Dear Advisor Partners,
Even though we are still seven months out, the festive season of 2021 is starting look how a festive season should look. The months feel like they are flying by and everyone is dusting off their passports, finding those travel bags and getting ready to return to adventure. With inquiries starting back up, I get asked frequently, where are people looking to travel? Rather than tell you, let me show you!
Since the world started opening up, the requests have focused on several countries; Peru, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Ecuador and Galapagos, Colombia, Egypt, Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda and Rwanda. These areas are among the first to regain interest and spark excitement. With so many festive opportunities out of reach last year, the planning for 2021 is underway and agents, travelers and suppliers alike are eager and ready to get back to the road. In some destinations, space is already near capacity for 2021 and 2022 trips are being enthusiastically planned. When we first started down this arduous path, the conversation about when to talk about travel was a delicate balance, with many simply not yet ready to discuss travel.
Well my friends, fast forward to today and listen to the conversations now. Talking about travel is no longer in anticipation, but has become a conversation full of excitement, action and passion once again. Advisors are reporting that their clients are talking about travel, planning travel, and I can proudly share, actually traveling. Children are returning to school, fans are slowly being allowed back into sporting events, so it’s only fitting that travelers are emerging with vacation windows open, ready to put the perfect adventure for themselves and their families together, sooner rather than later. The path forward is getting clearer each day. Take a look at some of my private collections, known as Presidents Picks.
So enjoy the video, share it with your clients and happy travels!
“While we’ve been exploring, you’ve been waiting planning traveling!”
Many of you have never met Deborah Kilcollins, our brand manager. Yet I promise you all know her. If you’ve read any press release, read this blog, or have simply called the office, you know her. You see, she is the one who wrote them all. She has even wrote every Big Five Navigator Series®️ hard cover book, from cover to cover.
Well after 21 years at Big Five, Deborah is calling it a career and retiring at the end of May. I came to Big Five 19 years ago and met Deborah, who was already working at Big Five. I went up and said, “Hi Debbie,” and her reply was “Nice to meet you, and it’s Deborah, thank you.” Little did I know that this person, over the next two decades, would help Big Five with launching the Spirit of Big Five Foundation, launching Precious Journeys®️ family programs, and helping to shape the messaging you read to this day.
Deborah will still be coming into the office periodically as she embarks on her new adventure, writing a book!
Thank you Deborah, for the laughter, the tears, and for simply being you.
I wanted to share something beautiful that Deborah wrote to our team:
A note from Deborah Kilcollins
What do you say after 21 years in one job? Shazam….
Seriously, when Ashish asked me if I wanted to say something, I had no idea what that would be. I can say that this job has been an adventure all its own. I had worked as a freelance writer/photographer for years and in fact, that is how I learned about Big Five. I interviewed Mahen for an article about the company and himself, for a regional business publication. I was taken aback when Mahen offered me a job here. The thought of a “real” job, as my father used to say, was somewhat daunting. So when I started at Big Five, my thought process was that I might work here for maybe five years at the most, and even that was a staggering thought. However, it seemed the most logical course for me at the time. I began as a receptionist with the understanding that the job would evolve, and evolve it has.
Even as a kid, I dreamed about far off places. I took my first trip to Europe on my own when I was 18 with no real experience in traveling alone or abroad. What an eye-opening journey it was. I had a Eurail pass and I ran around Europe for a few months, often sleeping on trains to save money. I had no agenda beyond seeing everything. But that was just the beginning. Since then, I have visited some 60 countries. So when Big Five and I crossed paths, my friends just laughed and pointed out that if I had to have a real job, this surely must be it. And, indeed, it has been. I’ve added a few destinations with Big Five. My favorite and one that I would likely never have been able to do on my own was China.
Big Five has been an education all its own, and I have learned about dedication, loyalty and so much more. I wish Big Five all the success in the world and fully expect it to continue to be among the best. You have all taught me valuable lessons so to each of you I say with gratitude, thank you.
