Dreaming about the Himalayas, Working in Australia

Touring Australia for a living, but daydreaming about the Himalayas every day, we recently had the chance to chat with Simon Greenland, owner and founder of The Private Tour Guide based here in Melbourne. His success has continued since he started the business three years ago and his passion for all things travel was catching when we sat down to have a chat with him. Here's what happened when we picked his brain about his business, working in the travel and tourism industry and his personal travel plans. 
How long have you been in the travel and tourism industry? 

19 years


When did you realise you wanted to start your own tour guide company? 

Probably about 7 years ago. I'd done just about everything in tourism. Guiding, lecturing, training, marketing, management, itinerary design. Private touring was starting to become popular and a little voice inside my head kept saying "You should start a company"

How long has The Private Tour Guide been going? 

We will be three years old in September this year.


How many tour guides do you work with and in which locations? 

We have five guides in Melbourne as well as a guide in Sydney and Tasmania. We've also contracted freelance guides in Nepal, Burma, Thailand, Cambodia, Bhutan, Malaysia, India and most recently , Borneo.


What’s your most popular location for customers to book? 

The Great Ocean Road, The Blue Mountains, and The Yarra Valley.


Have you got any funny anecdotes to share with us that happened during one of your tours? 

There's plenty but the most memorable ones usually involve wonderful and random wildlife experiences with kangaroos, birds, koalas. 


Tell us about the bigger picture. Where do you see The Private Tour Guide company in 5 years time? Or where would you like it to be? 

I think we are tracking very well after our first three years with tours in three destinations. If we continue this path we should have around ten destinations covered throughout Australia, New Zealand and possibly South East Asia.


What keeps you passionate about working in travel and tourism? 

People - everybody has a story. Learning about people's lives is truly fascinating. We get to meet people when they are at their most relaxed (on holidays).


What is the next location in Australia that you would like to add to the The Private Tour Guide?

We've covered the key states of Victoria, New South Wales and Tasmania so it would be great to link Queensland and Sth Australia into our company.


What’s your favourite location in Australia to take customers to and why? 

I truly enjoy our extended tours that travel over three or four days along the Great Ocean Rd and into the Grampians National Park. I'm also a lover of great food and wine so the Yarra Valley always impresses.


What’s your favourite city in the world and why? 

Too hard to narrow it down to just one but here's my top 5- Kathmandu, New York City, Luang Prabang, Krakow and Yangshuo (Sth China)


What’s your dream travel destination?  

I think I must dream about the Himalayas everyday. There is no other place on Eart quite like it.


What is your dream destination that you would like to add to the The Private Tour Guide list of locations? (If different to the above) 

I think France is a country I think our brand would work really well.


Name your must have travel accessory. 

A pair of $2 Crocs. 


What’s your favourite leisure activity whilst your travelling/on holiday? It could be something mellow like lying on the beach, or something more active like rock climbing. 

I love to trek up any mountain so if there is one to climb, it will always be in my plans.


What’s your favourite travel app? 

I guess it has to be Tripadvisor, although AirBnB is a close second.


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