Bent Rønnov, founder of Bentours, was an honorary guest in the Australian offices of Bentours and Hurtigruten.
Danish born Rønnov started Bentours in 1978 at a time when many travellers were unfamiliar with the spectacular beauty of Scandinavia. He isn’t only an incredibly kind and interesting person, but the history and generosity that he gave to a group of staff listening intently on every word he said, taught the staff a great amount about the history of the brand they now represent as well as insight into the destinations they sell.
Bent revolutionised travel to Scandinavia, as Bentours was the only travel company that showcased an independent way to travel Scandinavia. He wanted travellers to travel outside the summer months and engage with locals to see and experience rather than let some of Scandinavia’s treasures simply pass by.
Bent Rennøv took Scandinavian travel to another level. He explained that he was 'educating the market' as well as selling the product. His history, knowledge and passion for Scandinavian travel is something that is carried in the spirit of the Bentours team today. That expertise in Scandinavian travel is valued with every call, chat or email with the Bentours and Hurtigruten specialists every day.
“I think Lapland and the Northern part of Scandinavia is so spectacular” said Bent. The Dane also spoke of the indigenous people, the Sami’s, with such a warm interest. The Sami culture is still very strong and their Nomadic lifestyle means that there would be plenty you would never see. “Having dinner with the Sami’s is amazing” Bent said. He then advised to never ask a Sami ‘how many Reindeers do you have?’ as it is similar to asking them about their level of wealth.
The advice continued with Bent explaining “you have to get people up there in the winter months because it is so special”. This explains the amazing phenomena on the Northern Lights.
Bent Rønnov was also responsible for bringing Hurtigruten into Australia. He remembered when he got the news that Hurtigruten had accepted his proposal of representation in Australia, “we received the longest telex, and all I wanted to do was get it in the reader to know what they said”. Bent speaks of his love for Hurtigruten as “no other product can do what Hurtigruten can do”.
“There is a togetherness on board, and mostly locals who you will interact with and you feel as if you are touching the coast of Norway”.
Local communities rely on Hurtigruten to bring people into their ports and this is where Hurtigruten get the product for the coastal kitchen. The business is a national treasure in Norway and Australians and New Zealanders are beginning to see why.
Bent’s story in the travel industry began in a small cleaning company when his then CEO introduced him to a friend about to start his own travel company. After doing the books for this company for 10 years, Bent made the decision to venture out on his own with a friend and the tale of Bentours began.
The team at Bentours and Hurtigruten carry on the spirit, knowledge and passion for travel as Bent Rønnov first instilled back in 1978.
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