Ted Dziadkiewicz, Founder, Contours Travel
Name: Ted Dziadkiewicz
Position title: Founder and Director
Company name: Contours Travel
When and why did you join the industry?
After driving for Contiki around Europe in 1969, I discovered no one was doing camping trips in South America. Hence, in 1975 I decided to start my own business and founded Bustrek-Camping tours.
What do you like most about your job?
I’ve got to say that meeting people is what keeps me going back to South America. South Americans are lovely!
What’s one of the biggest achievements of your career so far?
Seeing Contours Travel – as an expert in Latin America travel -last more than 40 years in Australia as a very competitive industry!
What’s the best advice ever given to you and who gave it?
Someone once said to me: you work on your business, not in the business. I always strive to take the best care of my company, Contours Travel, and of our clients – I think that’s what’s made it so successful.
Who do you admire and see as a role model in the industry?
Eddy Baldacchino, former Director of Concorde Travel. He has always been an example to me, being able to effectively lead such a successful enterprise.
What can people expect from your company and what sets it apart from the rest?
As Australia’s longest-running Latin American tour operator, Contours Travel boasts long-established relationships with our suppliers, ensuring competitive prices and quality service. On top of that, all of our consultants have either lived or travelled extensively through Latin America, so clients can rest assured that they are in good hands. We ensure a level of care, safety and flexibility in our tours like no other operator.
What destinations are on your travel bucket list?
Antarctica. I find its untamed wilderness alluring. I actually hope to travel on a cruise sometime there this year!
What’s a memorable travel experience you’ve had (good or bad)?
The first time I travelled to the remote communities of Peru’s Sacred Valleys I was appalled at learning that they had no clean water access so I organised a joint project between Contours Travel and the Rotary Club of North Melbourne and Rotary Club of Cuzco to deliver water filters to these communities. Travelling back there and giving away the first 20 filters myself is an experience I’ll never forget. Our tours to Peru continue to see this ongoing provision of water filters to local communities in need.
What are three things you always take with you when travelling?
A hat, good trekking boots and my lap top.
Name someone famous you’d like to travel with and a destination you’d like to go with them.
After watching Pirates of the Caribbean, I think I’d invite Johnny Depp to join me for a trip around the rum shops of Barbados.
What direction do you see the industry heading in over the next five to ten years?
I’m seeing a lot of interest for tailored tours and unique accommodation. Despite the rise of the internet, I believe tour operators have something no webpage can provide: human touch. Our expertise and specialised, people-to-people service will make the difference. Automated systems can’t create truly tailor-made journeys that exactly match each client’s needs.