Meet the Explorers

Introducing the first six Ultimate Explorers…

  • Name: Richard Frampton

  • Agency: Hurlingham Travel

  • How long have you worked in travel?: 31 years

  • Bio: I started work at Virgin Holidays straight from school and was with them for 11 years. I then took a career change to work in fashion for a year but it wasn't for me. I came back into the industry and worked for Kinetics Travel when I really realised this was the career I wanted and got my first real taste of creating luxury holidays. It was there that I met my now business partner with whom I set up Hurlingham Travel in 2002. We worked at home from day one, which was quite a new concept back then, but we have always had the philosophy of creating a great work/life balance for us while being able to give a totally personal service to our amazing clients! I live in Stratford, East London, with my husband of 12 years and can't wait for the travel we all know and love to get back to normal.

  • Name: Jen Bekker

  • Agency: Travel Counsellors

  • How long have you worked in travel?: Three years with Travel Counsellors. Prior to that I have a Cluster Revenue Manager background

  • Bio: I live in the beautiful New Forest with my daughter, Jess and take every opportunity I can to travel, either solo or with my mini-me in tow. Travel is my work, passion and hobby!

  • Name: Ashley Grant

  • Agency: La Vida Travel

  • How long have you worked in travel?: 2.5 years

  • Bio: I am a Travel Consultant for La Vida Travel, an independent travel agency in Wales. Previously, I had always booked my holidays with La Vida Travel but with my passion for storytelling and experiencing new destinations, working for La Vida was the perfect match. I love inspiring clients to explore new destinations and provide the ultimate travel experience. I'm a fun, bubbly character with a yearning to learn new things and share my experiences with others.

  • Name: Lesley-Ann Birley

  • Agency: La Concordia Personal Travel

  • How long have you worked in travel?: 12 years

  • Bio: After completing my degree in 1991, I took a gap year travelling through Egypt, India, Nepal, South East Asia and Indonesia. This is where my wanderlust started. I then settled into 18 years in Finance as a Chartered Accountant, which taught me how important customer service is and always having an eye for the detail. Over this time I travelled extensively (both on holiday and with work) and experienced all types of travel styles from backpacking to staying in luxury hotels.

    In 2008, I turned my passion for travel into a business and set up la Concordia. I started with no knowledge of the industry or any connections, but knew I wanted to create a bespoke and personal travel company, which didn’t really exist at the time. I built my loyal client base purely by word of mouth. Each and every client is either a repeat client or has been referred to me through the kind words of others and I work closely with each of them on a one-to-one basis, booking all their trips from short breaks to more far-flung adventures.

    Over the last 12 years, I have also built up my extensive relationships with fabulous suppliers and my industry knowledge. Each year there’s always something new for me to discover whether it’s a country, property or experience and uncovering amazing finds is what I love, especially those that offer an immersive experience and sense of place.

  • Name: Olivia Chetham

  • Agency: Papillon Travel

  • How long have you worked in travel?: 14 years

  • Bio: When I started working in the luxury travel industry, I always knew that eventually I'd like to go solo - at that stage I wasn't sure if it would be on the travel agent side or hotel side. I was so fortunate to start my travel career at Caribtours, who took a chance on me having no previous experience, I was just 'passionate about travel'. After a few years working with Caribtours and The Private Travel Company brands I then moved to Abercrombie & Kent and worked in their retail store.

    Both companies helped me gain such great knowledge of the luxury travel sector and I was fortunate to experience so many incredible destinations through my roles and make great contacts along the way. It was on a holiday to Bali when I decided that I wanted to set up Papillon Travel - I realised that in order to sell the kind of trips I really loved and to work with both the well-known luxury hotel brands and the one-off boutique hidden gems, going solo as a travel agent was the perfect job for me. I love the fact that every day I'm still learning and there is so much more to explore.

  • Name: Ben Murtagh

  • Agency: Luxury Travel By Ben and Elegant Resorts

  • How long have you worked in travel?: 14 years

  • Bio: Dedicated to the Luxury side of the Travel industry, I am a passionate individual who loves to create lasting memories for my clients by offering seamless service and advice when arranging all their travel needs.

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