In July of 1841, when Baptist minister, Thomas Cook, arranged to take 540 temperance campaigners from the
By the 1860s he was offering “grand circular tours” to exotic destinations such as
Nearly 80 years after Cook’s “experiment” in
Collette Vacations has come a long way in the 90-plus years since that first trip to
As with the personnel at any tour company, Collette’s employees are passionate about their business. Perhaps the great Scottish writer, Robert Louis Stevenson, expressed it best when he wrote, “For my part, I travel not to go anywhere, but to go. I travel for travel’s sake. The great affair is to move.” That is a philosophy shared by everyone at Collette.
Executive Vice-President for Sales, Kevin Kramich, says, “We sell fun. We sell dreams. The entire world is our product. What could be better than that?”
Though Kramich is the quintessential salesman, there is something deeper, something more innate about his personality that transcends simply traveling the globe. It is a universal commitment that exists within the soul of every Collette employee, all the way up to its CEO, Dan Sullivan, Jr.
It is impossible to see much of the world without coming to the realization that a large percentage of our planet is comprised of humanity that is in dire need of the basic essentials for survival. Not just a small percentage of the people who inhabit the earth, but a majority of the world’s population.
Dan Sullivan, who has been traveling all of his life, was on a trip to
As Sullivan recalls, “I was troubled by their diets, made up of mainly potatoes. I was disturbed by the fact that their school lacked the basic supplies needed to engage the children in learning. And, I was disappointed in myself knowing that while I have traveled extensively, I somehow managed to miss the opportunity to help the partner communities we visited.”
Inspired by the need to give back to the world that had given so much to him, the Collette CEO went to work. On the eve of the company’s 90thanniversary in 2007, Sullivan launched the Collette Foundation, an employee-run, global initiative connecting Collette employees, its partners, travelers and communities worldwide to improve the quality of life of children.
Today, roughly 150 employee volunteers, 25-percent of Collette’s workforce, manage projects that bring renewed hope to children in 15 countries including four projects in the
“As the CEO of Collette Vacations, my mission has always been focused on trying to show the best our world has to offer, on giving travelers a unique perspective or insight into a destination,” says Sullivan.
The Collette Foundation is the second organization founded by the company as a means of assisting people who are struggling to survive throughout the world. The first, the Alice I. Sullivan Foundation, established by Dan’s mother in 1997 provides grants for work with the homeless, youth mentoring and issues affecting seniors. It also coordinates employee donations of time and talent.
Many of Collette’s itineraries include a visit to one of their projects if a particular destination is near the site of one of its projects. One example is Mother Teresa’s Charity Home in
Another positive aspect of Collette’s benefits for its clients is the internal insurance it offers. Not only is the coverage reasonably priced, the most valuable feature is that it allows travelers to cancel for a full refund for any reason right up to the day before departure, no questions asked. When the attacks of 9/11 took place in 2001, Collette refunded millions of dollars as a result of their unique insurance policy.
To be sure there are numerous tour operators from which to choose. Some are more upscale and deluxe, while others cater to those on a budget. However, when it comes to providing superb value combined with cultural awareness, not only for the traveler, but for people throughout the world, Collette Vacations is difficult to beat.
Mr. Cook would have been proud to see what his traveling innovation has accomplished nearly 200 years later, and Collette Vacations certainly would not make him a “doubting Thomas. http://www.collettevacations.com/
Peabod is Bob Taylor, owner of Taylored Media Services in Charlotte, NC, founder of The Magellan Travel Club which creates and escorts customized tours to Switzerland, France and Italy for groups of 12 or more. Inquiries for groups can be made at Peabod@aol.com Taylored media has produced marketing videos for British Rail, Rail Europe, Switzerland Tourism, the Swedish Travel & Tourism Council, the Finnish Tourist Board, the Swiss Travel System and Japan Railways Group among others. As author of The Century Club book, Peabod is now attempting to travel to 100 countries or more during his lifetime. To date he has visited 69 countries. Suggest someplace new for Bob to visit; if you want to know where he has been, check his list on Facebook. Bob plans to write a sequel to his book when he reaches his goal of 100 countries.
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