PUNTA CANA, Dominican Republic — As part of Travel Agent’s coverage of Travel Impressions’ “Best of the Best” conference, which rewards the company's top producing travel agents, we learned that the tour operator will be launching product in Cartagena, Colombia, on Monday.
Jason Naito, senior director of product for Mexico, Central and South America for the Apple Leisure Group, which owns Travel Impressions, told us Travel Impressions will be offering hotel brands in Colombia that U.S. clients are familiar with, such as Hilton Hotels & Resorts, Hyatt and Occidental Hotels & Resorts.
“This is really going to be for the seasoned traveler who wants to go off the beaten path,” says Naito. "We are excited to launch this because we've had so many people asking for it and now we can give it to them."
Naito also says Travel Impressions will eventually expand throughout Colombia, with Bogota and Medellin being targeted next.
“Education is always key for us,” says Scott Wiseman, president of Travel Impressions, when asked if the public perception of Colombia is still negative. “I think most people know that Colombia is safe now and it’s not the 'Narcos' (a popular Netflix television show) that some people think it is.”
The “Best of the Best” show honors agents who make at least $750,000 in sales through Travel Impressions. This year’s event, which was held at Secrets Cap Cana Resort & Spa, included 135 agencies, roughly 180 agents and a total of about 350 people.