Meet italktravel Maitland

Julia van Huisstede – Owner / Manager

Tell us briefly about your favourite holiday experience and what made it so memorable?
I have so many “favourite Holiday Experiences” but one of them that stands out is a recent trip to China and my visit to The Great Wall. Something I have wanted to do since I started in travel and the moment I was up on the wall taking in the  sheer size of it was incredible. A warm day with unusually clear blue sunny skies made it even better!

Tell us about a destination you have always wanted to visit and why?
Cuba & Spain – both different but full of amazing food, history and culture. Just 2 of many destinations I want to explore and learn about. These days I travel to learn about how other parts of the world live, its enriching.  

What do you love most about working for italktravel?
The team I work with, across all four stores we have a vast range of experience and knowledge but most of all I love the fun these girls bring and the high energy to each work day!

How will you help make your clients next travel experience unforgettable?
There holiday experience starts from the moment my client book’s their holiday, we keep the client engaged and enthused from the planning stage to the trip itself. At italktravel its all about my clients holiday and what they are going to experience!

Karen van Huisstede: Owner / Manager

Tell us briefly about your favourite holiday experience and what made it so memorable?
I have so many favourites, however the one that sticks out the most right now is INDIA! What an amazing country, so diverse from its beauty to its history, the food, the people, everything about the country intrigued me. And the Taj Mahal was definitely a WOW moment and a huge highlight for me!

Tell us about a destination you have always wanted to visit and why?
I love the water, and for the last few years I have dreamt of going to Croatia. Id love to sail the coast and stop at all of the little towns along the way and wander through them, enjoying the lifestyle, people, food and culture.

What do you love most about working for italktravel?
I absolutely love working in travel, the fact that every day is different! With such an array of clients, I can be looking at a relaxing honeymoon in Mauritius one day for an excited couple and the next doing research for a family ski holiday in the Swiss Alps. I love what I do and being part of a family owned company means so much to me.

How will you help make your clients next travel experience unforgettable?
I love the fact that I get to know my clients, some becoming very close friends, so being part of their booking process for their holiday gives me a real incite into their needs. I then ensure their holiday experience is amazing and exactly what they want! I like to think that I do go the extra mile as there is no better feeling than when my client comes home and tells me how wonderful everything was and that it was hassle free! That definitely gives me a buzz.


Jackie Wright -  Manager

Tell us briefly about your favourite holiday experience and what made it so memorable?
Take me back to the Greek Islands, sun, sea, food & a life of no responsibility!

Tell us about a destination you have always wanted to visit and why?
Japan is high on my list along with New York, but that could change tomorrow – anywhere is always an option.

What do you love most about working for italktravel?
italktravel reflects my consulting style perfectly, allowing my customers to be at the forefront of my day.

How will you help make your clients next travel experience unforgettable?
Seeing as I am not able to accompany my clients on their holidays, I will just have to share my experiences and knowledge, to ensure their holiday is one they will always remember.

Rebecca Cowled – Senior Consultant

Tell us briefly about your favourite holiday experience and what made it so memorable?
My favourite holiday destination so far has to be Tahiti, this was my honeymoon and staying in an overwater bungalow at Bora Bora was definitely very memorable!

Tell us about a destination you have always wanted to visit and why?
Sabah, seeing the orangutans and experiencing the culture whilst having a lovely beach holiday escape at the same time

What do you love most about working for italktravel?
Working for a family owned business is great in the travel industry, I am able to work part-time whilst my two boys are young so this allows me to keep-up with this every changing industry which I love being apart of.  

How will you help make your clients next travel experience unforgettable?
I like to give my personal touch to my clients and put myself in their shoes, to turn their travel ideas into a dream holiday, tailor made just for them to make it unforgettable!

Kim Pankiw – Senior Consultant

Tell us briefly about your favourite holiday experience and what made it so memorable?
Our honeymoon to Italy, we had such a wonderful time enjoying driving ourselves through so many beautiful towns and villages . The Italian people, culture and amazing countryside made it the perfect honeymoon destination. We particularly loved the Cinque Terre.

