2015 marks the 100th anniversary of the Gallipoli campaign, making Turkey a firm favourite on the bucket list of more Australians than ever before. But the eight personal travel managers (PTMs) who were lucky enough to be hosted on an exclusive ten-day TravelManagers famil to Turkey discovered that this beautiful country has so much more to offer besides the well-known Gallipoli and Istanbul.
Wrapped up warm against the snowy weather, TravelManagers’ personal travel managers prepare to experience Turkey’s magical Cappadocia region from a hot air balloon. From left to right – (front) Tracey Cosgriff, Kellie Browning, Leanne Johnston, Jo Geary, Zoe Hemming, Kristina Acevski, Antonella Damiano, and Natasha Schurink
Maria Pandalai, representative for Townsville, Queensland, was one of those selected to take part. As a first-time visitor to Turkey, she says the famil has boosted her confidence in selling the destination to her clients.
“Turkey was amazing! To actually see the monuments of Istanbul, such as the Blue Mosque and Grand Bazaar: the magnificence of these attractions can now be relayed to my clients in graphic detail.”
The group of personal travel managers was escorted by On the Go Tours and Kellie Browning from TravelManagers’ National Partnership Office (NPO).
“We spent ten amazing days visiting Istanbul, Gallipoli, Troy, Ephesus and much more. We saw traditional carpet weaving and one of our group helped out the Turkish economy by purchasing a beautiful handmade Turkish carpet”, Browning says.
TravelManagers’ Executive General Manager, Michael Gazal, says the success of this famil reinforces the importance the company places on investing in first-hand product knowledge.
TravelManagers’ exclusive Turkey famil gave eight personal travel managers the chance to experience natural wonders like the Goreme Valley. From left to right, Front Row – Kellie Browning, Zoe Hemming, Antonella Damiano, Natasha Schurink. Back row – Jo Geary, Fran Codispoti (On The Go Tours), Kristina Acevski, Tracey Cosgriff, Maria Pandalai, and Leanne Johnston
“We encourage any opportunity for our PTMs to experience new destinations for themselves. More Australians are interested in Turkey as a tourist destination than ever before; by giving our PTMs the chance to gain first-hand experience of the destination, we are ensuring that they are giving their clients the best possible advice.”
The group were flown to Istanbul by Emirates, while On The Go Tours provided the land content. According to Browning, the tour company was a perfect fit for TravelManagers.
“Like us, they focus on delivering an authentic experience to clients. They seek out English-speaking local guides who are passionate about sharing their country so our PTMs were able to really experience Turkey from a local’s perspective – and pass on that newfound expertise to their clients.”
For Browning, Cappadocia was one of the main highlights of the famil.
The Roman ruins of Pergamum and Ephesus were two highlights on the TravelManagers’ exclusive Turkey famil. From left to right, Back Row – Fran Codispoti (On The Go Tours), Zoe Hemming, Jo Geary, Leanne Johnston, Kellie Browning, Kristina Acevski, Natasha Schurink, Antonella Damiano. Front Row – Tracey Cosgriff, Maria Pandalai
“It was snowing in the morning, which made it seem like something out of a fairytale. In the afternoon the weather cleared and we went hot air ballooning in the afternoon. One of our PTMs had to face her fears of heights to join us, but she absolutely loved it.”
Pandalai says the chance to visit attractions like the thermal pools at Pamukkale and the fairy chimneys of the Cappadocia region changed her perception of the country as a whole.
“My time in Turkey made me realise just what an incredible and varied country it is. I would love to spend more time in Istanbul as we barely were able to scratch the surface, but I now know how much more there is on offer, especially if you have a local guide like we did”.
For more information or to speak to someone confidentially about TravelManagers please contact Suzanne Laister on 1800 019 599.
TravelManagers visited Anzac Cove during the build up to the 100th anniversary of the Gallipoli campaign. From left to right – Tracey Cosgriff, Antonella Damiano, Kristina Acevski, Zoe Hemming, Natasha Schurink, Maria Pandalai, Leanne Johnston, Jo Geary and Kellie Browning.