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Business Observer Wednesday, Sep. 9, 2009 12 years ago

Travel agency seeks more voyagers

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Ryan and Malaka Hilton, who together run Sarasota-based Admiral Travel Gallery, have long thought the perfect business model for their industry is to keep upping the ante of exclusivity and uniqueness.

Ryan and Malaka Hilton, who together run Sarasota-based Admiral Travel Gallery, have long thought the perfect business model for their industry is to keep upping the ante of exclusivity and uniqueness.

That's why they set up packages such as a walking tour through Morocco led by Sir Winston Churchill's granddaughter and a trip to Turkey with Salvatore Ferragamo, grandson and namesake of the famous Italian shoe designer.

Now the Hiltons, husband and wife, have set up a new entity to entice the traveler seeking that type of experience — recession or now recession. The new company is called AuthentEscapes.

Some of the first trips assembled by the duo are plays off past excursions, such as an eight-day voyage to Australia led by chef Roy Yamaguchi. Yamaguchi is a regular travel partner with Admiral.

Then, talk about unique, there's this trip: An eight day land and train journey through Peru hosted and led by former NFL tight end Shannon Sharpe. A percentage of each Peru trip booked by the Hiltons goes to the Humane Society of the United States.

But chatting about football with Sharpe while climbing the hills and mountains of the ruins of Machu Picchu doesn't come cheap, charity notwithstanding: The trip costs $5,250 per person, a price that includes hotel stays and some meals, but not airfare.

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