Marco L. Evangelista is the Director for Journeys by Central Holidays. In his role, a post he has held over the past five years, he is responsible for directing the company’s initiatives in the areas of Product Development and Sales. A time-honored travel industry professional, Mr. Evangelista has almost 30 years of specialization in travel throughout Italy, the Mediterranean, and beyond. Over his career he has served in key roles for award-winning organizations such as Walt Disney World in Orlando and acclaimed companies in the United States and across Europe. With over 20 years of living experience in Italy, Mr. Evangelista’s extensive insight into the country, a cornerstone destination offering of Central Holidays, and the surrounding regions is unparalleled and further serves to achieve Journeys’ objectives of creating the ultimate in bespoke travel by presenting tailor-made travel experiences that completely redefine luxury. The company specializes in creating “designer-style” distinctive and experientially rich travel programs where every detail is meticulously planned to make dreams a reality for even the most discerning of travelers.
Travel Research Online (TRO): Hi, Marco. Thanks for joining us for an interview. How are you?
Marco L. Evangelista (MLE): All is well, thank you for asking. I have been traveling in preparation for next year programs to create the most engaging and experiential trips for today’s travelers.
TRO: With almost 30 years in the travel industry, you’ve chosen to focus your expertise on areas around Europe and the Mediterranean. Does this area hold a special significance for you?
MLE: I have fond memories of the quality of life and diversified leisure time that I have enjoyed across the region. My life experience in Italy and beyond, as well as my extensive time living and traveling throughout the area, continues to drive my focus on delivering the most authentic of experiences in each and every one of our trips – always planning the most unique moments with authentic insight that delivers the ultimate local experience.
TRO: You obviously love Italy and the Mediterranean, but are there any other destinations that have captured your passion through the years?
MLE: One of my first work experiences in the travel industry allowed me to discover and travel extensively throughout Egypt – a destination that remains one of the most fascinating places I’ve ever explored and definitively one of the top “bucket list” destinations for many travelers.
TRO: What do you think is the most important lesson you’ve learned during your tenure in the travel industry?
MLE: It is essential to understand that the way we deliver “ultimate” experiences is extraordinarily different from others – these are not pre-planned itineraries. We have the insider’s perspective and are thrilled to deliver the most special of moments for our guests—from VIP tours, and exclusive experiences to unique excursions and simple yet unforgettable “transformational life moments.” We work meticulously with each client – always attentively and carefully listening to the preferences, desires, wants, and needs of our travelers to deliver that lifetime travel experience that is second to none. By keeping a steady course of conversation with our clients, and understanding their ultimate focus, we are thrilled to deliver exactly what the client is truly looking for.
TRO: Central Holidays Journeys differs from the rest of Central Holidays, in that it goes into the finer details of tailor-made luxury vacations. What should travel agents know about these hand-crafted experiences?
MLE: We truly need our agent partners to know that we are unique — Our destination specialists tailor-create your ultimate custom-made travel journey with an insider’s perspective as we mentioned. Traveling with us is about savoring the best meals you’ve ever tasted…enjoying rich and unique experiences…exploring history and culture on private or VIP access tours…relaxing and living the magic of each destination in your choice of distinctive accommodations…opting for the best in white glove service with private drivers, personal concierges, and butlers available to cater to your every whim…and that is just a taste! It’s hand-crafted travel tailored to your clients in a very special and personal way that gives an extraordinary new meaning to luxury.
TRO: Central Holidays has been providing travelers with getaways since 1972, which is definitely a “veteran” status in the industry. What do you think is the secret to that longevity in a consistently changing industry?
MLE: The secret that makes us different and keeps travelers coming back to us again and again is that each and every traveler matters. We strive to deliver amazing travel experiences, we listen, we grow, and we evolve. More than 45 years strong, we remain steadfast in our dedication to delivering the best in experience, diversity, value, and service, year after year. Our carefully selected team of travel professionals has a strong foundation in tourism and hospitality that continues adapting to the ever-changing needs of the travelers. It’s who we are – The Ultimate Travel Dream providers!
TRO: Travel agents are an essential part of booking experiences in customized travel. How does Central Holidays Journeys work with travel agents to make this process easy to book, and productive, for the agent?
MLE: Journeys by Central Holidays is ultra-unique in that we provide a solid combination of handcrafted planning and destination expertise, in-country offices with dedicated staff, and an insider’s perspective that is unparalleled! We facilitate and streamline the activity on behalf of our travel agent partners as we provide full-service support starting from tailor-made travel itineraries, negotiated air rates, and the support of onsite teams. Beyond that, we also offer as a bonus to our Travel Partners, our customized travel books and document set, which can be personalized of behalf of the Travel Agent.
TRO: Luxury travel seems to be on the rise, as more travelers are looking to avoid crowds at popular spots around the world and spoil themselves a bit. Does Journeys have anything to be released soon, or big news that you want to share?
MLE: We always strive to spoil our travelers with new ideas! With the strong, global buying power of Sakkara Group International (SGI), our parent company – with offices and destination management entities in Egypt, we are offering new experiential travel programs to this amazing destination. Egypt holds a special place in my heart, and with the opening of the new Museum in Cairo we are working closely with our Egyptologist guides to enrich our transformational travel offerings throughout the country.
Check back with us soon for more exciting news as we will soon be launching exceptional Latin American travel programs with our onsite destination specialists.
TRO: Marco, thank you for your time. Have a great day.
MLE: It has been my pleasure.