A native New Yorker with 20 years of living experience in Italy, Marco Evangelista, Director of Group Sales for Central Holidays, started his hospitality career with the Disney company. He moved within the industry, traveling extensively throughout the United States, North Africa, South Africa, and several European destinations.
Travel has always been a passion; hospitality is in the dominant gene in his family, which is almost entirely dedicated to restaurant operations between Italy, France, and the United States.
Joining the sales team as a Director for specialty groups returned Marco to Central Holidays; his original stint began in 1995. He is applying his international cultural experience with newly designed itineraries that focus on the experiential and discovery in all aspects of group and affinity travel to the group department.
Travel Research Online (TRO): Why did you decide to enter the travel industry, rather than follow in your family’s footsteps towards the restaurant and accommodations industries?
Marco Evangelista (ME): I was thrilled with the hospitality industry in general; my family was already involved with the accommodations and the restaurant aspect of this industry. The activity portion of the responsibilities of the Tour Operator summarizes it all in one. Therefore, I must say, the apple did not fall far from the tree.
TRO: Tell us about your day-to-day role at Central Holidays.
ME: My activity starts early in the day by keeping the communication going with our overseas offices, whether it is discussing new itineraries or coordinating our existing operations; this is an important first step of the day. I work very closely with my team. We participate in a number of work discussions to support the team with specialty requests we receive that can be accomplished with everyone’s efforts.
TRO: How is Central Holidays catering to the group travel segment of the travel industry?
ME: Our company has been working for a long time to maximize our support to our client network in the Travel Industry booking groups, from the creation of specialty itineraries, to marketing support to produce professional brochures, to webinar presentations promoting destination familiarization missions for travel professionals to train to become acquainted with the destination.
TRO: Central Holidays has “themes” for group travel on their website. Can you tell us about that?
ME: The increase of experiential travel has not spared the group travel industry; nowadays affinity groups are gathering more on common interest, which drives their interest to travel. We have been increasingly working above and beyond the traditional educational travel related to schools and Universities, venturing in agro-cultural interests, and mystical travel, just to name a few.
TRO: How can Central Holidays help travel agents booking for business trips, such as conventions or corporate meetings?
ME: To our professional travel partner we offer support in destination selection and the makings of a successful program. Our office has developed an in-house complete reservation system which facilitates the operation of medium and large meetings or conventions.
TRO: What can a travel agent expect when booking their groups and clients with Central Holidays?
ME: A Travel Agency can be assured to have a creative boutique-style service and a large offering of destinations in Central Holidays Group Department. Our staff has traveled intensively throughout the world, and we all share the common passion for this industry.
TRO: What is your favorite destination to date?
ME: Although Italy has always been our backyard with over 20 years of living experience, France and the Provence region offers quality programs with incredible culinary experiences. However, we cannot forget the Pyramids and cruising on the Nile, which I have experienced many times and is on many people’s bucket list.
TRO: What is on the horizon for Central Holidays?
ME: Central Holidays has launched programs to Cuba and Central and South America with some incredible group experiences and will be offering more outdoor group activity with biking and hiking to some of the most wonderful destinations in the world.
For more information on Marco and Central Holidays, visit them online at www.centralholidays.com.