ExpertsItalia President Robert Zuzek of Kompasxpress & Stéphanie Bishop, Globus family of brands
CAA’s Helen Demetrakopoulos with Insight’s Carla Brake
New Wave agents Joe Lupiani, Nestor Sumulong & Joyce Hanney with Wolf Paunic, Trafalgar
After a hectic week of industry events filling our brains with stats, sales figures and selling opportunities, it was a delight to meet up with the folks from ExpertsItalia for a low-key, soft-sell on the destination that is the favourite of so many: bella Italia.
“This is the right time for us to promote Italy, and to highlight the regions which are not as well known as the famous Rome, Venice, Florence trio,” Robert Zuzek of Kompasxpress Travel and President of ExpertsItalia told me. “Being Italy, you can always eat and drink the best – and the cuisine changes every 10 kilometers!”
ExpertsItalia is an affiliation of tour operators who feature the country and work together to educate and inform Canadians about travel options to Italy. Participating in last week’s event hosting 60 hand-picked travel agents at Toronto’s swank Spoke Club were ENIT (the Italian National Tourist Board), the Globus family of brands, Insight, Kompasxpress, Rail Europe and Trafalgar.
The agents clearly enjoyed the low-key presentations, which comprised a few moments of appreciation and sales chat – with equal time given to premium regional wines of Italy, which each of the members introduced in turn. Authentic Italian cuisine including calamari, meatballs and delicious cheeses accompanied the wines.
Among the bite-sized facts the members shared with us:
There are over 1,000 trains a day operating in Italy;
Insight’s Top Sellers’ Trip this year will be to Italy;
Trafalgar’s Secrets of Italy (max. 26 pax) covers the slow food movement route;
Globus has a new Milan-based tour which features day excursions and unpack-only-once appeal; and
Robert Zuzek has a very soft spot for Liguria in Northern Italy – it’s beautiful and undiscovered.
“This was such a nice reception,” one agent remarked to me. “So different from the huge events with the entire industry invited. Tonight we felt really special.” As did I! Grazie, ExpertsItalia, for such a delicious taste of Italy.