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Frommers Travel Show Podcast
March 2014, Darren interviewed by Arthur and Pauline Frommer
Here are Profiles of Three Iconoclasts in Travel, Each of Whom has Followed Their Heart to Produce Unusual Travel Discussions
March 2014, Article by Arthur Frommer www.frommers.com
Travel-writing attracts strong-willed people. To cut yourself off from familiar surroundings, to spend months on end in foreign settings, to encounter lifestyles, ideologies, and theologies that constantly challenge your most cherished beliefs, is not the kind of life that most people choose. Recently, I've met (or interviewed over the phone) travel writers and bloggers who inhabit a world of difference, and delight in the challenges of their chosen field.
... Darren Humphreys, founder and owner of Travelsommelier.com, left an 18-year career as a Wall Street bond salesman to pursue his first love: wine-tasting in many of the best known--but also little-known--wine regions of the world. And although his website advertises luxury tours and safaris to places where wine-tasting is equal in importance to other activities and themes, he never forgets to describe the less-expensive journeys available to persons who love to drink the fruit of the vine: Oregon, Argentina, South Africa, Portugal and Spain. Here's a person who turned his back on more lucrative doings, and decided to pursue his primary interest.
Travel Sommelier at Nasdaq Closing Bell
As part of the lead up to the New York Times Travel Show we were honored to be invited to ring the Nasdaq closing bell. The ceremony in of itself is quite iconic, but it is the sight of seeing your self peer over Times Square post the event as they display images on the large electronic screens overlooking Broadway that is quite surreal!
The Red Rugby Tour: Springboks play Argentina in Mendoza
I have had the privilege of having travelled to some of the finest venues for historic Springbok matches and the experience in Mendoza for our Red Rugby Tour was right up there with the very best. The calibre of wines, the abundance of Angus beef and the sheer enthusiasm of the locals made for a very rewarding experience. Argentine rugby supporters were grateful that their team had entered such a prestigious competition and went out of their way to be gracious hosts, before, during and after the game. Travel Sommelier clients also had the opportunity to attend an SA Consulate function and meet past and current Springboks and team management which was a real bonus.
There was a much smaller than usual contingent of traveling Springbok supporters to this game, so in many ways it was no surprise that our group was so noticed and welcomed, but what did surprise me was how my cell phone lit up with messages at the start of the game when it became apparent that the TV footage had focussed on the Travel Sommelier group at anthem time! That, and the invite from the South African ambassador to Argentina to attend an embassy function to honor past and present Springboks proves again just how rewarding travel is: you have to be in it to win it.
Photos: Pictorial Gallery
Divino Tuscany: Sting's impromtu performance
This event just keeps getting better. Some things we can arrange (an added Tuscan Cookery Class & City Tour), others we can't (Sting's impromptu performance in the garden of his villa). Think about this: would you rather pay hundreds of dollars to see him in concert at a 50,000 seater venue or pay a few hundred extra and see him perform for you and a few friends in his back yard while drinking Tuscany's top 50 wines? Exactly … keep an eye out for 2013 Divino Tuscany dates.
Watch: Sting at Divino Tuscany 2012 (client's videos)
Special Interest Visitors Stay Longer, Spend More
August 18, 2011 | Travel Market Report, Destination Report by Dori Saltzman
Culinary and Wine Travel
Market size: Some 300,000 to 350,000 people (sourced globally) visit South Africa every year with wine experiences as a major reason for their trips, according to Darren Humphreys, president of Travel Sommelier.
Who’s going: Couples ranging in age from 25 to 49 predominate, while some older clients bring their families, Humphreys said. The 55-and-up market is also large for wine and culinary tourism, he added.
Few come for wine alone, but it is increasingly common to add on a significant number of days dedicated to visiting Cape Town and the wine region. “For these people, wine and culinary is not an addendum to a safari trip. It’s a bona fide goal of their trips,” Humphreys said.
Potential for agents: Wine and culinary travel is the biggest niche growth market in South Africa, in Humphrey’s view. South Africa’s wine region is one of the most visually spectacular wine regions in the world; it produces great wines, and the number of top-quality restaurants there is growing. “Visitors are just as keen to learn about South African food, as they are to eat. That means cooking classes and meeting chefs.”
Tour preferences: Ten days is the typical length of a Travel Sommelier itinerary, Humphreys said. Safaris usually constitute half to two-thirds of the trip, and Cape Town and the surrounding wine country the remainder. Wine-focused add-ons include VIP tastings, meet and greets with vintners and chefs, food/wine pairings, etc., and cost about $250 per person per day, not including accommodations.
Agent education: Exploring the Wines of South Africa website (www.wosa.co.za) is the best way to learn, Humphreys said. The site includes product information, marketing materials and more, and agents can contact the site directly for additional help.
To read the full article, click here: www.travelmarketreport.com