Our job is to make your travel as well-planned and enjoyable as possible. Our expertise is broad ranging, with travel consultants, product managers, tour leaders and general administrative staff forming the team. Academy Travel also has its own office in Rome, headed by Claudia Pfeiffer, and in London, headed by Grace McLean.
Lynsey manages the work of our product consultants and provides administration support on all Academy Travel tours. She is usually the first point of contact for those making enquiries about our tours, processing your booking forms or sending you your welcome pack! Lynsey comes to us from the UK, where she pursued extensive vocational training in travel and tourism and gained fourteen years’ experience in the industry. This included time with one of the world’s largest tourism companies, TUI, giving Lynsey a unique perspective on all aspects of the industry, including airlines, hotels and corporate travel agencies. She has travelled extensively, from Europe to the USA and Mexico, and even to Egypt and Tunisia. An exceptionally well-organised individual, Lynsey also found time to qualify as a personal trainer and spends her spare time working with private fitness clients.
Jamal is a groups travel manager, working on all aspects of our clients’ travel requests. He comes to us with a significant amount of experience in the travel industry and has worked in Australia for both Flight Centre and, most recently, Avalon Waterways, the specialist cruising division of Globus. Jamal has specific expertise in our tours to Europe, the United States and Africa, all destinations where he has also undertaken personal travel. He has a passion for less-familiar places, such as Mozambique, Mongolia and Siberia, and a love for spending time surrounded by nature. Jamal grew up just outside Wellington, New Zealand, so he is also an expert in all that our close neighbour has to offer: he’s hiked across New Zealand’s volcanoes, seen its majestic glaciers and enjoyed horse-riding across dramatic black sand beaches.
Kathy is a groups travel manager, looking after clients booked on our open-age tours. She works mainly on our European tours, arranging flights, insurance and additional travel for those going to Italy, France, Spain, Portugal and Morocco. With an Advanced Diploma in Travel and Tourism, and more than 35 years of experience in the industry, Kathy understands the business inside and out. She also loves to see the world herself, and in addition to her travel to more familiar international destinations such as Europe and the USA, Kathy has spent time travelling around Australia and the Pacific, to Canada and to South Africa. This gives her a unique ability to empathise with our clients and to communicate the experience of a group tour. Kathy loves spending time in the great outdoors, walking her Border Collie and when time permits, riding her Australian Stock Horse.
Rebecca is a groups travel manager at Academy Travel, with a particular expertise in our tours to Europe, north America and Asia. She has enjoyed a varied and full career in the travel industry, from a period with Flight Centre to seven years spent working on super yachts in the Mediterranean, Caribbean and Bahamas! Rebecca has travelled extensively in Europe, central America and the Asia Pacific region, and particularly enjoys active holidays that involve walking and hiking. She has a number of cultural interests that she pursues in her spare time, including a love of reading, drawing and knitting, and Rebecca’s strong interest in design and architecture reflects an earlier career as an interior designer.
Jemma is a groups travel manager with Academy Travel, looking after flights, insurance and additional travel for our clients. With her broad experience in international travel, Jemma works across all our itineraries but has a particular expertise in our tours to North America, Egypt and Asia. With more than ten years’ experience in the industry, and numerous educational qualifications in tourism and management, Jemma pursued her love for travel by moving to London and Chicago. She has undertaken extensive travel in Europe and North America, but also to less-familiar destinations such as the Camino de Santiago, the Rocky Mountains and Guatemala. In her spare time Jemma is an avid reader and while she is working her way through the English classics, her current recommendation is Graeme Simsion and Anne Buist’s Two Steps Forward, about two people sorting their lives out on the way to Santiago.
Groups Travel & Product Manager - on maternity leave
Hannah is a groups travel manager, working on client travel requests and a product manager, working on the development of our tours; largely to Spanish and French speaking countries. Originally from the UK, Hannah studied Modern European languages and literature at Cambridge University and has twenty years’ experience in the travel industry, including time with Martin Randall Travel in London and with a local tour operator in France. In Australia, she spent six years working at Flight Centre before coming to Academy Travel in 2010. Hannah is the office linguist, with fluent Spanish and French, and confident German and Italian. She knows Europe well, lived in Mexico for two years and has had memorable trips around Argentina, a safari in Kenya and a south east Asian road-trip by motorcycle!
