Meet the Boss – Claire Wilson, The Adventure Company

Claire Wilson, The Adventure CompanyFTU_1

This week in Meet the Boss we talk to Claire Wilson, Managing Director of The Adventure Company, one of the UK’s leading family adventure holiday specialists. During her seven years at the helm, she’s travelled with her husband and son (now 15) to far flung destinations including China, French Polynesia and Sri Lanka to ensure that the company’s adventure holidays deliver memorable experiences for families. In 2012, The Adventure Company merged with the global adventure tour operator, Intrepid Travel with the aim of introducing families all around the world to an unrivalled range of adventures.

* Where did you go on holiday in 2012, and why? Any plans for 2013?

“Last summer, we spent two weeks exploring the west coast of Canada. It’s the perfect place to enjoy an active adventure in the great outdoors – we walked on the Athabasca Glacier, hiked in the national parks and went white-water rafting. Spotting brown bears and grizzly bears was particularly memorable. We’re planning a trip to Burma this year.”

* What is your favourite bolthole in the UK and why?

“I love Dartmoor, for its incredible natural beauty. It’s a great place to get away from it all but it’s also very easy to reach.”

* If you could spend a long weekend in any city abroad, which would you pick, and why?

“My favourite city is Venice. It’s beautiful, unique and approaching it by speedboat feels very special.”

* Please tell us three items that are always found in your luggage.

“Insect repellent is an essential, a good book for when I want to switch off and relax, and a pack of playing cards for keeping the family entertained.”

* What one thing would most improve people’s overall holiday experience?

“If they’re joining a tour group, a few minutes reading the itinerary and the trip notes in advance can make a big difference. When you’re travelling to different places and taking part in various activities, it helps to be prepared so that you know what to expect when you get there – you’d be amazed how many people don’t. Plus, reading the trip notes is a great way to build up delicious anticipation!”

* What has been your worst holiday experience?

“Many years ago, we were travelling independently in India and my husband ruptured a tendon. There happened to be an airline strike at the same time and we felt completely stranded. It certainly made me appreciate how helpful it is to travel with a local guide!”

* Tell us your favourite hotel

In the UK: “I haven’t stayed there yet, but Gidleigh Park Hotel in Dartmoor is top of my wish-list.”

In Europe: “My favourite is the Parador Los Reyes Catolicos in Santiago de Compostela, in the Galicia region of northern Spain. It’s believed to be the oldest hotel in the world.”

Rest of the world: “For sheer luxury, the Four Seasons Hotel in Sharm el Sheikh is my worldwide choice.”

* What is the most exciting project your company is working on right now?

“We have been offering families adventure holidays on land for more than 15 years, so this summer we’re excited to launch something a bit different with a new range of family adventures along the Dalmatian coast in Croatia and the Bodrum peninsula in Turkey. There’s an experienced skipper on board so families can sit back and enjoy the voyage, or they can help to sail the boat if they want to. During the day, families can swim, snorkel, discover secluded beaches and take scenic hikes, then in the evening the boat moors and they can dine in local restaurants before returning to their cabins to sleep at sea.”

* Thanks, Claire.

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