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Food and Travel Go Hand in Hand

Chesterfield Travel Leaders: Leading the Way Around the World

Let’s face it…eating is one of life’s greatest pleasures. Food is the one thing that brings all people together, no matter where you live in the world. Whether it’s a regular evening meal, a special celebration, or a fun happy hour, friends and families always come together over food. So, just how important is the role of food in the travel industry? Chesterfield Lifestyle spoke with Marcie Boyle, one of St. Louis’ top travel experts, to find out.

“Food really is such an important aspect of traveling,” says Marcie. “When my friend and I go to different places we’ll say, 'Remember when we had the handmade pasta in Rome or the incredible gelato in Florence?'"

Marcie owns Travel Leaders in Chesterfield, which has roots in the travel industry dating back 30 years. She bought the family-owned business in 2013, and relocated it to Chesterfield Valley.

“We have so many 'foodies,' as we call them, who are anxious to learn as much as they can about culinary cultures and customs,” says Marcie.

It’s true that for so many travelers, food is much more than a form of sustenance, it’s an integral part of their trip.

“When people travel with an open mind, they find out what the world really has to offer,” says Marcie. “I’m currently working with a client booking a cooking class by the owner/chef of a lovely cottage in Tuscany. Who wouldn’t enjoy a private cooking lesson followed by a handmade lunch in beautiful Italy?”

Owning a Travel Leaders franchise, one of the largest franchises in the industry, allows Marcie the partnership with suppliers and vendors around the world to offer clients special perks and experiences.

“I did a 50th birthday in Saint Lucia for a couple staying at the beautiful Jade Mountain hotel with a rooftop restaurant set between the two Piton Mountains. Because of my relationship with the hotel manager, the couple shared a romantic dinner there as the highlight of their trip.”

One traveling misconception Marcie is quick to clear up is that food at all-inclusive properties is poor. She recently traveled to one of her favorite all-inclusives:  Grand Velas Riviera Maya.

“The food was incredible. They have several AAA diamond rating restaurants offering fine dining, so whether you order gourmet lobster, or a hamburger, it’s included in your rate,” says Marcie. “Executive Chef Mario Lopez told me every resort has a beautiful beach and rooms, but it’s their wonderful cuisine that sets them apart. So now I know clients on a budget but wanting award-winning food can also enjoy an all-inclusive vacation."

Travel Leaders book destination weddings, family vacations, honeymoons and company business incentive trips. They love booking entire vacations, but are happy to help with any portion of them.

Marcie says their most popular destinations are Mexico, the Caribbean and Hawaii. "We also book a great deal of European vacations," she adds.

This year has been a bit more challenging, but Marcie says people are starting to book vacations again and are excited to plan for 2021. “We’ve adjusted right now to more domestic options, and I’m pleased to learn there are so many cool getaway resorts within a close drive of St. Louis," she affirms.

Marcie says when clients return from their trip saying she’s made their dream vacation a reality, that’s what it's all about.

“When you look back at when you were 9 years old, you probably can't remember much about the gifts you received, but I guarantee you remember that special trip with your family to Disney World,” says Marcie. “That's the beautiful part of this job…I remind the office team when we're having a bad day to remember we’re giving our clients and their families memories that will last forever.”

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