Travel Beyond is proud to announce that Travel Agent magazine named consultant Kota Tabuchi to its prestigious list of “Top 25 Agents of 2013.” Kota’s profile is included below:
“Before I worked on the tour operating/agent side of the business, I worked as a driver guide for a small mom-and-pop safari operation based out of Johannesburg,” Tabuchi says of his start in the industry. He has attained and cultivated an insider’s perspective over the past 12 years with annual visits that run from one to three months. To help promote sustainable and responsible travel, Tabuchi also supports camps, lodges, operators and organizations that share his ethics.
Specializing in off-the-beaten-path destinations means dealing with complicated logistics, however. He has had to get an NBC crew with Ann Curry up Kilimanjaro, arranging 300+ mile walking safaris, summit-to-sea treks (Kilimanjaro to Indian Ocean), etc. He even arranged a wedding on top of Kilimanjaro. “We conducted the wedding on day seven in the crater, amongst the towering glaciers,” he recalls. “Leading up to this night, we arranged for special romantic meals and planned the journey in a way to culminate in the big finale. All my porters were asked to wear their traditional Masai shukahs and they all did a traditional Masai ceremony at 18,500 feet.” The next morning, they reached the summit and walked to Mweka camp.
Complicated logistics also leave more room for things to go wrong—and in remote areas, problems that would be easily solved in a city can become catastrophic. For example, one of Tabuchi’s client was five hours into an eight-hour trek in a remote park in Gabon when she badly sprained an ankle and broke a collarbone. “I called upon the Gabonese government to give us access to a helicopter as there were no landing strips for miles around the park,” Tabuchi recalls.” Almost a day later and $300,000 in expenses, the woman was in Europe getting first-class medical attention. Good thing I was adamant about trip insurance!”