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Q&A Lisa Bolton,
CEO Aurora Expeditions

The energetic and charming Lisa Bolton was appointed CEO of Aurora Expeditions in March 2009. Prior to joining Aurora Expeditions as Operations Manager in S2008, she was Project Manager at Carnival Australia. Expedition cruising is her thing and prior board roles include Chair of Finance for International Association of Antarctic Tour Operators and the Arctic Expedition Cruise Operators. Before the lure of the ice and snow Bolton started  her career in design and manufacturing, running her own business based in Queensland, Australia and Dhaka, Bangladesh.

What inspired you get into the travel business?
I am not sure it was an inspired move into travel, more necessity.  I had made an unsuccessful foray into the world of woollen clothing manufacturing, post this I decided that I needed more education.  I started my Economics degree by correspondence and got a job in Qantas Airways Call Centre in Brisbane.  The flexible hours really suited my study schedule.  It did not take long for my assignments to become focused on travel instead of wool.

What is the single best/defining thing about Aurora?
Staff  - both office and expedition staff; they are experts in their respective fields with over 150 years of expedition travel experience; collectively they have planned and executed over 500 expeditions to the most spectacular places on our Earth, often pioneering routes that others now follow.
 
What is the next big luxury travel trend in expedition cruising?
Group size: as mass tourism becomes the 'norm', discerning travellers will seek out opportunities to only travel with small groups on small vessels that will allow them to have a truly intimate experience with nature and the destination. 

  lisa bolton, ceo of aurora expeditions

What is your own personal litmus test for whether a hotel is worthy of the 'luxury' tag?
For me luxury is about size, the fewer rooms the better and a personalised service.
What are your favourite hotels/resorts? (and why)
The Aubrey Hotel in Santiago, it has an understated elegance, warmth and charm, exceptional service and only 15 rooms.
aurora expeditions

What is your favourite city to visit?
Santiago, Chile, it is incredibly diverse and offers a wonderful stepping stone to the rest of South America.

What is your best overseas restaurant experience?
Kaupe Restaurant in Ushuaia, Argentina:  a traditional family owned and run Argentinean restaurant looking straight up the Beagle Channel  - the food, the view, the wine and the atmosphere - exceptional. 
 
What is your favourite airline for business or first class? Why?
Qantas Business Class - I am just a Qantas girl! 

Aurora Expeditions

 
What three things do you never travel without?
Electric toothbrush - an absolute must;  a scarf which doubles as a belt so no need to remove during security and can put around my neck during a flight; travel insurance.
What is the one luxury travel experience you will never forget?
Kayaking with whales in Antarctica; this was my 'Aaaaahhhhh' travel  moment.  Antarctica is indescribably beautiful, not yet degradated by man and thriving with biodiversity.  I was paddling with a small group of 8 paddlers and a small pod of Minke whales came right up beside us and they stayed with us for at least 10 minutes - a truly amazing once in a lifetime experience.

What is the most important thing (travelwise) that money CAN  buy?
Travel insurance.

What is the most important thing it can't?
Good manners and a sense of humour.

Posted 4/2/14
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