Meet italktravel Newcastle West

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! 

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.


Newcastle West

Mindi Willis – Senior Consultant

Tell us briefly about your favourite holiday experience and what made it so memorable?
In 2003, I booked a 3 month trip from Kenya to Cape Town as a graduation present to myself when I finished Uni. Africa stole my heart and completely changed my outlook on life! I finally returned to Australia 4 years later, applied for a job in the travel industry and have never looked back!

Tell us about a destination you have always wanted to visit and why?
The Galapagos Islands – I’ve been fascinated by them ever since I was a child! I imagine it would be like starring in my own real life David Attenborough documentary...

What do you love most about working for italktravel?
What’s not to love!? Traveling is one of life’s greatest joys! I believe that stepping outside our comfort zone and experiencing something different makes us better people and makes the world a better place. It’s such a privilege to be a part of that.

How will you help make your clients next travel experience unforgettable?
I'm almost as passionate about logistics as I am about all of the incredible destinations out there! Of course it's impossible to control ALL the unknown variables when it comes to traveling (in fact, sometimes it's the unexpected twists that end up being the highlights); but at italktravel, our expertise and attention to detail will ensure your journey runs as smoothly as possible. So you can focus on all the other joys! Like exploring. And eating. And...

Jaclyn Underwood - Senior Consultant

Tell us briefly about your favourite holiday experience and what made it so memorable?
My favourite holiday experience was in  Berlin Germany, I travelled by myself and I found the city rich in culture and history the people were friendly and the music and art scene were second to none I really enjoyed immersing myself in the culture. I would love to go back some day soon.

Tell us about a destination you have always wanted to visit and why? 
My bucket list grows every day, the more research I do for other peoples holidays the more places I want to visit. Right now I would say Hawaii, I have been to the USA and most of the South Pacific Islands but I would love to explore the islands of Hawaii particularly to drive the road to Hana in Maui and a sunrise bike ride down Haleakala Volcano.

What do you love most about working for I talk travel?  
The team here at I talk we work together and pull our knowledge to really deliver amazing experiences.  I love working in retail, being able to meet with my clients face to face to plan the perfect holidays tailored to their needs. I enjoy learning of people’s stories and their reasons for travel both my clients and colleagues. I also love seeing the photos and hearing all about my clients travel when they return. Every day is new and different and exciting. I love my job!

How will you help make your clients next travel experience unforgettable? 
I endeavour to always ask how you would like to feel when you return from your holiday? Are you needing to relax on a beach for a week and want to return feeling rejuvenated and relaxed ? Or are you seeking to tick off some items on the bucket list? A trek through the jungle or to get up close with the big 5 in Africa?  Whatever it is I have a huge amount of knowledge and suggestions to make your next trip one you will be raving about for years!

Ellie Amerikow - Senior Consultant

Tell us briefly about your favourite holiday experience and what made it so memorable?
My favourite holiday experience would have to be travelling to Turkey with my now husband a few years back, where he proposed just near the historical ruins of Ephesus in Turkey which are one of The Seven Wonders of the World. The History and scenery was pretty amazing too, lol!

Tell us about a destination you have always wanted to visit and why?
There are so many to choose from of course but I would absolutely love to do a Gorilla Trek in Uganda or an Orangutan Trek in Borneo! These creatures just fascinate me and to see/learn about them in their wild habitat would be truly amazing!

What do you love most about working for italktravel? 
I love working for italk travel as this company seems to have such strong core values not only for providing unparalleled service to their clients but allowing a work life balance for their staff. Everyone (and I mean everyone) seems to work as a Team, this to me is important.

How will you help make your clients next travel experience unforgettable?
I like to make every travel experience meaningful, memorable and fun. It's the little details that keep a client coming back over and over again – I live by ‘service your clients how you would like to be serviced’. This type of experience is always unforgettable!