Who knows travel better than those who have dedicated their lives to it? In this series, 7travel talks travel & tips with industry experts. Learn the best travel tips, what mistakes not to make, and what destinations should be on your to-visit list.
The reasons why we travel are as vast and varied as are the types of holidays there are to take. When someone as revered in the travel industry as CEO of APT Chris Hall pays respect to travellers and the types of holidays they dream of, we honour that. Hall is at the forefront of making travel dreams into tangible experiences for travellers that turn into their most cherished memories. We spoke with him to learn what that responsibility means to him and how travellers can make the most their dream trips.
What does the business of travel mean to you?
When I get the chance to travel with one of our tours and get to talk to the travellers, I see firsthand that this is a dream come true for them. It’s so important that we treat that with a huge amount of respect. There are so many stories behind why people travel, and we’re just finishing the story by providing that lifetime memory. That’s the serious side of a really fun business. We don’t just put up a brochure and sell a product. We’re a part of the travel dream.
How can travellers be more respectful while they’re experiencing a new culture?
As you travel more, you realise that you have to do as the locals do. That’s when you open up to their culture and their way of doing something and you start to learn why they respect the land, customs, ceremonies, and everything else in their way of life. Doing so helps you stay in the moment and enjoy what’s around you. If you’re hung up on how things should be in your mind, you’ll forget to appreciate everything that you’re experiencing.
What are some travel trends that you’ve noticed in the last few years?
Thanks to social media, the brag-factor is alive and well, and that keeps travel to landmarks very popular. But we’ve noticed that more than ever before, travellers want to have different types of experiences on one holiday. They’ll want to meet the locals or true once-in-a-lifetime opportunities. There’s a massive trend about making travel about experiences, not just the destination itself.
When travelling, what’s the value in having those ‘touristy’ experiences?
There are always things on your bucket list, and it’s certainly fun to play the tourist and tick through those iconic landmarks. They’re what we see in movies and hear in stories. But as we mature along our travel journeys, we start to crave more. So while we respect the place of the touristy experiences and doing what we’re meant to do, we can’t forget to go with the flow. Have a bit of fun with it while you’re there in the moment!
Of all the destinations you’ve visited, what still sticks out in your mind?
Over the 30 years in the industry, Egypt as a destination still stands out. The history has always stuck out in my mind… and I visited Egypt over 20 years ago! I always go back to the same bloody question: how did they build those pyramids?!
Then the mix of wildlife and landscape and people make Canada one of my favourite destinations. If I had to choose a part of Canada, the Canadian Rockies is a favourite.
One destination I was surprised about was the Rhone River - I did a river cruise and was amazed at the Roman ruins. I could barely call them ruins - they’re in fantastic condition! These modern ruins in the south of France were beautiful and fascinating, and i always encourage people to visit.
What do you personally look for in a holiday?
I recently had a group holiday when there was a bunch of family and friends I coordinated. We chartered a boat and it was the best way to catch-up and create memories and experience new things with people who I don’t get to see often enough. But then there’s the straight relaxation holidays when I get to tune it all out and escape. So if I listen to what I need at the time, I’ll let that feeling dictate what kind of holiday to take.
Do you have any secret packing tips you can share with us?
I keep my business shirts on their hangers so i can take them straight out and hang them up as soon as I arrive without having to iron again.