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.