Damien is responsible for all marketing and event-related activities, overseeing our print and digital advertising and publications, website management and design, and client events. He holds a bachelor’s degree in tourism management from Western Sydney University, and worked on front desk for a large hotel chain while he studied. He is also completely up-to-speed with the intricacies of Google Analytics and Adwords, and is the first person we turn to when there is a problem with an office computer! Damien brings a fine eye for detail and a mix of creative and organisational capacities to his role, and has travelled to Europe and the UK, Canada, South East Asia and, most recently, New Zealand in his eight years with the company. In his spare time, Damien draws and paints, enjoys cooking and can often be found on the beach on a Saturday morning.
Stuart is a director of Academy Travel, bringing 25 years’ experience in the travel industry to his role. In addition to studying social history for a Bachelor of Arts at Macquarie University and communications for a Master’s at UNSW, Stuart has on-the-ground experience with a major coach tour company, for whom he worked as a tour leader. This took him through the United Kingdom, all of continental Europe, the USA and Australia. A founding director of Academy Travel in 2004, Stuart now leads tours with a focus on modern history and architecture. These include tours focusing on the 20th-century history of Berlin, Leipzig and Dresden and, in the USA, on Frank Lloyd Wright’s architecture. Stuart follows American political history with a keen interest.
Robert has 20 years' experience designing and leading educational travel programs and is a director of Academy Travel. He has designed and led many tours to Italy, Turkey and the United States, as well as travelling to Asia, North Africa, the Middle East, Russia and Canada. Robert's special interest is in Italian medieval and Renaissance history.
Fergus has more than 20 years' experience in the travel industry and is a director of Academy Travel. Fergus manages the retail side of our operation, using his extensive knowledge of airlines and fares to ensure our clients have access to the best travel options available. Fergus has many years experience as a tour manager for groups in Europe and Australia.
Mark is a groups product manager for Academy Travel, designing new itineraries and implementing their arrangements. He has a particular expertise in our tours to the Middle and Near East, Africa, Asia and Australasia. Mark has a broad history of twenty years in the travel industry, having worked with in-bound Japanese tourism for Thomas Cook, as a flight attendant with Qantas and as the coordinator of the study tour program at the Centre for Continuing Education, University of Sydney. A fluent Japanese speaker, Mark spent three years working in Japan. He has followed his love of travel through Australia and the South East Asia, most of continental Europe and the USA – but he has also enjoyed trips to lesser-known destinations such as Laos, Ethiopia and Burma. Mark is a born aesthete and always knows the best place to dine in any given city.
Robina is a groups product manager for Academy Travel, creating new itineraries, facilitating existing tours and liaising with tour leaders. She brings twenty years of travel industry experience to her role with Academy Travel, in addition to studies in marketing and advertising. While she works closely on our music tour program, Robina also has a natural interest in our tours to Italy: following her language study, she moved to Italy and spent ten years living and working in Florence. As general manager of Abercrombie & Kent Italy, she managed the Italian office and travelled the country from head to toe, meeting with hoteliers, developing exclusive experiences for clients and interviewing prospective guides and suppliers. Her role also took her on frequent trips to the USA and around Europe. Her creative outlets include cooking and reading and, with a Tuscan husband and bilingual daughter, she is the first among our office’s italophiles!
Nick is a groups product manager for tours to Italy and Europe, developing art-focused and study tours. He also coordinates Academy Travel’s lecture programs and special interest days. Nick’s educational background is in European history, and he gained both a University Medal and PhD in the subject from the University of Sydney. Before coming to Academy Travel, he taught European history at the University of Sydney, University of New South Wales and Western Sydney University. With ten years’ experience as a tour leader, Nick travels frequently to Italy, Scandinavia and Europe for Academy Travel. He is also a painter, exhibiting regularly at galleries in Sydney.
Kathleen is known to Academy Travellers as one of our most skillful tour leaders. When she is not abroad, Kathleen works as our academic officer creating and editing tour notes. Kathleen’s doctorate is in Italian literature, and she has a strong interest in medieval history and contemporary fiction writing. When she is not working on tour notes, Kathleen leads tours to Italy, the United States, Spain and Turkey for Academy Travel.
Claudia is the manager of Academy Europe, our Rome-based company which is responsible for managing relations with hotels and other suppliers in western Europe. Claudia has over 25 years' experience organising incoming travel in Europe. She speaks fluent English, German, Italian and French.