultural heritage to the role tobacco has played in Cuban history. Speakers taught us about the art, architecture, politics, and people of this place to which we were forbidden to travel for many years.
We enjoyed seeing the old cars while walking the cobbled streets of Old Havana, interacting with the friendly Cuban people, and sampling the delicious food– from fresh fish, to wonderful fruits and vegetables, to rice and beans.
National Geographic was outstanding; they even arranged for us to have our very own photographer to document our discoveries, as well as fabulous and lively evening performances.
After our six-day visit, we were able to feel the essence of Cuba.