Great Experience Travel Group was set up by its owner and Managing Director, David, in December 2007, and started trading in 2008. The name 'Great Experience Travel' came to him as his plane was coming to land at Hong Kong Airport, as he was on his way back from a business trip to Australia and New Zealand, during which he had decided that the time was right for him to set up his own travel business. In the preceeding 25 years or so since coming into the travel industry, he had been lucky enough to have enjoyed many great travel experiences, so the time had come for him to share the experience that he had gained with others. This is an ethos that is shared by the small staff team that work alongside him in the office, who have all travelled extensively, and have developed their own specialist knowledge of different parts of the world.
As an independent travel business Great Experience Travel Group can work with a wide selection of tour operators, bedbanks and flight seat providers to provide a comprehensive range of holidays. It is a member of the Freedom Travel Group, and ABTA, and, through the Freedom Travel Group, is authorised to create its own flight-inclusive packages under the Civil Aviation Authority's ATOL Scheme for your financial protection. All travel documentation produced as a result of booking online will be issued under the name of Great Experience Travel.
David - before setting up Great Experience Travel in 2007, David worked as the director of a number of specialist travel companies and tour operators, since starting in the industry in 1981. Coming from an originally French-family, he trained initially as a translator in German and French, lived in Germany for 14 months, before moving to Austria where he worked for 7 years as a ski rep/ski instructor, progressing to become Head Rep, Area Manager, and finally Regional Director for Austria, Switzerland and [then] Yugoslavia. He returned to the UK with wife, Debbie, to become the Head of Reservations and Administration for the tour operator he had worked for in Europe. He left after 2 years, and joined Abingdon-based, Sportsworld Group, spending the next 17 years working in the Olympic Games movement organising travel, event ticketing and hospitality for teams, officials, spectators and sponsors to Winter and Summer Olympic Games, and more widely to a range of major international sports event around the world. He has worked and travelled extensively. His specialities are skiing, lakes & mountains holidays, Scandinavia, Italy, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Japan and Malaysia, but also recently discovered New York. He is always working on new travel opportunities such as developing his passion for Austria, Switzerland and Germany into their own stand-alone travel brands, to be followed shortly by sites dedicated to Italy and France. He gives talks and lectures on many travel-related topics to different groups and including local FE colleges, and is also a Mentor to Final Year and Post-Graduate students at Oxford Brookes University, studying for their degrees in International Tourism and Hospitality Management. He is Travel Editor and lead-contributor to B4 - Oxfordshire's leading business-to-business magazine, and is Chairman of the Executive Judging Panel for the Oxfordshire Restaurant Awards.
Mandy - started working as a travel agent on the day after her 16th birthday, and we are far too diplomatic to say how many years ago that was - but certainly enough to give her a wealth of experience. She also spent a period working as a travel company rep in the Greek islands. Her favourite destinations include the Maldives, where she's visited more than 20 of the islands, the Seychelles, Mauritius but is also our Disney and cruise specialist.
Keith - is David's business partner, and as the Finance Director, is the one who looks after the money. Although an accountant by training, Keith's travel passion is for East Coast USA and its Civil War history, and Western Australia.
Debbie - is David's wife, who he met working in Austria. Debbie's family are Swiss, so she holds dual British and Swiss nationality having spend a large part of her childhood in Switzerland and travelling for many years since throughout the country. She is not unsurprisingly hugely-proud of her Swiss roots and heritage. She works part-time on projects related especially to the Experience Austria and Experience Switzerland Travel programmes, but has made it her life's work to try to teach David how to speak Swiss-German, with which she grew up, rather than the High German, lapsing into Austrian dialect, that David is more comfortable with. At home, they speak a mixture of English and German.
Daniella - is Great Experience Travel Group's part-time website and social media consultant. She too has lived and worked in Austria, as well as travelling extensively throughout Switzerland. She is an accomplished skier and keen snowboarder.
David and the team are supported by a number of home-workers and other freelance staff on a project-by-project basis. However, they are always on the look-out for suitable recruits to join the team from in and around the Witney area, but also further afield. If you have a passion for travel, and love the idea of sharing this with other people, then please use the Contact Us facility to send David a copy of your CV, together with your ideas as to how you could benefit the team with your knowledge. We are particularly keen to recruit country specialists who would like to spend their time talking to clients and promoting the particular destination that they know best. You don't have to have had previous travel industry experience, as relevant training can be provided, but you must have boundless enthusiasm and a commitment to hard work.