An expert in adventure and wildlife destinations worldwide, Jane Behrend started her own travel marketing company in 1989 after learning the business as an account executive in public relations and advertising sales. She started off as the Southeast USA sales rep for African Travel, Gametrackers Botswana, and 4th Dimension Tours before helping Volcanoes Safaris relaunch tourism to Rwanda and Uganda in the North American market.
In 2008, Jane re-branded her business as Emerging Destinations, a company that represents cool companies in cool places around the globe. She chose the name because her passion is working with areas where tourism is relatively new and still off the beaten path.
Born in South Carolina and raised in three Southern states, Jane is a graduate of the University of Georgia School of Journalism, and recently earned the Certificate of Hospitality Marketing from Cornell University. Together with husband Chris Behrend, she has raised two children and a foster daughter.
TRO: Tell us about your day-to-day role at Emerging Destinations.
JB: My job is to educate the tour operator and travel agent on our off the beaten track destinations in Chile, Uganda, Ethiopia, Namibia, Kenya & Tanzania … and Iceland. On a day to day basis we are visiting agents, conducting web trainings, working on e-news and attending trade shows. Every week is different.
TRO: Can you tell us about the Emerging Destinations team and what services they offer?
JB: There are two full time people – me and Jessie Bligh – both of us based in Atlanta. We have a great support team for assistance with appointmetns, database work, newsletters, accounting, etc.
TRO: How is Emerging Destinations helping travel agents stay ahead of the game?
JB: We try to give news in a timely manner and to assist agents with sales. Agents can’t be experts everywhere, especially with “exotic” locals – our niche is to help them sell and be here to answer questions.
TRO: Where did the passion for promoting little-known destinations come from?
JB: Really dumb luck. My first jobs in the industry were working for African and Latin America tour operators selling to agents in the Southeast. Once I went on an African safari and visited South America, I was hooked.
TRO: What new travel trends or experiences are you seeing pick up speed in 2017?
JB: Adventure Travel is getting more and more popular and the number of agents who want to sell it is growing. We are noticing younger travelers and more adventure travelers (of all ages). Iceland is ridiculously popular, travel Chile is doing really well and African safaris are selling again with a noticeable increase in business to East Africa.
TRO: What is your favorite travel destination to date?
JB: No favorites – every place as its own beauty.
TRO: What is on the horizon for Emerging Destinations in the coming year?
JB: As a company, we are working to automate some processes to free us to spend more time with agents. We are planning a whole series of webinars on our cool companies in cool places.
For more information on Jane and Emerging Destinations, visit them online at www.emergingdestinations.com.