Carol Dimopoulos is President of Perillo’s Learning Journeys and Groups where she brings her passion for education, travel and community service based programs to global destinations in Europe, Asia, The Americas, Africa and The Middle East. She is a prominent expert in both business and academia the field of niche market and transformative travel. She holds an MBA and serves as an adjunct faculty member for SUNY (State University of New York) where she shares her knowledge of business and organizational management with a focus on business ethics and women in business as well as global marketing and communications. Her enthusiasm and passion for transforming self through the travel platform invites travel professionals to think in new ways to deliver value to their clients by investing in learning and growing through travel.
Travel Research Online (TRO): How long have you held this position, and what made you decide it was for you?
Carol: My tenure at Perillo is over seven years. As a child growing up in NY, I was raised with the image of Mario Perillo on TV. My Italian mother always admired the Perillo family because they provided the US traveler with opportunities to visit the land of her heritage. When the opportunity arose, I was very grateful to join the Perillo Tours family to introduce customized travel and groups to the company.
TRO: You’ve been in the executive travel industry for 20 years. What are some of the most important lessons you’ve learned about the travel industry in that time?
Carol: I’ve learned that the industry is ever-changing, and that one must stay ahead of the curve to catch the next wave. I’ve also learned that true success comes not by competing, but by finding one’s own unique voice.
TRO: How important do you think it is for the travel industry to embrace community service based programs?
Carol: We can change the world through travel. Each time we visit a new land, we are entering as ambassadors. We have much to offer through the travel platform by visiting local community projects and learning about life in different societies. We can then share our stories, purchase locally produced products, and help create sustainable systems for the villages, towns and countries to grow.
By discussing the projects with our own networks, we can create long term education and commerce and contribute to growing a local economy, lifting people out of poverty.
TRO: You are also an adjunct faculty member of State University of New York. What have you have you taken away from the academic world that helps you in your position with Perillo?
Carol: The Learning Journeys brand was born as a bridge between academia and business.
Educators and families would ask why they did not have access to academic level learning experiences when they traveled. They wanted to learn about the cultures and societies through food, languages, photography and art, but were only exposed to an overview with no hands on experiences. Offering people the option to learn during a journey can enhance their skills and even carve a career path for children. Educational travel an investment for the future.
TRO: I think most people in the travel industry can agree that travel is a transformative experience. What are your thoughts on how travel transforms us?
Carol: Travel transforms us in many ways. It helps us to see that, while we may look and live differently, we are all the same. We are introduced to new foods, languages and cultures, which we can incorporate into our own lives. I was so inspired by a recent journey to Japan, that I am focusing on a lifestyle of simplicity in my home. Travel inspires us by opening our minds to new possibilities.
TRO: How does your position at Perillo put you in contact with travel agents?
Carol: We love our Travel Partners and I have personally had long standing relationships with the agent community that span 20 years. We offer new and innovative products for them to grow their businesses in the niche markets by focusing on what they love.
TRO: Does Perillo have any big news in the near future?
Carol:Yes..stay tuned, many new and exciting products such as a Presidents Cruise and cruise and rail options in 2019.