About the Author

With over 20 years of experience as an executive in the tourism and hospitality business, Gavin Tollman is the CEO of Trafalgar and Chairman of The Travel Corporation in South Africa. Both companies belong to the family-owned group The Travel Corporation.

Innovating Guided Tours

Established in 1947, Trafalgar offers a wide range of guided holiday and tour destinations around the globe, designed to suit different ages, travelling styles and budgets.

Gavin Tollman began his career at Trafalgar in 1997 as President of Trafalgar Tours USA – leading the company that was soon to become the country’s largest European tour operator. Under Gavin Tollman’s leadership, Trafalgar Tours USA expanded its vacation destinations to include the Americas, Asia, Australia and New Zealand. The company also introduced revolutionary new products and a variety of novel choices in travel style and pace. Tollman later served as Global Head of Sales and eventually became the Chief Executive Officer of Trafalgar in 2010.

Trafalgar’s new line of products put emphasis on “seeing the world from the inside”. It aspires to offer travelers unique experiences based on local knowledge and recommendations that most tourists never get to access. The ‘Be My Guest’ program takes guests to authentic dining experiences, such as a meal at a Count’s estate in Tuscany or a campfire dinner with a life-long cowboy in Montana. The ‘Hidden Treasures’ feature takes guests to local, unheard of sights that are ‘off the beaten track’.

With the ‘At Leisure’ line of tours, Gavin Tollman addressed the question “what do people dislike about touring?” He learned that people do not like early morning starts, constant packing and moving from hotel to hotel and days that are too filled with activities. With this feedback, he created the relaxed ‘At Leisure’ program. Days start no earlier than 9:00 AM, each location is visited for several days and there is much more flexibility and free time.

Products in Australia and New Zealand

In line with the current trend of relaxed tours, Trafalgar added two ‘At Leisure’ tours to its South Pacific line of about dozen tours in Australia and New Zealand, starting from 10-day tours to the 29-day Treasures of Australia and New Zealand tour.

In addition to covering the major touristic attractions, Trafalgar offers experiences such as a tour of the Returned Servicemen’s Club with a local surf lifesaver in Bondi Beach, Sydney or a ‘Be My Guest’ lunch with a New Zealand family in their 750-acre garden at Morelea Farm.

Trafalgar’s activities in New Zealand have been affected by the Christchurch earthquake of 2011. The Travel Corporation donated $50,000 to the Christchurch Earthquake Appeal.

Involvement in the Asian Market

Trafalgar recognizes the increasing demand by Asian travellers for western tourism packages. As a result, the company has made significant investment into the Asian market, specifically in China. In a recent trip to Asia, Gavin Tollman expressed his commitment to the region’s needs and stated that guided vacations are the best way of turning holidays into remarkable experiences and memories. “At Trafalgar, we take to heart the desire of Chinese travellers to see the world”, said Tollman.

7 thoughts on “About the Author

  1. Gavin…my partner Jeff and I just had an amazing trip with Trafalgar. We did the wonderful France tour. Amazing. Check out our pics:

    Our tour director, Pascal, was incredible and so was our driver. I am spreading the word on facebook and to all my friends. Thank you for such a great time. Jason Jackson. Email: jasonjackson2020@hotmail.com

  2. Just completed a very superior trip with Trafalgar to Vienna, Slovenia and Croatia. Wanted to let you know that our guide was Marisa and she was perfect in completing her job. The adjectives that one would use to describe her work would include professional, knowledgeable, friendly, enthusiastic, nice and kind. I cannot imagine that your company would have another employee that presents and better and more positive image for your business than she.

  3. Dear Trafalgar,

    Now that we have returned home and are a week removed from our Paris Explorer 11-18 September trip, we are able to analyze the experience better. We have experienced in the past a number of very good and exciting vacation together and have thoroughly enjoyed each of them for different reasons.

    I can tell you from our past experience that we find the difference between a very good vacation and a fantastic vacation is mainly in the hands of the tour director/guide.

    In retrospect we would have to say that our Paris Explorer vacation was in the category of “Fantastic” almost all of that was due to our tour director/guide, Jonathan Holburn. Not only was Jonathan, intelligent, informative, knowledgeable, and professional he was enthused about showing us around Paris. He was able to get us into all venues without having to stand in line, but also when they were less crowded. The welcome and farewell dinners he arranged were superb as were the location they were held at. It seems like every place to eat that he suggested not only for us, but also for our fellow travelers, provided good food and service at reasonable prices.

    We were very impressed with this tour, both Jonathan as well as our excellent driver Gilbert. I want to thank Trafalgar for putting together this impressive team and providing us with a FANTASTIC vacation.

    Looking forward to using your company again in our future.

    Jim and Jeanette
    Booking Number : A901560

  4. Have done 3 Trafalgar Tours since my husbands passing and have all been good, first one was 2013 with Nick who I have since learnt has retired, the other two have been to Switzerland and Austria, then last December did The Christmas Markets Tour which was Germany Switzerland and Austria, and to my surprise have had the same TD on both of them, whom was Dr Qiu Moayad who is certainly one top TD Trafalgar should be proud t have him on board nothing is a problem goes well above the call of duty to make sure everyone has a great time and yes The be My Guests were excellent as well, he was brilliant with me in Zurich as it was my first time back there since my husbands passing and I was a total mess the comfort he gave me I’ll always cherish, his goodies he hands out going around on the bus is unbelievable and the knowledge he has about the different places is amazing so yes one excellent TD,

  5. In April we went on the European Whirl. For the most part we enjoyed the trip. Saw so many places! Trafalgar was supposed to collect our suitcases at our hotel door and get them to the airport. At some point my suitcase was stolen. We were left on our own at the Paris airport and told to make a report to the police. I was using WhatsApp in Europe which made it even more difficult to communicate. (The suitcase never made it to the airport so we never found anyone there who could help us) Trafalgar told us they have no responsibility and have done nothing except saying they are sorry. We can not believe that your company would treat someone on one of your tours this way or that you would want us to be treated like we were. It is very upsetting to lose everything I brought with me on the trip as well as anything I bought on the trip. This was our second trip with you in a year but do not feel that we can travel with you again now knowing that you treat people this way. Simply the Best – The Good Life – 5 million happy guests! I don’t think so.

  6. I am writing on our recent return from a January 11 trip to Peru to compliment our TD, Rudy Chalco. We have traveled with Trafalgar three times before this and all of our tour directors have been incredibly competent and attentive. However, just when we thought the bar could not be raised any higher, we met Rudy. I hope you realize what a remarkable asset you have in this person. Rudy was super organized, attending to all details big and small, efficiently and seemingly effortlessly. He was knowledgeable, funny and personable as well and his exceptional character showed in everything he did. There are multiple examples I could give, but there is one in particular that I think says it all.
    On the day before and the morning of our trek to Macchu Pichu, Rudy reminded us all several times to remember rain gear or to pick up a poncho from a street vendor, as it was likely to rain while we visited that day. Most of us heeded his advice. However, there was one elderly guest who did not bring a hat or a rain jacket in spite of the monition. Once there, Rudy took the more adventurous half of our group on a higher hike of the site while another guide stayed with the rest of us on the lower levels, the elderly guest included. The sky opened up and the rain was relentless. I watched uncomfortably as the rain poured on that poor woman, but I didn’t have a spare hat or poncho to offer her. After about an hour or so, Rudy returned to rejoin us. He took one look at that woman and without hesitation, took off his own poncho and put it on her. He was soaked to the skin for the rest of that afternoon. I will never forget Rudy Chalco and that lesson in kindness. Please realize what a gem you have in him.

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