EDUT In the Press

Essential DownUnder has been featured in various industry journals and other prestigious media outlets.

Below are a few of the quotes from articles we’ve contributed to.

“Karolyn Wrightson, 65, turned a passion for Australia into a business opportunity: a specialty travel agency. Many Boomers have wanderlust, and that’s good news for travel agents. But with the onslaught of do-it-yourself trip-planning on the Web, agents have to specialize to thrive…

Inspired by a three-month trip to the Outback, Wrightson left behind a career in historic preservation and founded Essential Down Under Travel in 1999. Since then, her number of clients has doubled every year, mainly via word of mouth, she says. Last year Essential sold $1 million in travel packages…”, “Business for Baby Boomers,” by Elizabeth G. Olson, November 16, 2007

“For that special trip – whether it’s soaking up the sun in the Seychelles or crossing the Gobi Desert on horseback – you’ll need more than your standard, surf-the-Internet sort of planning. This is a good time to call in an expert, someone who has traveled extensively in a region, nurtured local connections, and whose affinity for the place is infections. The best ones plan a trip with you in mind, not themselves, and hold customer service above all…

Using these criteria, Traveler scoured the industry for top-on-the-line agents and tour operators. We vetted candidates with industry insiders, sent them questionnaires, and conducted interviews to find the most knowledgeable regional experts, experts travelers can confidently rely on…”
National Geographic Traveler, “80 Experts for Your Travel Files,” by Margaret Loftus, September 2004

“[Niche] agents have a leg up over generalists because they are not a dime a dozen, and more than just great service sets them apart. Their expertise is a magnet for travelers who want to indulge in just that type of travel and want to get the most out of their trip as possible…

Karolyn Wrightson, owner of Essential Down Under… said she never had any desire to sell anything other than her specialty. “I had no desire to sell travel in which I didn’t have expertise,” she said. “I usually go to both [New Zealand and Australia] every year and I try to have some experience I’ve never had before,” Wrightson said, adding that because her destinations are so large she even has sub niches (Maori and Aboriginal tourism, as well as bush walking trips) within her niche, which she constantly tries to learn more about…”
Travel Trade Magazine, “The Advantages Of Developing Your Niche Market,” by Dori Saltzman, Feb. 15, 2008

“Expedia is no threat to me,” says Karolyn Wrightson of Essential Downunder Travel. “My clients know what I give them.”

…Wrightson sent Travel Agent a recent itinerary she put together for a family that tried to book their trip online but gave up…“I realized I could not end up with them all having the same experience, and had to deal with the fact that the youngest female would arrive ahead of the rest, so I needed a user-friendly activity for her, like [a guided] kayaking and hiking tour.” Wrightson [put together] a color-coded itinerary for the family of four. It helps to make the case of how travel agents provide added value. As Wrightson says, “Try to put this one together on Expedia.” Our money says they can’t.
Travel Agent Magazine, “Beat That, Expedia,” by James Ruggia, April 18, 2005

“I got into selling Australia back in 1999,” says Karolyn Wrightson, owner of Essential Down Under…“I couldn’t find the kind of travel I love to do in Australia in the marketplace. So I began creating that kind of travel.”

Wrightson says, “The trending shows that everyday people are more Internet savvy. More and more, they will be booking the ordinary packages right on their computers. You need to give them something they can’t get online.”

“Traveling in Australia changed the way I looked at life in a very positive way,” Wrightson says. “I wanted other people to have that kind of experience, and I enjoy creating it for them.”

Modern Agent, “Distinguish Yourself as a Travel Expert by Specializing in a Niche Tour Area,” by James Ruggia, March 1, 2007
“Camping in Australia’s outback. “You think, ‘my life is so crazy and important,’ but then you see rock art that’s 40,000 years old and it brings you down to size.” – Karolyn Wrightson, Essential Downunder.”
National Geographic Traveler, “Therapy With a View: Who needs a couch when you can get on a plane? More people travel for mental health,” by Margaret Loftus, May 2006
“Essential Downunder…Specializes in creating customized trips to places such as Australia and New Zealand…“Many of the trips center on travelers’ hobbies and interests. “I had a geologist client who wanted to follow the Alpine Fault across New Zealand,” She had one who loved glowworms, so she arranged for a trip that took him to caves in which the bugs live all over Australia…”
Business North Carolina, People section, by Marie Bartlett, June 1, 2004
“Closer to Jakarta than Sydney, tropical Darwin, on Australia’s north tip, is a gateway to Indonesia, the Far East, and top natural attractions…. Bring a lawn chair to the Mindil Beach Sunset Market on Thursdays in the dry season. “Go there hungry!” says frequent Darwin visitor Karolyn Wrightson of a place she says rivals markets in New York City. Sample Thai, Indian, Chinese, Indonesian, or Greek foods and purchase such unusual crafts as a purse made from the skin of a barramundi fish.”
National Geographic Traveler, “Darwin, Australia: City of Many Flavors,” October 2004
“Americans usually save this part of Oz for their second visit…Karolyn Wrightson, owner of the travel agency Essential Downunder Travel, likes to send clients on guided camping excursions through the rugged Kimberley region in the state’s northwest corner, a three-and-a-half hour flight. This time of year, the weather in the Kimberley is cool and dry across the landscape of thousand-acre cattle stations, brilliant blue skies, and deep red gorges…”
National Geographic Traveler, “Western Australia,” by Margaret Loftus, September 2004
“…For residents with a more serious appetite for [Australia], there’s Karolyn Wrightson, owner of Essential DownUnder Travel…Most customers are looking for an alternative to packaged tours that stress cities. Ms. Wrightson, a former journalist, has studied and written about Australia’s more unusual terrain: the Outback.”
The New York Times, Westchester Section, by John Swansburg, March 4, 2001
“Karolyn Wrightson, owner of Essential Downunder Travel in Weaverville, has been recognized as one of the best American travel agents specializing in selling vacations to Australia. The Opal Awards, presented by the Australian Tourist Commission, recognizes excellent in the marketing and promotion of Australia by U.S. “Aussie Specialist” Travel Agents. Wrightson won the Opal Awards in the category of Best Electronic Media Campaign and Best Budget Itinerary.”
Asheville Citizen-Times, Business Section, Oct. 19, 2003