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A-List: World's Top Travel Agents 2011

Ilustration for top travel agents a list in Europe.

Photo: Bo Lundberg

Israel

Rachel Epstein *
New Favorite: The just-opened Beresheet hotel, high above the Ramon Crater, in the southern Negev region. Epstein got a sneak preview before its late-April opening and is already booking clients into the slick, stone-walled suites (many with private pools).
Years as Agent: 29.
Other Specialty: Spain.
Fee: Varies.

Middle East

Janet Moore *
Insider Find: Beirut has a lot of buzz at the moment—one of Moore’s favorite spots is Tawlet – Souk el Tayeb, the city’s first restaurant with an open kitchen, where every day a different chef prepares lunch. In the evening, classic Lebanese dishes are served in a separate dining room (reservations required).
Years as Agent: 26.
Other Specialty: Asia.
Fee: None.

Morocco

Michael Diamond *
Special Booking: For a couple requesting a romantic night out, Diamond organized to fly them by helicopter from Marrakesh to a restored casbah surrounded by olive groves in the desert. Twenty drummers sounded their arrival, and live music accompanied their multicourse dinner.
Years as Agent: 10.
Other Specialty: Turkey.
Fee: None.

Safaris

Mark Nolting
Insider Find: A roster of local guides across Africa, including in the Zambezi River Valley, in Zimbabwe, and in Hwange National Park, near the Botswana border. Their walking and canoeing expeditions bring clients face-to-face with bull elephants, rhinos, and lions.
Years as Agent: 25.
Other Specialty: Egypt.
Fee: None.

Norman Pieters *
New Favorite: Pieters spends, on average, one month every year in Africa. His latest discovery? Mara Plains Camp, in the Olare Orok private conservancy bordering the Masai Mara National Reserve in Kenya. Aside from top-notch service, its excellent location within a private conservancy allows guests to have a first-rate East African wildlife experience without the burden of heavy vehicle congestion.
Years as Agent: 39.
Other Specialty: India.
Fee: $250.

Southern Africa

Julian Harrison *
New Favorite: In Zambia, Harrison loves the new Kalamu Lagoon Star-Bed Camp, in South Luangwa National Park, a rustic hotel set 10 feet off the ground with twin beds swathed in mosquito nets and the night sky as your roof.
Years as Agent: 25.
Other Specialty: Kenya.
Fee: None.

Judy Udwin *
Insider Clout: For a couple’s seven-year-old twins, Udwin organized a separate safari itinerary that included a private chef (who whipped up pizza in the bush) and guides for kid-centric activities on land and water. She finished things off, with the grown-ups in mind, at a fully staffed, exclusive villa on the beach in Mozambique.
Years as Agent: 30.
Other Specialty: Honeymoons.
Fee: From $150.

United Arab Emirates

Lindsey Wallace *
Top Tip: Camel’s milk is the ingredient of the moment in Dubai, finding its way into high-end specialty shops and dishes at some of the city’s top restaurants, Wallace says. While there, check in to his favorite spot: the new Ottoman-inspired Jumeirah Zabeel Saray, with views of the sea.
Years as Agent: 15.
Other Specialty: The Maldives.
Fee: None.

Icon Key

* Tour Operator
** T+L’s Travel Agent Advisory Board, 2011
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