The day will come when we can explore new lands and cultures, but until then, we can make the most of this planning phase! Enjoy this interview with Dean McCoubrey, Founder of the South African based brand journalism agency, Luxury Travel Editors.
Can you please share a bit of background on your experience as a travel writer?
As the founder of Luxury Travel Editors, I have long been a writer. I own a journalism hub in South Africa and for twenty years it has offered insights, news, tips, apps and courses to a vast media network. From that foundation, we decided to open up a ‘brand journalism agency’, transforming senior writers and editors into available freelancers for top brands across many industries – we have a big client base in technology and finance. With my love of travel, I personally built out the journalist network of the travel division and created this subsidiary called Luxury Travel Editors. Over time, we created some super connections with travel writers, influencers, and photographers, and we have been writing about amazing destinations, experiences and properties ever since. Along the way, we have been fortunate to pick up clients who need ‘brand journalism’ and creating travel and lifestyle content for them, anything from magazines for luxury travel brands to copywriting to corporate identity design.
Do you have a favourite corner of the globe that you can share with our readers?
I do love my own country, South Africa. We have so much here – mountains, vineyards, beaches, ocean, safari. It’s truly remarkable. Originally born in the UK, I have to say that I just love Europe in terms of the continent. There is so much culture and history on offer, and accessibility between those countries is amazing. It allows such a diversity of experience across cities, islands, skiing, but always steeped in heritage. That is something you cannot find everywhere. And that depth makes stories easier and more interesting to tell.
Do you have any travel tips you can share?
One of my best tips would be, that if you do, create a cloud backup of all your travel documents, ID and passport, credit cards, usernames and passwords to hotel booking sites, and a travel guide for the city. You can dip into one Google Drive folder and you have a treasure trove of information and access to the documents that will help you get around.
What’s next on your bucket list?
I love the Mediterranean and have been wanting to cruise the coast – Positano, Capri, Amalfi. I see you’ve put together such an intelligent and well-crafted itinerary! It’s certainly one to consider. Other than that the plan is Morocco next for romance. And then I have a new story waiting in the wings: Before Lockdown, I had spoken to a handful of editors about taking my 80-year old mother on a dream trip, and her choices were Giraffe Manor in Kenya or Rovos Rail to Victoria Falls. We grew up with her supporting animals all around the world, with photos of chimpanzees and elephants and wolves that she had adopted, on our fridge. I think taking her on a trip like that will be a wonderful story to tell.
Dean with a new friend!
How do you think travel will be affected by COVID-19 in future?
I think it may take some time for people to feel secure enough to come out of hibernation, even when Lockdown is lifted. Certainly, business travel will be disrupted now that video conferencing has really taken hold. But I think travellers will also be so grateful for the luxury to get out, to stretch our legs, and to inhale culture and experiences because we felt what it was like to be limited. The challenge for the industry is when this opening up happens, as there is so much uncertainty still. But the human race has a habit of settling back down after crises and adapting. Think about how many financial crashes we have seen over the last half-century, and each time we have rebounded to higher peaks. I do hope though that we are more appreciative or aware of the planet and its resources as we re-build our economies and industries.