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Fresh Faces: Bench Africa’s Anji Johnson

What’s the crucial thing travel agents need to know about Bench Africa? And the key to a successful tour operator? Bench Africa’s new Queensland state manager ANJI JOHNSON explains...


Where is the last place you travelled and where are you going next?

It was actually Africa; I spent 3 weeks travelling through Kenya, Uganda and Rwanda with a few days to relax and soak up some sun in Zanzibar at the end.

East Africa was an incredible place to discover; during my time in Uganda I trekked up the Bwidi Impenetrable Forest to spend time with the gorillas - this was absolutely breathtaking. 

In November I will be heading to the Cook Islands for a week to relax on the beach and maybe have a few cocktails with my best friend to celebrate our birthdays. 


Besides your passport, what’s one thing you always take with you on your travels? 

Travel insurance, I will never leave home without it. 


Why did you move to this role?

I am a self confessed Africa geek and one of my favourite parts of being a Sales Manager is training, so now I get to combine Africa with training...why wouldn't I?

With moving into this role, I can go out and visit agents, hold training sessions and support them in any way I can, and I get to do all of this while talking about something that I am passionate about: Africa. 



Tell us something people might not know about Bench Africa?

I think one thing a lot of people do not know is that Bench Africa looks after every aspect of Africa - there is a misconception that Bench Africa only looks after high end trips and luxury tours.

But this is not the case at all. Bench will look after everything from overland participation travel right through to Giraffe Manor and the lodge where Prince Harry and Meghan had their third date. 


What’s the key to a successful tour operator/wholesaler?

Definitely supporting agents. I think you really need to look after agents and invest your time in helping them in any way they need. This could mean doing training sessions, cross consultations with clients, recognising and acknowledging bookings when they come through, offering support when needed. But also making sure their whole experience with a brand from start to finish is supportive and positive. 


What’s your top travel tip?

This is a tough one! Can I have two? 

1- Try anything once, from food to experiences. Just do it - you are here now and you do not want to go home wishing you had said 'yes'. If you don't like it, then you don't have to try it again. 

2- When you get to a new city, find time to sit down with a coffee or beer and people watch; watch the world of the locals go by around you, and you'll be surprised by how much you see. 



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Written by: Anji Johnson as told to Traveltalk
Published: 8 November 2019

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