Who are we?
Jim Louth – Director and founder of Undiscovered Destinations
Jim developed his passion for travel from a young age. Firstly, thanks to his father’s employment with British Rail and the concessions on offer, he explored Europe by train. After leaving school Jim began to travel further afield; Greyhound bus across America, an independent overland trip through Africa and the Trans-Siberian railway all by the time he was 20. A couple of years living and working in New York were followed by a two year stint teaching English in Brazil, plus plenty of travel in between. It was then time to settle down. Jim was delighted when his application to work for the UK’s leading independent travel agency Trailfinders was accepted. This meant a move to the north east of England, which he now considers to be very much home. After five years with Trailfinders it was time to take the plunge and to set up Undiscovered Destinations. Since then there’s been no looking back as Jim has developed his love for travel into a highly successful business. When asked what motivates him, Jim always gives the same answer ‘That’s easy. It’s the fact that I know we’re making a real difference, opening up countries to the potential of responsible tourism and the benefits that this can bring.’ When not travelling, Jim can be found with friends tucked away in one of Newcastle’s legendary pubs.
Jim O’Brien – Head of Operations and Customer Support
As Head of Operations and Customer Support, Jim’s role is a wide and varied one. With ten years of experience of working within the adventure travel industry, Jim started off as a tour leader, taking groups through the Middle East, North Africa and the Indian subcontinent. The life of a tour leader was not to be forever though, as Jim met his wife in Morocco and after dragging out his travels as long as possible headed back to the UK, managing a large team based around the globe. With two young children now, Jim’s travels are not as frequent as he would like, but as he says ‘having children is a whole different adventure’! Jim’s particular passion is for Africa, a vast and enigmatic continent to which he is drawn back time and again. Recent travels include leading our annual group trips to Chad, a fascinating country with virtually no tourism, and a trip to Latin America's least known countries, Guyana and Suriname, home to unusual wildlife and with a feel very different to the rest of the continent. His wife says that she only lets him go because he brings nice souvenirs back! When not travelling, Jim can be found at home either with his nose in yet another book about African history, or taking his children out for walks in the Suffolk countryside.
Mark Huggins - Travel Consultant
Mark is the newest member of the Undiscovered Destinations team. His love of geography and the natural environment stems from an early age. After leaving school Mark embarked on a round the world trip that embedded a passion for experiencing new countries and cultures. Mark has several years of working in the travel industry and recent travel highlights include scaling a tepui in Venezuela, searching for the elusive Bengal tiger in Central India, and exploring the Svalbard archipelago in the High Arctic. Mark is a passionate environmentalist and has also worked with communities and the third sector across the North East of England promoting renewable energy and resource efficiency, raising awareness of the local and regional impact of Climate Change and raising the profile of fuel poverty. In his spare time Mark is a sports and outdoor enthusiast with a particular love of cycling and recently completed the 1000 mile ride from Lands End to John O'Groats.
Anna - Sales Support
A tourism graduate, Anna joined UD in January 2012. She has previous experience in travel sales, marketing and transport. Her interest in travel began as a youngster and she travelled extensively with her family. In latter years she travelled, worked and lived overseas in Europe and North America. Her favourite holidays have included renting a country cottage on an almond farm in Portugal, a private tour of Southern California and into Mexico; and life as an ex-pat in a Spanish village. In her spare time Anna is completing the final year of a psychology degree, and is about to commence a teaching placement, teaching English as a foreign language.