The Vice President of Global Sales for Exodus Travels, Andrew Appleyard, is not only a keen traveller, but he’s also an archaeologist, ornithologist, amateur photographer and wildlife enthusiast. Recently, he sat down with Rick Tocquigny to discuss his remarkable life in the travel sector, as well as highlight how proud he was to work for a dedicated responsible tourism company that allows so many people to go on their own adventures across the world.
Securing his first job in the travel industry
After graduating with a master’s degree in Archaeology in 1994, the travel aficionado secured his first job within the travel industry after leaving Beirut, where he had been working as an archaeologist at the end of the civil war. After working 18-hour days and living on top of a shelled out building in a hammock, he decided it was time to come back to the UK.
One day, he was on a train and saw a piece of paper on the floor for a travel company called Flight Centre. He picked it up, read the advert and gave them a call the next morning. During his first interview, he discovered that they were a new company in the UK, with only 12 employees. During his second interview, they offered him the job there and then – to start the following Monday. Appleyard spent 5 years opening 16 Flight Centre branches across the UK: “It was so much fun recruiting lots of staff, and I am still in touch with many of the people I used to work with.”
His introduction to Exodus
At one of the Flight Centre conferences in Bangkok, Appleyard ended up on the back of a truck with an Exodus member of staff, who then subsequently invited him to Namibia. Appleyard reminisces on the phone call to say his airline ticket was ready and waiting for him, merely a week after the initial meeting.
Too good an opportunity to miss out on, he went to Namibia, and on arrival back to the UK, Appleyard realised that he had had enough of travelling the country to open different Flight Centre branches. After this realisation, he had a chat with the guy from Exodus, explained this to him and went for an interview – and 19 years later, he’s still there!
During this time, Appleyard has helped Exodus to expand across the globe. The company went global approximately eight years ago, and not only has he opened offices in Melbourne, Australia, but he has also helped to expand their operations across the whole of Europe, South Africa, the UAE and India.
North America was also a huge opportunity for Exodus, so they opened an office there. Appleyard explained that it initially had 4 staff members, and now it has 21! “It’s been a massive expansion and success story – delivering the greatest range of adventure activity products into the North American market space.”
The secret to designing excellent marketing collateral
During the chat, Tocquigny asked him, “What’s your story behind your excellence in designing marketing collateral?”
Appleyard stressed that employing people that have a passion for what they do is key. At Exodus, they have incredible staff members that fly globally to get some of the best shots for their content. “One colleague has led over 500 safaris in Africa, spent 2 years on polar ships, and he designs all of our wildlife products. There is no better person than him at knowing when they can get snaps of tigers and polar bears.”
When they design collateral such as their brochures, they ensure that they are inspirational. In order to achieve this, they have utilised the help of an artist over the last couple of years. “She really got behind the DNA of the business – a responsible tour operator – and in fact, a lot of the profits from her billing for the designs went towards our numerous projects around the world.”
There is no doubt that Exodus have created some incredible video content in the past. Individuals can head to their website to witness Olympic athlete Crista Cullen embark on a journey with the pioneering female porters of Mt Kilimanjaro.
Appleyard also highlighted how up until a couple of years ago, Exodus’ porters had never witnessed Machu Pichu for themselves. That all changed, and Appleyard wanted to make sure that all porters and guides had the chance to witness it for themselves. This too can be seen in the wonderful content online.
Appleyard believes travelling the world is empowering, and that all individuals are adventurous in their own ways, even if we don’t think that we are. During the interview, he highlighted how those with an interest in food, for example, could book a trip to Italy to sample the delicious cuisine on offer there, or head to Thailand to take part a cooking masterclass.
He stated how proud he was that Exodus offer individuals the ability to see magnificent sights across the globe for themselves – from Angkor Wat to Maasai Mara. He also stressed that adventure travel does not have to be expensive. Some of Exodus’ trips are very reasonably priced, and they give people that ability to immerse themselves in other cultures and see parts of the world that they may have originally thought were inaccessible to them.
Appleyard also discussed the need to give back to the communities that Exodus visits. The company have started many amazing projects that harness the power of travel to create a sustainable and positive impact on the places that they explore.
5 quickfire questions with Andrew Appleyard
“Most memorable sound from recent travels? The sound of crashing waves in Madeira.
An interesting person from one of your latest trips? One of Exodus’ guides in Egypt, who was an incredible man with a passion for his country and job.
Favourite picture on your phone from your travels? My wedding picture, where me and my wife are stood at the bottom of Mt Kenya. There were no guests, but two elephants turned up at the beginning of the wedding and got in all the photos!
What food would you serve at a dinner party? A Middle Eastern mezze with a Turkish twist: Chargrilled aubergines, baba ganoush, hummus and homemade bread.
A memorable aroma from recent trip? Namibia – I visited the biggest seal colony in the world and could smell it before I saw it. A sensory overload!”
Appleyard’s passion for exploring will continue in 2021, and the destinations on his list to return to next year include Northern Cyprus, Sicily, Jordan, Nepal, Kilimanjaro, Tanzania.
Learn more about Appleyard, as well as adventure travel on Exodus’ website. There you can also download brochures and learn more about trips through their fascinating video content.