Website design By BotEap.comI recently had the opportunity to speak with Chris Ronneseth from Trek Holidays (see interview preview), who gave me a good overview of adventure travel, an area of travel that I would definitely like to explore sooner rather than later … Website design By BotEap.com1. Tell us how you got into the adventure travel business. Website design By BotEap.comI grew up around travel. My father, Allan Ronneseth founded the company in 1972 and with a passion for seeing the world in a different way than the norm, we had the opportunity to travel to countries that were considered exotic at the time and still are to some extent today. As I ventured out on my own traveling while attending college, I became increasingly passionate about the world beyond North America. With a degree in marketing, I ventured first to New York and then to Toronto to work in sales and marketing for tech companies during the tech boom. Having learned the skill of sales in an industry outside of travel, but backed by an adventure travel based education, I progressed to lead sales in eastern Canada for the family business, where I now support our network of travel agents throughout the east. Canada, as well as compiling our monthly adventure travel trends newsletter. Website design By BotEap.com2. What countries have you traveled to? Website design By BotEap.comAfrica: Namibia, South Africa, Lesotho, Swaziland, Zimbabwe, Botswana, Zambia, Egypt, Morocco Website design By BotEap.comEurope: UK, Greenland, Netherlands, Belgium, Germany, Austria Website design By BotEap.comAsia: Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, Hong Kong Website design By BotEap.comSouth Pacific: Australia, Cook Islands, Tonga, Fiji Website design By BotEap.comAmericas: Canadian High Arctic, USA, Mexico, Jamaica, Cayman Islands, Website design By BotEap.comGuatemala, Honduras, Belize, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia Website design By BotEap.com3. Share with us your three best travel memories of all time. Website design By BotEap.comA. Peru -The last descent to Machu Picchu on the famous Inca Trail from Puerta del Sol after seeing the sunrise over the site, being the first to enter the site at sunrise and having a feeling of peace, harmony and strong magic in the air. Website design By BotEap.comB. Vietnam – Traveling through the countryside of Vietnam by motorcycle and stumbling upon a hidden and little-visited Buddhist monastery, resulting in a three-hour visit with a young Buddhist monk who learns and understands the customs of others. Website design By BotEap.comC. Namibia – Skydiving at sunset in Swakopmund on the coast where the Atlantic Ocean meets blood red sand dunes as far as the eye can see. One of the calmest moments of my life. Website design By BotEap.com4. What is adventure travel and how has it evolved in recent decades? Website design By BotEap.comAdventure travel used to mean great adventure when the company was founded in the seventies, it was the time when the ‘hippie-trail’ was in vogue and buses used to travel across Asia from London to Kathmandu with itineraries that largely they were invented along the way. Today is about the small group experience and experiencing a destination rather than just seeing it. It is about participating and understanding cultures, history and customs and being able to bring that experience as an enrichment to your daily life. Website design By BotEap.com5. Who goes on your adventure trips and why? What is the age, gender, nationality and income level of the people who take your tours? Website design By BotEap.comAdventure travel is largely about a passion for doing it. For this reason, it crosses borders of age, gender and income since the common objective of travelers is the experience regardless of their life at home. However, the largest demographic for us and the largest growing demographic are baby-boomers who have experienced traditional beach vacations multiple times and now have the time and disposable income to travel to more exotic destinations. Nationality is generally made up of mostly English-speaking nations, with a composition in order of numbers: British, Australians, Canadians, New Zealanders, Americans, some continental European countries, some Latin American countries, and the occasional Asian traveler. Website design By BotEap.comWe offer more than 120 countries around the world, usually almost everywhere. However, countries that are currently considered unsafe to travel (eg Iraq, Afghanistan) are not included, but we hope they will be in the coming years as the situation stabilizes. Website design By BotEap.com7. What type of accommodation is offered? Website design By BotEap.comGenerally speaking, we offer everything from budget 2-star accommodation to 6-star accommodation experiences in Africa and everything in between. However, what is common to all the places we stay is that they must be clean, comfortable, central and, most importantly, have a character that reflects the destination. Website design By BotEap.com8. How do these tours work for individual travelers? Do you offer a travel companion search service? What if I prefer individual accommodation? Website design By BotEap.comOur tours are designed with individual travelers in mind. In fact, 50% of all our travelers come alone. We match people of the same sex and they like the age to share and we avoid charging them a supplement. If clients prefer their own room, we can do it on approximately 60% of the tours, generally the most exclusive, but at a fair and affordable price. Website design By BotEap.com9. What about meals? Website design By BotEap.comDepending on the trip we usually include breakfast and some dinners but almost never lunch as many people like to go out at noon making their own discoveries. However, when trekking or in the countryside or where there are no alternatives, we will always include meals. Website design By BotEap.com10. What are the unique benefits of adventure travel compared to other types of travel? Website design By BotEap.comA sense of accomplishment, quality of experience, traveling with a small group of only ten people on average, generally better value than comparable bus trips, camaraderie with people who share a passion for these types of trips. Website design By BotEap.com11. What kinds of activities are offered on your tours? Website design By BotEap.comTourism is an important part of every tour, but beyond that, we want to include as many cultural experiences as possible, such as homestays with local families, visits to villages, etc. We also have many optional activities available such as rafting, sailing, jeep safaris, day hikes, etc. Website design By BotEap.com12. Are there adventure tours for families? Website design By BotEap.comWe now have tours specially designed for families to travel with other families where children are six years old and up. There is a large demographic of ‘late start’ families who never had children until their 30s. Many of these people traveled with us in their 20s or backpacked independently and now want to bring that experience to their children. They are not interested in introducing you to the ‘coca-cola’ culture that is prevalent in today’s society. These have been met with great success. Website design By BotEap.com13. Share with us some practical advice for someone who has never tried adventure travel. Website design By BotEap.comSafety is a state of mind. Most people who choose not to travel to exotic destinations do so out of fear for their safety while at the destination. If you follow the advice of your tour guide and are practical, almost any destination in the world can provide you with a safe and memorable experience. Where we have had problems with security, it has almost always been a disregard for common sense and advice. Don’t be afraid to experience other cultures, you will almost always find that your curiosity will be the best guide in spite of everything and that same curiosity will be reciprocated by the people we meet along the way. It is about learning and understanding other people as much as they need to understand us. It really shrinks the world. Our second biggest problem would be dehydration, when traveling to hot and dry countries or where there is activity like hiking make sure to drink plenty of water. Website design By BotEap.com14. How long do you travel yourself these days? Website design By BotEap.comUsually 5 or 6 weeks a year. It is imperative to my sales knowledge and experience and I owe it to my clients to be experts in what we do. All of our employees have wonderful travel opportunities, which goes straight to our company motto: Expert Advice From Those Who Have Been There! Website design By BotEap.com15. Where are you going now? Website design By BotEap.comThis year I plan to accompany a trip back to Egypt in April, to South Africa in May to experience some of our new properties that we work with and hopefully take a trip to Mozambique. Later in the year I plan to make my way to Turkey and outdoors from Patagonia to Chile and Argentina. Website design By BotEap.comThanks Chris for all your information and have fun on your travels!