If you're a reader of our free weekly Travel Insider newsletter, then you've been enjoying our industry commentary, our acid sense of what is right, proper and fair, and our 'call it like it is' reviews of travel and technology items.
But did you know that Travel Insider David Rowell also has over twenty years of travel and tour planning experience?
Now, you can get the benefit not only of David's opinions but also of his experience planning tours.
David's Travel Experience
Like many of you, David started off his travel experiences as a too-frequent business traveler. After moving from New Zealand to the United States in 1985, he was regularly flying more than 100,000 miles a year around the US and internationally.
And when he wasn't traveling as part of his job, much of the time he was traveling for pleasure. When you live in tiny New Zealand, you don't have many opportunities to travel anywhere far from home, and the rest of the world is a very long way. So upon arriving in the vast US, and with Europe (relatively) close, travel was as much a pleasure as a burden.
Providing Travel Services for Others
David decided, in 1989, to apply his growing personal experience and love of travel to practical purposes, and formed his own travel company. Initially it offered retail travel services to people wishing to travel to Britain, and then it widened to become a full service travel agency, offering all types of travel, for all travelers, in 1990.
The agency experience revealed there was a marketplace opportunity to specialize in travel to the South Pacific, and soon David's agency - Anzac Travel Inc - was selling New Zealand and Australia travel to individuals and groups, both within the Seattle area and elsewhere in the United States.
Increasingly, travel agents from other agencies would call and ask if David and his team could arrange travel for their clients, too, and so the agency added a wholesale division, named Abel Tasman Tours. This division specialized in providing travel services for travel agencies to resell to their clients, everywhere in the US.
Further growth saw extensions into selling travel to Britain and Russia, with staff employed in both countries.
Still further growth saw the addition of a new company in Sydney Australia to source travel products directly from Australian and New Zealand suppliers, and then the addition of a customer service office in Auckland, New Zealand so that when clients called the Abel Tasman phone number, they'd often end up talking directly with a person in New Zealand. This was one of the very first call centers established.
Abel Tasman Tours grew to become one of the very largest US suppliers of individual and group travel to the South Pacific, in large part due to David's innovative development of new types of travel packages, including 'land cruises' and super value one week inclusive packages for only $1 over the price of the lowest airfare.
David sold the Anzac Travel Inc group of companies in 2000. They continue to prosper. He started The Travel Insider in 2001.
What Other People Say
Here is what travel writer and past tour member Joe Brancatelli said about us in USA Today :
My wife and I spent a week kicking around Scotland last month and every experience — skillfully arranged by Scotland fan David Rowell, The Travel Insider—was nearly perfect.
Read more comments in our Groupless Tour philosophy page.
Travel Insider Touring - Making the World More Approachable
We've taken groups of people to many different destinations since our first tour to Scotland in 2003. Yes, we've been back to Scotland twice more - and not just to the standard tourist circuit, but to rarely visited islands off the coast, even to the Outer Hebrides.
We've been to eastern European countries that were formerly Soviet bloc states. We've been to inland China, back-country Russia, hill-country Sri Lanka, and even to North Korea.
But this is not 'adventure tourism' for the hardy soul who likes roughing it and risking it. With us, we make your travel experiences comfortable and convenient, accessible and easy.
New Touring Concepts for a New Millennium
David believes - and Travel Insider reader surveys confirm - that these days, people seek a new type of travel experience.
Using his expertise and experience, gained during the course of helping many thousands of people with their travels over more than a decade, and building tour itineraries and concepts that are closely tested with his Travel Insider readers, he is now offering this new type of tour experience, combining freedom and flexibility with overarching structure and service.
Try a Travel Insider Tour. You'll be delighted.