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Roberto Melaragno Roberto Melaragno

Roberto Melaragno, President, Driver In Italy Concierge Tour Operator, Italy

When and how did you get involved in the tourism industry? I was born in Canada and moved back to Rome as a young teenager. So right away I was a curious tourist in my new surroundings.

When I finished my schooling, I embarked on a two-year apprenticeship to learn the ins and outs of inbound travel, discovering how to create a pleasing tourist experience for the North American visitor.

I was fieldtrained as a tour assistant, escort and guide, and driver guide. This bottomup training taught me many things.[...].

The natural progression was to form my own company, Driver In Italy, in 1994.

What are the most important attributes of a good travel agent?

You have to be a good listener, and not just to the words but to the pauses, to the changes in tone and to their body language.

Some people do not know or cannot articulate what they want and need you to tell them what it is.

Once you are confident that you have discovered the client's passion, go for it with suggestions that show you are really a master of your destination.

And follow up, even when the client is still on tour, to make sure that there are no ways to make it better. […]

What is the most frequently asked question that your company receives? "Do you work with travel agents and do you pay commission?"

Yes, we do. What are the must-visits and mustdos in Italy?

For those who have never been to Italy, I suggest Italy 101, the gorgeous trio of Rome, Florence and Venice.

The highlights of these cities are well known, but I also offer insider recommendations of places to sample some of the best regional cuisine, wine and ice cream.

Which destination is on your bucket list?

I can never get enough of the gorgeous Amalfi Coast Outside of Italy, Nepal is calling my name.