Midweek Interview

Midweek Interview: JAY AUSTIN, REGIONAL DIRECTOR OF OPERATIONS – CAMBODIA & VIETNAM, JOURNEYS WITHIN TOUR COMPANY

The challenge for the industry is… Maintaining the perfect balance of environment, social and economic sustainability in developing tourism countries.

The things I like about my job… Having the opportunity to explore South East Asia, working with an incredible group of people from all around the world and putting together awesome new tours that showcase parts of cities and countries in South East Asia that most tourists never have the opportunity to see.

And the frustrations are … Too many to name, but no where near enough to convince me to do anything other than what I’m doing.

If I didn’t work in travel I would be… Travelling of course.

Favourite airline? Virgin Australia – They were the first airline I flew with in Australia and who doesn’t love Richard Branson.

My proudest moment was… Watching the sun set from my first apartment in Chiang Mai and realising I had changed my life forever.

The naughtiest thing I ever did was… Giving up my life of stability in Australia to move overseas without a job, or a plan. Lucky for me it worked out pretty well!

I try to relax by… Walking – I enjoy wandering around Siem Reap in my spare time and just taking in the daily life happening all around me.

The last time I feared for my life was… Driving up a mountain in northern Thailand with rock walls and sheer cliffs either side of me, on wet, muddy roads with no traction, to get to a school we were helping out.

If I can, I always try to avoid… Tourist buses full of people.

I really wish I had… More financial resources to help students in Cambodia to get a decent education.

The best advice I’ve ever received was… If you wake up every day and something about where you live makes you smile, you are living in the right place.

I don’t understand why people… Only go to the popular parts of South East Asia. There is so much more to the region than Bali and Phuket. Get out into the villages people! Take the path less travelled, the experiences will change your life forever.

My greatest weakness is… Flights being on sale, I just can’t help myself!

And my greatest strength is… Being able to ‘make it work’ no matter where I am in the world.

If I won a $1 million lottery (aside from travelling), I would… Probably still work in travel, I’m a tragic, I love it!

If I was prime minister I would… Well I live in Cambodia, so, if I was Prime Minister of Cambodia… Oh wow… I would be terrified of the responsibility and overwhelmed by the possibilities!

If I could be someone else for one day I would be a…Circus performer! If you have ever seen the Phare Circus in Siem Reap or Battambang you will understand completely.

I’ve always wanted to travel to…Morocco.

My favourite holiday was… My first trip to Chiang Mai. It was the beginning of my inspiration to live in Asia and the start of a love affair with the whole region that has only grown stronger over the years!

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