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Meet the Best whl.travel Local Travel Experts of 2011

  • Ethan Gelber
  • 27 January 2012

With a steady eye on identifying fun, interactive and ethical travel experiences, the whl.travel global online travel-booking network taps into and magnifies the excellence of local tourism experts who. Alone, these experts are local leaders, but united they have become a forceful global presence for the right kind of tourism, sharing with major markets all the local opportunities that make a positive impact on hosts and visitors.

Their practice in experiential and mindful travel and their locals’ knack for identifying, explaining and sustaining the distinctive qualities of a place make them the perfect go-to people for travellers looking for unique ways to experience a destination. But sometimes, when travellers prepare to hit the road, they’re not choosy about where they want to go: they’re actively looking only for the best of the best – the best experiences in the best destinations based on information from the best travel experts.

To facilitate that process, whl.travel has announced the winners of its 2011 internal competitive performance review. Based on their work in 2011, four tour operators – one from each of four broad geographical areas – have been singled out as models for a set of whl.travel standards critical to the operation of their own businesses but also fundamental to the success of the global network. Assessment criteria included response times and customer service, maintaining an active social media presence and keeping destination Web portals up to date.

Staff of The Responsible Safari Company, Malawi

The whl.travel local partner in Malawi: The Responsible Safari Company (left to right: Chimwemwe Siyabu, Kate Webb, Dom Webb, Andrew Kayuni). Photo courtesy of The Responsible Safari Company

Malawi Triumphs in Africa

In Africa, whl.travel is anchored in about 40 destinations across 20 countries. Taking honors on this continent was the Responsible Safari Company, the whl.travel local connection for Malawi. Apart from demonstrating a strong commitment to community development through sustainable tourism initiatives, they have proven that they are serious about client services.

The staff of the whl.travel local connection in Boracay, Philippines

The whl.travel local connection in Boracay, Philippines: Go Discover Travels (left to right: Kristiana Jorjah Espiritu, Trudy Allen and Chaddy Cocjin; not pictured: Helen Atanacio and John Maclang). Photo courtesy of Go Discover Travels

The Philippines Shine in Asia and the Pacific

The whl.travel local partners in Nepal, the Philippines and northeast India stood out from the mix of more than 70 destinations in 26 countries in Asia and Oceania; however, it was the Philippines’ Go Discover Travels, one of the first partners to join the whl.travel network, that came out on top for their whl.travel Boracay Travel website. They also manage portals in the Philippines for Cebu, Palawan and Manila.

Staff of the whl.travel local expert in Corfu, Greece

The whl.travel local expert in Corfu, Greece: Corfu Sunspots Travel (right to left: Sandra Broedner and Chrysa Tsakalakou; Andronikos Moutos not pictured). Photo courtesy of Corfu Sunspots Travel

Corfu Takes the Limelight in Europe and the Middle East

Corfu Sunspots Travel Ltd, the whl.travel local expert in Corfu, Greece, ranked above approximately 40 other destinations in about 20 countries in Europe and the Middle East. What started as a small family-run business back in 1986 has blossomed into one of Corfu‘s largest, most reputable and successful agencies.

The staff of whl.travel local partner in Santa Marta, Colombia

The whl.travel local partner in Santa Marta, Colombia: Las Pleyades (Fabiola Duerig and Oliver Blanco). Photo courtesy of Las Pleyades

Colombia Conquers in the Americas

The whl.travel local connection in Santa Marta, Colombia, was crowned the winner in the Americas, where there are about 50 whl.travel destinations in 15 countries in Latin America and the Caribbean. The site for Santa Marta is owned and operated by Las Pleyades, a small company that is a big player when it comes to developing social and environmental travel.

“While every network is only as strong as its weakest link, it’s also as ambitious as its strongest,” commented Rob Shortland, CEO of whl.travel. “whl.travel relies on each local operator to help build and develop our shared global brand. If we want travellers to support local companies then it’s essential that their service standards compete with, if not exceed, that of the large global powerhouses. Add in a large dollop of local knowledge and we’re tough to beat.”

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Ethan Gelber

In addition to his freelance travel writing (Lonely Planet author, ex-AFAR Ambassador, Huffington Post Travel blogger and more), Ethan has agitated tirelessly for responsible/sustainable travel practices, family travel, keeping things local, and quality and relevance in publishing and destination marketing. Among many other things, Ethan is editorial director of the Family Travel Association, a co-founder of OutBounding, and tackles content projects for HomeExchange.com and RW Social, which produces the NY Trav Fest. Previously, Ethan was Chief Communications Officer of the WHL Group, for which he founded and edited The Travel Word (this now-independent blog); publications manager of the French government tourist office (Atout France) in NYC; and helped manage a Paris-based bicycle tour operator.
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awards, Colombia, Greece, Malawi, Philippines, responsible travel news, WHL Group news, whl.travel,

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