Founder's story

Founder's story

Vyacheslav Shirokov, CEO

I grew up in a remote town of Siberia on the border with China (Magdagachi, map). Russians call this region the Russian Far East. When the USSR collapsed my parents opened up a small hotel and told me to study English. It was the only hotel for one thousand miles in any direction and I was probably also the only person out there who spoke some English, which proved to be quite essential when various around-the-globe travelers started showing up on our doorstep as this was the only way to cross that part of Siberia.

I met many wonderful people from the US, Canada, Australia, and the UK. Some drove cars, some bicycles, some walked. Some were writers, some were retirees, others were professional travelers (there were no bloggers at that time). And, they all stayed at our small hotel and were invited to dine at my parents' house. It was then, 30 years ago that my career in travel has started and when I first realized that the world is much larger and much more interesting than my remote town in Siberia. My inquisitive life-perspective and diligent approach to studying eventually brought me to New York University on a prestigious Fulbright scholarship sponsored by the U.S.

It was during my time in New York that I realized that travel was not my childhood curse, but my lifetime opportunity. Me and a group of partners set up a travel company which specialized on tours to Russia. We started as an agency, then expanded by setting up our own tour operating company and reducing links in the supply chain while controlling the quality. We became quite successful in organizing trips to Russia and in 2011 we were the first company to have won The Best Tours to Russia Award by prestigious World Travel Awards.

Unlike many other companies we offered three key things: a) customization, b) great value and c) dedicated service. And, we were quick to realize there was a demand for similar services that we offered for Russia, but for other European countries. So we launched a new line of tours to Europe covering the entire continent and we enhanced our team to have the expertise necessary to organize great trips to many destinations. Today, we organize thousands of trips each year and our relatively small size allows us to deliver exceptional service and value for our customers.

It’s been a wonderful journey. Just like many years ago we helped worldly travelers to across Siberia, we now assist customers with journeys of a lifetime to over 50 destinations. We plan trips just like we would plan for ourselves, with the utmost care, attention, and consideration to our customer’s needs and dreams.

Thank you for traveling with us.

Sincerely,

Slava Shirokov