Where the experts holiday: Richard Church of Battered Suitcase

By | Category: Travel tips & opinions

Richard Church, Battered SuitcaseJust About Travel talks to Richard Church, historian and founder of Battered-Suitcase.com, which specialises in bespoke tours for the independent traveller to UNESCO World Heritage Sites and historic and cultural destinations across the globe.

What made you want to work in the travel industry?

I have always loved travel and I get a great kick out of sharing some of the experiences I have enjoyed and being able to pass on tips and advice. Of course this works the other way and I enjoy talking to guests about their experiences.

What is your background?

As well as being a historian, I have a very varied background both in the media and in managing travel arrangements. It was a combination of all these skill sets that created Battered-suitcase.com

Why the switch from history to travel?

I haven’t, I combined the two.

Do you plan to stay in heritage travel or expand?

Battered will always work in the heritage and culture arena, it’s what’s we know and love.

Which country or destination did you most enjoy and why?

I don’t have a first choice I just love to explore, for me travel is such an adventure with so many exciting people and places to discover.

Do you find that the demand for heritage travel is growing?

There is still a very niche market for our product but interest is growing, it’s always being fed by great TV and radio programmes and print articles.

Has the effect of cultural destruction at Palmyra and other places or the introduction of restrictions at Machu Picchu and in Cambodia affected visitor interest in seeing places in case they are not available in the future?

Macchu Pichu in Peru.

Macchu Pichu in Peru.

It’s always a risk that it maybe too late to see certain places for various reasons, take the Great Barrier Reef as an example. But this can also have the effect of over visiting sites such as Machu Picchu or the Parthenon, which are so busy with people it makes a visit as times very uncomfortable. It always a very difficult balance.

What other destinations are you considering adding to Battered Suitcase?

We currently send our guests to 26 destinations worldwide, which we are increasing throughout 2016. This will include additional tours in the regions of the Americas, further areas of Australia and several more additions to Europe. We also work with incoming guests to the UK.

What do you like to do on holiday?

Explore and immerse myself into the country’s culture, I love looking into the history of the area. I have always found it very hard to switch off, I am not a person whom would sit on a beach or try and seek out the English bar for a comfort meal and drink.

Where did you last travel and why?

In my position I have to make many inspection visits for upcoming tours and also visit trade shows throughout the world so I am always on the move. My last trip was to South Korea, what a fantastic and interesting place to visit.

Do you know where you are going next? Business or pleasure?

It’s very difficult to travel without turning on the heritage radar so I guess it’s always a business trip, next up is Germany.

Of all the places you’ve been to, what was your favorite and why?

Not a question that I can answer, each place has its own uniqueness and I have so many favourites.

As a visitor rather than a tour operator, do you visit the same place again?

I love to go back to locations and look at development and to meet old friends, but the issue is that now visiting so many places each year its totally impractical to attempt.

Which destination do you wish to travel to but haven’t been there yet?

I am looking to travel to more parts of South America during 2016, we have lots of interest on our new range of tours to this region.

Would you recommend tourists read travel guides and what other means do you suggest they use to help plan what to see on their trips

Travel guides are a very good starting point and also websites, but I particularly recommend talking to local people as they know their area best of all.

jeju in South Korea - one of the new seven wonders of the world?

jeju in South Korea – one of the new seven wonders of the world?

As a historian, you have experience of writing? Have you considered writing travel guides?

This isn’t an area of interest to me.

How do you plan a vacation? (guidebooks/website/agents/friends etc)

I read up on an area before visiting using both websites and travel guides, but I always find information sourced locally is key. Battered Suitcase use the best local guides and agents.

Where do you see Battered Suitcase in five years’ time?

Still serving a unique set of tours to a very specialist and interested set of independent travellers.

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