PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) – A local travel agency is working to boost tourism in Oregon and help its clients experience adventures all over the world, even as they face the challenges the pandemic has brought imposed on world travel.
Modern Adventure CEO Luis Vargas has said he expects a big comeback in the industry in the future, despite the immediate challenge of the COVID-19 Delta variant outbreak.
For this reason, he recommended that people start dreaming now for their next adventure, even if it means reserving it for 2023.
âHaving something to look forward to, I think, is such an important thing,â Vargas said. “? Like, you know, it won’t be trivial to have space, if you will, in some of the top destinations in the world.
Portland-based Modern Adventure partners with brands and individuals, such as chefs and artists, to create tour packages for guests.
âWe look through the lens of this brand to bring a place to life. And then we do it both here in our backyard here in Oregon and all over the world, âVargas said.
Vargas said the COVID-19 pandemic has posed a significant challenge for the company. While it started off on the right foot before the start of the pandemic, they only recently completed their first travel experience package since the start of the global disease outbreak.
âWe were able to get great support from the investment community and frankly I think we had a great start and then the pandemic took all the oxygen out of the room,â Vargas said. âBut we are more optimistic than ever about the return of travel. We have already seen bookings come back significantly since the end of the year.
In mid-July, that magical window after Oregon largely reopened due to COVID restrictions, but before the Delta variant epidemic hit the country head-on, Modern Adventure took off. paired with Willamette Valley Adelsheim Vineyard for a travel experience tailored to locals and visitors alike.
âIt was truly a celebration of Oregon. Adelsheim recently celebrated its 50th anniversary. And it was really with this in mind that the wine region as we know it really started, âsaid Vargas.
The trip included two nights in McMinnville for intimate tastings in the heart of the Willamette Valley, including at the Adelsheim winery and family home, as well as tastings at other wineries in the valley, such as Soter and Beaux. Feres.
There was also a portion of the two-night trip devoted to the Oregon coast, with crab and a meal prepared by the chef at the Stephanie Inn.
âI think having people from all over the country coming here to our backyard, frankly, they’re completely blown away, both in terms of the story and the tale of this pioneering spirit collaboration,â of wine quality, you really know at all levels, âsaid Vargas.
Modern Adventure is a certified B-Corp, which means it is a company that chooses to adhere to certain social and environmental ethical standards. For example, the company is Climate Neutral certified and is a member of the Adventure Travel Conservation Fund.
Vargas said travelers who take a conscientious approach to exploring the world, in terms of social and environmental impacts, are part of a larger societal trend that he sees as a shift “from the age of things to. the age of experiences â.
“And frankly, we think there’s a, you know, a golden age of travel ahead, both in terms of demand, pent-up demand from people so excited to go out and see the trip again. world. And then also just this consciousness evolved around the kind of experiences that are really going to make you this direct deposit that you are going to carry on with a renewed sense of this responsibility as to how we travel.
Vargas co-founded Modern Adventure with whom he has described as a world-class talent, including Joanne Vargas, his wife of 21 years and who has a busy career with Walt Disney and others. Scott McNeely, a former digital editor for Lonely Planet was also a co-founder of the company. The three of them, collectively, have nearly 100 years of experience in the travel industry, Vargas said.
Witnessing the life-changing power that travel can sometimes have, Vargas said he met his wife while at a southern Mexican campsite in Palenque.
âWe started guiding together and she had been doing other guiding stuff. And we had the whole adventure. And all of our 20s we lived in a storage unit, really, we were just on the road full time. “
Eight years ago, the Vargas moved to Portland and started a family. But with the creation of their business, travel has always proven to be a central pillar in their life.
âWe know travel is the only thing we can buy that really makes us richer,â Vargas said.