Retired farmer Garry Hine caught the travel bug almost 50 years ago and is yet to pack away the suitcase. In fact, Garry’s passion for travel seems to ripen with age, and he’s travelled to more than 100 different countries around the world since the 1990’s.
“When I travel, I want to enjoy local cultures and have a personalised experience,” explains Garry, adding that “I can’t imagine sitting on a large cruise ship with thousands of other passengers, many of whom are happy just to sit on the boat and drink”.
Some of the destinations Garry has visited are truly remote, but regardless of where he’s planning to go, he says he learnt early on the value of having a professional help with the planning, coordination and booking of his trips.
“I could maybe book some of the arrangements myself, but I appreciate the value, the expertise and the reassurance of using a good travel advisor. I would never re-mortgage my house online; I liken booking travel to this, too much can go wrong when you don’t really know what you are doing, you need an expert who takes control of every aspect,” Garry explains.
Garry uses Main Beach Travel, which turned out to be an inspired choice as they were formally recognised as Australia’s best retail travel agency at the recent National Travel Industry Awards — the first time a Queensland agency has won this prestigious award.
Main Beach Travel is a member of Virtuoso, a global, invitation-only network of the top one per cent of travel agencies around the world.
“It was quite a surprise to discover we had one of the world’s best travel agencies almost on our doorstep in the Main Beach village, employing more than 25 senior, experienced travel advisors,” says the Burleigh Heads resident.
The owners, Mike and Mandy Dwyer, are hands-on and passionate about looking after their clients.
Mandy readily acknowledges many of their clients have travelled more than they have, but collectively, there’s very few places their large team haven’t visited.
“If we haven’t been there, one of our team probably has, but if not, we will almost certainly have done training on the destination. Within the Virtuoso community our team have access to arguably the most comprehensive training platform in the industry.”
“Through the Virtuoso network, we can reach out to a pre-qualified operator on the ground in almost any country and have confidence they understand our requirements.”
Mandy chuckled when hearing Garry’s comments about not wanting to sit on a large cruise ship with thousands of others.
“Garry’s a real adventurer and wants to be fully engaged with local communities when he’s travelling, but a lot of our clients are very happy travelling on cruises,” Mandy says.
“Main Beach Travel enjoys special privileges and buying power thanks to our size and the worldwide relationships we’ve developed over many years”.
Mandy adds the agency hosts regular client events, so they really get to know their clients personally.
From champagne tasting and pizza-making classes to sip ‘n’ paint classes, these events provide opportunities for clients not only to become well informed on emerging destinations and products, but to share and swap stories, and quite a few clients have ended up forming new friendships at these events.
“We’ve had a number of clients meet at these events who end up travelling together,” Mandy explains, citing one example of two women who met and have done several trips together.
Garry has no intention of slowing down anytime soon and says knowing he can call his agent if things go wrong is very reassuring.
“Our next trip will take place in The Himalayan Express: China, Tibet, Nepal and Bhutan.
Sometimes things go wrong. My wife or I might fall ill or a flight might be cancelled. Whatever happens, I know I can call the team at Main Beach Travel and they’ll be there when I need them.”
To make sure you don’t miss a trip of a lifetime; visit Main Beach Travel today! Suite 13, Level 1, Corner Hughes and Tedder Avenue, Main Beach. Phone 07 5588 2500. www.mainbeachtravel.com.au