There’s not a lot of the planet The Traveller boss George Dennison hasn’t set foot on.
He’s seen the Great Barrier Reef, trekked the Kalahari, sailed the south China seas and stayed in some of the world’s most exclusive hotels.
He was in China before it “opened up”, been skiing in Iran, and has learned the common phrase “two beers please” in a plethora of different languages.
This knowledge, he says, as well as keeping up with technological advancements, is what has kept him at the forefront of the bespoke travel business for the last 30 years.
Based in Lancaster’s Sir Simon’s Arcade, The Traveller has built up a reputation as a trusted agent that can tailor make holidays to suit discerning thrill, or relaxation, seekers from Lancashire and beyond.
With business partner Anthony Pinwell, George, now 64, set up three travel agents in two years during the 1980s, the first two in Yorkshire Street and Queen Street in Morecambe.
He said: “My former business partner Anthony Pinwell worked in a travel agent and we decided to go into business together. I wasn’t going to work there, just fund it, but it was very busy, with people queuing up outside in some months. In the old days, everything had to be hand written, so I had an office of staff writing bus, rail and ferry tickets.
“The main destinations back then were Costa del Sol and Costa Blanca in Spain.
“But the world is a much smaller place now compared to what we had then and countries have opened up. Iran is a beautiful country. Then, it was a destination, where China was closed, now it’s the opposite. I think what set us apart was that we tailor made holidays. We still do, and I think that’s why we’re still busy.
“The ‘in places’ at the moment are Vietnam and Cambodia, but our main business is Australia and New Zealand.
“The most expensive holiday we have ever booked was a £120,000 round the world trip on Concorde.”
George said the key to staying ahead of the game was to move with the times, and provide a unique service.
“We’ve got a strong team, who have been to places themselves, so we know what we’re talking about. We can give advice on where to go at what time of year. “Just because it’s paradise in January it doesn’t mean it will be paradise in August. We’ve not really seen a recession here. The upper end are spending more, and the lower end aren’t going anywhere. But we will always do the best for whatever budget a person has.
“We get famous people coming back to us, the titled, TV stars, when they moved away they still come back to us. If you want something different you come and see us.”
George said the company has managed to keep abreast of changing technologies, incluing teletext, the internet, and now social media.
“I went to the university to do a course on Facebook and Twitter. It’s a great medium and you can have a laugh as well. You’ve just got to move with the times.”