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Asia and Villa Travel Experts

Australia's leading experts on Asia and Villa Holiday Travel

John Forsyth & Aileen Collins...pioneers of Asia Travel for 45 years

John Forsyth & Aileen Collins
Greetings from one of Australia’s most travelled twosomes!

To know a little more about us, the following is our history and aims. Aileen Collins and John (yes we are married!) owned the specialist tour operator Sydney-based San Michele Travel (Thailand Travel/Vietnam Travel/Indonesia Travel/India Travel etc) from 1972 and sent some 250,000 clients to Asia during that time. John was the first to pioneer Bali… taking his intrepid travelers through Portugese Timor and onto Flores and Bali in 1966/67.

He then opened up the world’s first open date trip Bali to London via India/Afghanistan and onto Europe & London. We were among the first into Vietnam and Maldives. Many of our clients are still dealing with us today (Seems to indicate we know our job!)   We sold the company in 2004 and moved to the Gold Coast, Queensland. Aileen stayed in travel and John started Houseboats Worldwide in lieu of playing golf. The new owners of San Michele didn’t really understand Asia & closed the doors in 2007.  

We bought back the bones of San Michele (including the 18,000-strong mail list) and set up Asia Travel Experts Pty Ltd & “Villas of Bali & Asia” to promote our favourite tours and hotels/villas. Aileen joined TravelManagers Australia – and was voted Best New Travel Manager in 2008 and in their Top Ten Sales Team 2008 and 2009. In addition Aileen won the prestigious Travel Weekly Australia-wide award as “Best Consultant for Asia 2009”. She then went on to create a little history by winning the award again for 2010.

We love to keep our knowledge and industry contacts up to date and during 2009/10 attended ITB Asia in Singapore… Time Indonesia in Lombok and the Vietnam Travel Expo in Saigon as hosted buyers. We also travelled indepth to Bali/Thailand/Malaysia/Brunei/Sarawak/Vietnam during 2009/2010.  Our policy is to maintain the tag “experts”.  We are constantly on the look-out for Hotels/Resorts & Villas with a difference – those preferring not to deal with large wholesalers & who would like their property given more exposure in Australia.

It’s clear Asia still presents huge potential for travel in 2010/11 and the areas we see developing are Southern India, Sri Lanka, river cruising through Indochina, selected “special” hotels and resorts with a difference and some of the lesser visited Indonesian islands such as Lombok, Flores and Sulawesi.
Read about our “Bali Bus”
Obviously… there is a huge potential to market Thailand/Laos & Cambodia & Burma after the recent problems.

In particular… we are having proven success with “Villas of Bali & Asia”… There’s  over 2, 000 luxury villas in Bali and Thailand… the current “world climate” makes the security of a villa style  holiday all the more appealing. In fact, our listing of Villas for Bali & Thailand is the largest & most comprehensive in Australia.

They say “you’re never too old” and at 84 years John F is keen to pioneer some new concepts.  Recently we travelled to Labuan Bajo in Flores and then again saw those incredible Komodo Dragons.
We have joined the UNESCO “New Seven Wonders of the World’ campaign to encourage voting for the Komodo Dragon..We achieved an unusual “first” by having a Komodo Dragon “chews a prize!”
Read about that in our “East of Bali” promotion and travel prizes to visit those remote islands and the Komodo.

A few years ago we sent prolific travel & food writer Ms Ute Junker to Sri Lanka and the Maldives which brought forth her articles entitled “Driving Miss Lazy” (Sri Lanka & India…) and “Mal-Diving” (Maldives) in Sydney’s major newspapers.  We’ve asked Ute to consider a new approach on travel – quite possibly offering an emphasis on Villa or selected resort holidays in Bali Thailand in particular, back to Sri Lanka, Maldives & India for an update, and offering more interesting selfdrive holidays throughout Asia… plus the less-visited islands of Lombok, Sumbawa and Flores. Another well known writer Graham Stephenson is writing great stories on Asia and Europe. We have teamed with him to encourage small indepth group study tours. Graham is also a world recognized writer on “Battlefields of Europe”.
Thanks for taking the time to read our Profile… Whether it’s a Villa holiday… a cultural & sights tour of Burma or Thailand or Vietnam… we’d love to assist.
And!… let’s not forget our “Blue Bayou” modern Houseboat at Sanctuary Cove – An Apartment Afloat.

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