Arthur Salus entered the travel business when he opened Duluth Travel Incorporated in 1993.
Duluth Travel is a service-disabled veteran owned business and one of the top three full-service travel agencies in Atlanta, Georgia. Duluth Travel provides government, corporate, leisure, and incentive travel.
Arthur Salus is known in the local and national media as the “The Travel Master” bringing his insight into today’s travel industry.
In 1999, and after many fishing trips to Costa Rica, Arthur fell in love with the country and created an U.S. Tour Operator that sells exclusively Costa Rica with offices in Duluth, GA and San Jose, Costa Rica.
Arthur knew that such a small beautiful country had the potential to make travelers feel safe and happy.
Based on that purpose, Arthur named the company Costa Rica Dream Adventures.
He included 24/7 in-country travel support for travelers to never feel alone in a foreign country. His team in Costa Rica handles the logistics and takes cares of travelers during their stay in the country.
The U.S. team works hand to hand with travel agents to plan the perfect vacation for their clients and make sure all details are well-taken care of before traveling.
Arthur understands the needs of the traveler, “when you listen to your customers, good things happen”.
Since they first opened, Costa Rica Dream Adventures has created memorable customized vacations to hundreds of thousands of travelers and has established a long and trustworthy relationship with their travel agent partners across the country.
Travel Research Online (TRO): Hi, Arthur. How are you doing today?
Arthur Salus (AS): Hello, I’m doing well. Starting a busy week but with all the energy charged from the long weekend. Thank you for taking the time to do this interview.
TRO: You started out in Duluth, Georgia, a little outside Atlanta in 1993. What services was Duluth Travel Incorporated providing clients at that time? Has that changed drastically in the last 25 years?
AS: We started selling cruises and vacation packages in Duluth and the surrounding areas.
In 1999, we opened Costa Rica Dream Adventures. I fell in love with the country and wanted more people to visit; and decided to expand by opening a tour operator business. In the year 2000, we created Level 4 Marketing Group that offers incentive travel and meeting planning.
In 2005, I spoke in front of Congress to support a law that allowed small business to qualify for federal contracts. It was important for me as veteran small business owner to call for more opportunities for service-disabled veterans pursuing federal contracts.
Since that time, Duluth Travel has provided services to government agencies like VA, IRS, TSA, and the DOI… among others.
As you can see from the past 25 years, our main goal has always been to provide the best travel experience and customer service to all our clients. During the past years, we have expanded with that mission to become the best full-service travel agency.
TRO: Why did you first get into the travel industry? Was there a particular moment that inspired the change from military life to the travel industry?
AS: After the military life, and retiring so young, I quickly moved into sales. I was into car sales back in the day and loved talking to people.
I also loved traveling with my family and enjoyed sharing my travel experiences with my friends. I pay attention to every detail on my vacations and based my recommendations in my personal experiences, my friends took my advice and came back very happy from their vacations. They insisted that I should be a travel advisor. I saw a lot of potential in the travel industry and decided to make a big change in my life and today I feel very blessed.
TRO: The travel industry has changed in many ways since your start. What do you think are the lessons that have carried on throughout the years — that still apply to today’s more technology-driven industry?
AS: Customer service. Even though technology is now in everybody’s life, it can also be overwhelming and time consuming. Everything looks fantastic in the internet. Pictures are stunning and reviews look promising, but what are you really getting? Can you trust what’s on the cyberspace? There is nothing better than a personal experience. People who have been there before you and can give you a mental picture of what to expect. Talking to a person and the help of the Internet can give travelers the confidence of making the right selection.
TRO: You created Costa Rica Dream Adventures in 1999. Is the fishing really good enough to kindle the idea for an entire company based there?
AS: I have fished in several locations, and Costa Rica never disappoints. Besides fishing and the beautiful locations the country offers, one of the main reasons I decided to open a company is because of its people. Costa Rican people are very friendly and know how important tourism is for the country. They will always give you their 100% and will make sure you leave the country with a big smile on your face. If you mix the excellent fishing, beautiful landscapes and good weather all year round and its people, I guarantee you will have the best vacation of your life in one of the safest countries in the world.
TRO: Unlike some other companies that offer up destinations, Costa Rica Dream Adventures offers 24/7 support in the country they send travelers. Can you expound on why you think it’s important to have this available?
AS: You never know what’s going to happen. I want people to feel they will never been alone in a foreign country. I have personally had some bad experiences in other countries and felt helpless. Having a dedicated person in country that will help you deal with any incident or issue you could have will make things easier for you. We all know that language barrier can be challenging especially in stressful situations. Our team is fully bilingual and will be with you every step of the way to make you feel better even in the worst circumstances.
TRO: It’s important for agents and suppliers to have a trustworthy relationship, which enhances the traveler’s experience. How do you keep this bond in business healthy with your companies?
AS: We think of our travel agents as part of our team. We work together to achieve the main objective that is to provide the best trip experience and customer service to their clients. We guide them to ask all the information needed and provide the information necessary for them to pass it along to their client. Our main client is our travel agents’ partners and all the tools necessary will be provided to them for them to sell Costa Rica. We want to make their experience easy and suitable with us in order for them to offer Costa Rica again to future clients and have the confidence to come back to us.
TRO: What do believe is the most important part of customizing a vacation for the traveler?
AS: When you build a program based on their expectation, preferences and likes you achieve the ultimate travel experience. You always must listen to your customers. Not everybody is the same or likes the same things. That’s the key of any successful vacation.
TRO: Cost Rica has seen an increasing number of travelers since 1987. Can you tell us any predictions you may have for the future of tourism there?
AS: According to Costa Rica’s National Institute for Tourism (ICT), Costa Rica welcome just over 3 million tourists in 2018. Most airlines now fly into both airports, San Jose and Liberia, and have more competitive pricing. I think the numbers will keep increasing, year after year. Costa Rica is one of the safest countries for travel and offers tropical experiences like rainforest, volcanoes, national parks, wildlife all in one place. You can have all of that in one visit.
TRO: Thank you for taking time out of your schedule to chat with us, Arthur. Have a great day.
AS: Thank you for getting us closer to our travel agent partners by doing these interviews. Have a great week and Pura Vida!
For more information on Duluth Travel and Costa Rica Dream Adventures, please visit: