With the ongoing COVID-related restrictions on travel, holidaymakers have been scrambling to find safe ways to satisfy their need for a getaway.
For two NSW-based personal travel managers (PTMs), this has been an opportunity to take their skills in creating tailored, small-group holidays to overseas destinations, and use them to design short breaks within the state for their loyal clients and to attract some new ones too.
Julie Painter and Michelle Schulze, who are TravelManagers representatives for Mount Colah and Grays Point respectively, have been organising and escorting their ‘Ladies Escapes’ brand of women-only tours since 2016.
Previous tours have taken groups of 10 to 20 women to a range of destinations such as Fiji, Vietnam, Sri Lanka and Nepal.
“Our next tour was to be a 12-day Greek escape, with an itinerary that included a three-night Aegean cruise and visits to Athens, Meteora and Delphi,” Painter said.
“We have even planned for our ladies to enjoy their own Mamma Mia! moment during a tour of Skopelos, which is where parts of the movies were filmed.”
With a sold-out departure planned for May 2021, they are hopeful that COVID-19 restrictions on international travel will have eased in time to allow the tour to go ahead. In the meantime, they are trialling a similar, women-only concept locally, which began with a three-day escape to the Blue Mountains departing on 14 August.
Schulze said the two were delighted with the response to the Blue Mountains tour.
“We had twenty spaces available, and all of them were snapped up very quickly,” she said,
“There’s been a hugely enthusiastic reaction from our clients, and it’s highly likely that we will be putting together more Ladies Escapes tours to our favourite spots in NSW.
According to Painter, the Ladies’ Escapes journées are designed to bring together groups of like-minded women to enjoy incredible food and experiences in amazing settings.
“Whether that’s in Katoomba or Knossos, we will do everything we can to ensure that our clients have an unforgettable journey,” she said.
Between them, Painter and Schulze have more than 45 years’ experience in selling travel and have seen many challenges and changes to the industry during that time.