After a quarter of a century in the industry, travel agent Ken Simpson has announced his well-deserved retirement.
Having recently turned 77, Simpson decided the time had come to retire from his role as TravelManagers’ representative for Caloundra, Queensland, calling time on a 25-year profession in the travel industry.
But this isn’t his first rodeo.
“At 52, I retired from a 33-year career in the public service sector and was faced with the predicament of what I would do next,” he said.
“I settled on the travel industry, and hence began a second and very satisfying career.”
Simpson ran his own agency for nine years, which he said was both commercially fruitful and an excellent learning experience, even if he wasn’t the best businessman.
After selling the agency, Simpson was introduced to the concept of TravelManagers.
“At the time, my wife was seriously ill and the independence afforded by the TravelManagers model gave me the time to care for her and maintain my interest in the travel industry without the pressures of sales targets and operational issues,” he said.
Through his decision, Simpson said he gained a second family which the TravelManagers culture has provided.
“When my wife passed away, the heartfelt messages I received from colleagues were not just words of sympathy, but genuinely came from the heart.”
Simpson’s business partnership manager, Karen Dowling, said he has been a pleasure to work with.
“He is very passionate about travel and looking after his clients, providing them with the level of service their loyalty deserves,” she said.
“He is always there to offer help if anyone needs it and has made the massive effort of driving to Melbourne each year to participate in our charity golf day.”
Simpson said his annual 4,000-plus kilometre road trip to attend TravelManagers’ annual charity golf tournament will continue despite his retirement from selling travel.
“The day is really well run, the company is always good, and it is a lot of fun – irrespective of my standard of golf on the day,” he said.
“It also provides me with the chance to catch up with family, colleagues and friends, both on the way to Melbourne and in Melbourne itself.”
In his retirement, Simpson said he is planning to work on his golf game along with reading and volunteering at his local school.
Simpson’s love of travel has provided many highlights from his time with TravelManagers, especially the travel he has undertaken with his son and daughter since his wife passed away.
“Another experience that I will treasure for the rest of my days was my visit to Flanders and the battlefields of World War I,” he said.
“The Last Post at the Menin Gate was so moving, and the trip afforded me the opportunity to locate my uncle’s name on the Tynecote Memorial.
“This was particularly poignant because I was able to describe the whole scene to my blind brother.”
Simpson said he will miss the sense of community that has been a key part of his time with TravelManagers – a sentiment that has been echoed by other members of the TravelManagers family.
“Ken is very kind, capable, loyal and professional,” Dowling said.
“He’s a great family man who’s very close to his son and daughter. I know in retirement he will enjoy more golf, more road trips, spending time with his family and travelling more himself.”