Tell us about a destination you have always wanted to visit and why?
I would love to visit the Cook Islands, to see just  how crystal clear that water really is.

What do you love most about working for italktravel?
I love that italktravel is a small family owned and operated business. All our staff are so friendly and always willing to help.

How will you help make your clients next travel experience unforgettable?
My passion for travel, combined with 18+ years’ experience as a travel consultant will assist me to plan their dream holiday. What I love is sharing my knowledge and experience and helping clients in making their holiday dreams come true.

Hayley Lyson - Senior Travel Consultant

Tell us briefly about your favourite holiday experience and what made it so memorable?
I have so many favourite holiday destinations, for many different reasons, but I would have to say a stand out was Canada. I have been very fortunate to experience Scenic throughout Egypt, a Europe River Cruise and Western Canada. Here I was been able to tick off amazing bucket list items such as seeing it snow over Lake Louise,  the delicious food on board Gold Leaf Rocky Mountaineer, drinking glacial water from the Athabasca Glacier and seeing a wild Grizzly Bear from a Harley Davidson side car. Not to  mention the ever so stunning Fairmont properties that Scenic stay at!

Tell us about a destination you have always wanted to visit and why?
Cuba! From Salsa Dancing lessons to the Classic Cars, and White Sandy Beaches to the Flavours of the Food, there is so much about Cuba’s hidden secrets that I find so intriguing! There are several tours that I have ear-marked and I really hope to get to Cuba before the mystery subsides.

What do you love most about working for italktravel?
I love the wealth of knowledge amongst the entire italktravel family! Having several locations means we have so many staff that we can simply call upon for tips and tricks or up to date insider information if someone has just returned from an exciting trip! I also love that all staff are encouraged to experience the world and see as much as we can as this is the best way to give our clients their best experiences!

How will you help make your clients next travel experience unforgettable?
My favourite part of travel is experiencing the culture! I love to recommend and include walking or cycling tours, food tours or cultural shows to be able to give my clients the best possible experiences, where ever they are off to! To be able to taste local cuisine in a hidden local market or be taken to a hidden pristine beach by a local is really what makes travelling an amazing life changing experience!

Ashley Burgess - Travel Consultant

Tell us briefly about your favourite holiday experience and what made it so memorable?
I have so many holiday experiences I will never forget from snorkelling in the Caribbean, learning Salsa in Cuba, Viewing NYC from above in a helicopter & eating Gelato at the Trevi Fountain. 

Tell us about a destination you have always wanted to visit and why?
I have always wanted to travel through South America to see the Salt Flats, Trek the Inca trail to Machu Picchu  & visit Iguassu Falls! These adventures are definitely next on my travel to do list.  

What do you love most about working for italktravel?
I love working for italktravel, It allows me to talk  about travel all day long. I learn about new destinations from my clients which is very exciting as well as exchanging my own travel stories and recommendations with them. 

How will you help make your clients next travel experience unforgettable?
I thrive off the excitement my clients have for their upcoming holiday and when they return to share their experiences with me! 

Mark van Huisstede – Director

I have been in family business my whole life but in other industries (namely the joinery and window manufacturing  industry) and am proud to be able to say that Hunter Global Travel trading as italktravel Maitland, Rutherford and Newcastle West is also a family run business that I created with my sister and business partner in 2006. Both Karen and I along with my wife Julia are heavily involved in the day to day operations of the travel agencies with my role in the business being the relationship liaison with all our suppliers and business stakeholders, management, HR, Marketing, events and community involvement which I enjoy and do a lot of. I am a member of BNI Express and we are a group of like minded small business owners who network together to support not only our business but that of those around us in our communities.

Travel is a passion of mine and one that I haven been fortunate enough to do a lot of since being in the travel industry. I enjoy traveling with my wife and family and have already created many lifetime memories, something that I am passionate about and encourage others to do so themselves. This industry is exciting and every day presents something new, its one of the many reasons I hope to continue doing this for many years to come!