Monday, April 8, 2013

My clients determine my travel destinations – Trevor Ward

Trevor Ward , hotel management graduate of  the University of Surrey is a specialist consultant in the hospitality and leisure industries. From the late 1980s , when he started his consultancy career,  he has specialised in the provision of advisory services to clients in developing countries, and since 2003 has been based in Nigeria.
Trevor is the Managing Director  of the W Hospitality Group with offices in the UK, Kenya, Zimbabwe, Nigeria and Angola.  In addition, he is one of the Africa representatives for TourismROI, the world’s premier Travel & Tourism management and investment resource.
His international experience includes advising clients on hotel and tourism development in more than 80 countries in Europe, North and South America, the Caribbean, Africa and Asia. In this interview,  with JIMOH BABATUNDE, he shares his traveling experience coming up with a verdict that Istanbul is the best place on earth. Here an excerpt .
Travelling interest
I have  been keen on travelling all my life – I loved going on family holidays to Malta each year when I was young – but I guess I would date the start of being a real “traveler” to 1983, when I first became a consultant.  I now travel virtually every week and I take at least 120 flights every year.
Choice of destinations
Largely, it is my clients who decide where I go, in order to carry out research and other studies for them!  I have been privileged to visit nearly 100 countries around the world, including over 30 in Africa .
Trevor Ward
On the destination he likes most
Istanbul is the best place on earth!
On why do he  likes  the destination
I first visited Istanbul in 1985, and instantly fell in love with it.  I now have a home there, which we visit as much as possible.  It is a fantastic city, full of life, with layer upon layer of history – so much history, it’s amazing!  The food is wonderful, the people are wonderful, we love being there!
On what he takes along on a trip
I travel with as little as possible, I hate checking in luggage – actually, it is the waiting to collect your luggage the other end that I hate.  Even more than that, I hate waiting for other people’s luggage!  So in my little carry-on bag, you’ll find just the essentials – change of clothes, toothbrush, that kind of thing.  Of, course all those cables and chargers you need for your laptop, i-phone, mobile among others.
On why he takes those items
We cannot live without our gadgets, can we?!
On what inform his choice of hotels.
In Istanbul , I don’t stay in hotels, as I have an apartment there.  Elsewhere, I insist on value for money.  If I am attending a conference, for example, I will find a low-cost , but clean hotel  with internet, because I spend so little time in the hotel.  Otherwise, a good mid-scale hotel normally does me just fine.
On his  best hotel and why
The Shooting Star Lodge in Zanzibar .  A small, beachfront lodge, simple but caring, truly relaxing in a fantastic environment.
On his  best airline to travel
I use so many airlines, it is difficult to choose just one, but I am really impressed with Asky, which has really opened up West and Central Africa .  They hub out of Lomé, and have made it so easy to get around the region.  They are managed by Ethiopian Airlines, with great service.  Most important, they nearly always run on time, which is incredible important to me.
On  where he will like to visit next
Not sure it will be “next”, but I would love to go to Madagascar , I hear it is a beautiful place, with some very special wildlife.
On  who he expects  to meet on a  trip.
No-one!  I like to spend time alone with my family when I am on vacation.
On the best person he ever  met on your trip.
Everyone is “best”, I meet so many wonderful people in my travels, and most important, I learn from them.