A Conversation with Tom Harding from Nemo Travel
Newest travel designer Nemo Travel tailors perfect travel experiences through a platform that gives you the opportunity to create your dream holiday while being ethically transparent. What else could you ask for?
More than just organizing your next trip across the globe, Nemo Travel changes the relationship between travel agents and travellers themselves. You are at the very centre of your next trip: their unique experts of itinerary builders give you the power to design your very own trip and assist you through the whole process with free consultation until the trip is perfect. Nemo is built on something very important to us at Here & There, the love for travel and other cultures. More than anything else, Nemo Travel’s engagement to have a positive impact on the environment and local communities while delivering high standard ethical and sustainable travel is more important than ever before. Nemo Travel also partners with Hello World, a charity that connects marginalized communities with the modern world, through solar panel installations, internet hubs, and by providing education for both adults and children. Plus, during this challenging time of worldwide pandemic, Nemo is putting all hands on deck on a new non-profit campaign to get free hotel nights to NHS workers, which proves to be challenging, but a great and necessary involvement in the long run. Here & There chatted with co-founder Tom Harding about Nemo Travel and what the next step in global tourism might be.
What’s your story?
“I have always been obsessed with wildlife and managed to land my dream job, managing a safari lodge in Kenya, after university. It was an incredible experience and one that really got the wheels turning for Nemo. Following two years in the bush, I felt it was time to return to the real world and landed a role with Black Tomato, a bespoke tour operator in London. James was managing a sales team there and we shared similar views on where we felt travel planning was going and Nemo was born!”
How did Nemo Travel come to life?
“The idea had been sitting on my laptop in the form of a dodgy business plan for months until I spoke to James about it. I cannot stress enough how having a soundboard and two minds on the project transformed it from idea to reality. We both felt the industry needed to take a step forward into a digital age with an interactive itinerary builder where users design their own trip. We aim to bridge the gap between booking.com and traditional travel agencies by creating a modern brand, for the modern traveller.”
How do your experts create an experience from scratch and pick the right partners?
“We are fortunate that we both had a lot of industry contacts from our previous jobs, so we have kept in touch with them. It is crucial to us that our partners are willing to adapt to our new approach, some of the more traditional companies weren’t, so new relationships had to be forged. Our team of ‘travel nerds’ work very closely with our travellers and our partners on the ground to ensure every element of the trip is perfectly tailored. We believe that by choosing your own experiences, there is a sense of pride over your trip, we just sprinkle the magic dust to make it come to life.”
What’s your main goal with Nemo Travel?
“Bring bespoke travel planning into the digital era and empower travellers to take control of their trips.”
Sustainable travel is at the very heart of your company, how do you ensure every trip is following your policy?
“We have worked hard to handpick the right partners and hotels that align with our views on sustainable travel. It is no longer acceptable for travel companies to just make this claim, however. We take things a step further and work very closely with our charity partners and a huge inspiration to us on a daily basis. We plant a tree for every trip we deliver and on every travellers’ birthday, and give a percentage of profits to Hello World’s education hubs.”
What attracts you to a new destination?
“The dream trip for me has a bit of everything, starting in a bustling town or city eating local food, then heading into the wilderness for some trekking and wildlife viewing before finishing on the beach when I tend to spend 95% of my time in the sea.”
What’s next for Nemo Travel?
“A lot! We are using this period of global shutdown as a chance to take our website to the next level with some great new features coming soon. We have a revamped itinerary builder, an online portal and live availability in the pipeline which keeps us going. Alongside this, there are always new itineraries to get online and new hotels to add. Long term, we want to make a travel brand that people are proud of and work with some fantastic partners across industries to become a leading lifestyle company.”
Your favourite destination?
“Mozambique. Remote beaches, a resurgent safari scene, incredible people and great food.”
The last place you’ve been?
“I was in Grenada recently in the Caribbean and was blown away. It is still very remote and wild, particularly in the Northern part of the island where we swam, ate local food and drank Carib beers on the beach to our hearts’ content.”
Your next destination?
“Costa Rica. It has been top of my list for a while and we are really keen to get it on the website this year… perks of the job I guess.”
Any secret/personal travel tips?
“Walk, cycle, swim or run as much as possible. There is no better way to see a region, whether it is a city or a remote wilderness. Plus, it means there is room to feast as much as possible!”
As you will have understand by now Nemo itineraries go from Sub-Saharan Africa with Namibia Self-Drive, the Indian Subcontinent, Kathmandu and Bhutan, both North Africa and South Africa from exploring Egypt and Jordan to Mozambique, Ethiopia, Europe, the Middle East and Japan.
Words by Alexa Bouhelier-Ruelle
Photos provided by Nemo Travel