STEPHEN MARSHALL

When you reflect on how and why you’ve got ‘here’ in life it’s really tough to avoid the clichés. Three glasses of wine in at 36,000ft (thanks, Qatar!) here goes with just a little about me, where my passion for the tourism industry comes from – and why I decided to set up this blog.

I’ll throw it back to 1996, life before the resume or LinkedIn, when at 14 years old I took a school organized internship at Rutland Water Tourist Information Center. Rutland Water being the UK’s largest man-made reservoir, just a few miles from my hometown.

I remember my first day manning the information desk. At 14 I was the ultimate introvert. I was nervous to talk to ANYONE, but in this short-lived role it quickly dawned on me that despite my nerves I had all the local knowledge (and therefore the confidence) to help make the experience of tourists visiting Rutland Water ‘better’.

Through my knowledge about the cycling trails, the best picnic areas, the trout fishing and all the other things I took for granted I was able to help tourists see the best side of my own back yard. I remember feeling a duty to share everything I knew about my place with everyone who approached that little tourist information center. I still remember the first couple I ever helped with advice – a young couple from Slovenia who were passing through on a cycling tour of the UK.

That experience totally shaped me, so no surprises aged 18 I opted not to go down the traditional University route and instead went straight into the tourism industry. I started out at Thomas Cook UK in a call center selling city breaks to the Thomas Cook retail network. It was Amsterdam, Venice, Paris by Eurostar, long weekends in Reykjavik and on a really cool day I’d get a call for somewhere really exotic like Marrakech or Istanbul. As a boy from a small English town I was hooked on the glamour of the people, the places and the chance to travel the world myself.

Fast-forward 15 years and I’ve been lucky to work for some amazing leaders through the UK industry, New Zealand and now in the US where I’m currently based in California on an O-1A visa under the class of extraordinary ability in tourism marketing. I’ve got to know amazing countries and collected awards for my work promoting destinations, whilst all the time collaborating with awesome partners, clients and learning something new from each of them along the way.

In 2017 I became an ambassador for South East Asia when I opened Diethem Travel‘s very first US office. In a serious bid to build Diethelm’s US business our Managing Director (who is amazing by the way – more on her later!) has invested in sending me to the region for 5 weeks – pretty amazing right!? I am exploring this new region with no preconceived ideas and very few expectations. I have a lust to listen, learn and make every second of the experience count.

For my partners in the travel industry I am excited to share with you every minute of this fabulous experience whilst at the same time showcasing what Diethelm can do for your clients – hence the idea for this bog, ‘Indochina Unscripted’, was born!

Shwe dagon Pagoda, Yangon. The act of pouring water onto the buddha at the planetry post of Sunday, my day of birth – symbolized by the Garuda.