“May you have the hindsight to know where you’ve been, The foresight to know where you’re going…”
Dear Advisor Partners,
Have you ever seen tears of joy on someone just happy to see you? This past week, thanks to an amazing travel advisor who sent our first guests to Peru since the quarantine lifted, I saw that in Cusco. Picture an Andean story teller, sharing her wisdom about her culture, and becoming emotional as she spoke. She was overcome with joy that someone was there just to listen to her story, something that would sound unbelievable in any time except now.
Imagine the same look on a good friend who normally does all arrival services in Lima, who took a job in a call center in 2020 to provide for his family, vowing to return to tourism. Well, he was overcome with emotion as well, sharing his happiness about greeting his first guests in Lima since the quarantine ended in Peru with anyone that would listen, thanks to yet another amazing travel advisor. I got a good laugh when he noticed the arrival flight for the incoming guests was delayed and laughed at how he loved the stress, that he even missed it!
That is the power of tourism. It’s not just monetary, it’s the silent benefit – self pride. The ability to proclaim in the loudest voice you can, that Peru, like other countries, is on the slow journey back to full strength. Each success story means more, each happy guest means more, each moment of pride means more. Each person you encounter while in country goes the extra mile, even a restaurant in Cusco opening earlier than planned simply because a guest is hungry. Nobody said the road back would be easy, and you are allowed to quit the struggle anytime you want to. What I see in Peru and in so many other destinations, is nobody quit. Nobody said I am done with tourism. Everyone loved what they did and knew the time would return when they could go back to doing what they love.
Well my friends, in Peru, that time has come. This is a new Peru, a grateful Peru, a sincere Peru, and an emotional Peru. They are happy to see you again and say that you may never really know just how happy your visit made them.
Dear Advisor Partners,
Good things come to those who wait. Do you remember hearing that from a family member or a friend? Well, the same definitely applies to Egypt. On April 3, 2021, history was made. One of those where were you moments.
In Cairo, the world watched the Pharaohs Golden Parade as 22 ancient mummies of Egypt’s famed pharaohs were transported in a lavish royal parade to their new home, the Museum of Antiquities. After multiple delays when it finally happened there was not a dry eye in the house.
The production value alone with performances at the pyramids, Valley of Kings and Valley of Queens literally brought the country to a standstill. It was only a decade ago in this very same spot, today a beautifully lit circle, looked very different. Back then, the pomp and circumstance were proceeded by crippling protests and two new presidents. At that moment, no one could have imagined what would occur so many years later. I remember an emotional call with our Egypt country manager, who I value as a brother. He yelled out, “This is not my Egypt!” And midway through, he declared, “The world doesn’t have its hands in the fire like we Egyptians do!” How right he was! So you can imagine how powerful it was to hear him say these words once again during the royal parade. He couldn’t stop the tears.
This Indian and anyone watching the parade who knew the history of the past decade and beyond, was on that day a proud Egyptian. Normally our team creates a video for each blog that tells a story with snappy music and catchy words. This time we are all speechless and few words are necessary. Let us just enjoy the video of this once-in- a-lifetime royal parade that we all watch with pride. Begin your own singular Egypt adventure.
Dear Advisor Partners,
You know each event in history happens only once… Well, tune in to April 3 2021 when once again history will be made in Egypt. The ancient mummies are being prepared to be moved in grand fashion from the Museum of Antiquities into the Museum of Civilization.
In honor of that historic event, we have a new tour that allows you to build your own pyramid and even mummify yourself, minus the gruesome parts of course. Scroll down to see some amazing photos of this experience.
While we won’t mummify you or have you build a pyramid, you can see the mummies and go inside a pyramid. We just wanted to make sure you watch on one of the 400 channels that will be broadcasting the once-in-a-lifetime mummy procession on April 3, 2021. We can’t wait to see you in Egypt. Watch the video, then begin planning your Egypt adventure.