Happy August! Now that summer is winding down, we’re thinking about back-to-school—and specifically, to college. This month, we’re talking about a new trend we’ve been seeing lately: Families taking special trips with their college-bound kids. And speaking of bonding travel, we’re also highlighting our recent retreat in Puerto Rico—including our top hosting tips. And finally, rounding out this edition is a great Q&A with Qatar Airways, which was recently honored with the distinction of “World’s Best Airline.” We hope the rest of your summer is fun and relaxing!
Erika Reategui and Fernando Gonzalez
Victor Ponce is the team leader of our Bogota, Colombia, office, the first gateway to First in Service’s expansion in Latin America. He has been instrumental in building the company’s infrastructure to continue growth plans in key markets in Latin America, the U.S. and Spain.
The bilingual, bicultural support agent caught the travel bug at a young age. Victor was born in the coastal Colombian city Barranquilla, but from the age of eight, he spent 18 years in the U.S., mostly in Miami. His father, a commercial pilot, took him on many excursions throughout the U.S., and to Central and South America. On one occasion, he got to spend eight months in Anchorage, Alaska, where his father was stationed. That experience, filled with camping and exploring the wilderness, sparked his love of nature and the outdoors. “I’ll never forget how strange the summers were with daylight for 18 hours and winters with only up to 4 hours of sunlight,” he recalls.
In 2005, Victor moved back to Colombia from Miami. He settled in the capital, Bogota, and began his career working for international travel companies. In 2012, First in Service opened the Bogota office and Victor became its second employee.
The growing Bogota office is in the Virrey neighborhood, next to the enormous park for which it is named. The area is a popular upscale residential and commercial hub, home to embassies, designer boutiques and malls.
Victor’s enthusiasm for Bogota as a visitor’s destination is infectious. The city is set in a valley surrounded by mountains, and has “been booming for the past 5-10 years.” He explains, “It is Colombia’s top city visited by foreigners. Europeans, Mexicans and Americans admire the beautiful architecture, world class arts and culture, and extensive parks and hiking trails through the mountains.” In fact, hiking is what you’ll find him doing on weekends with Maximo, his Staffordshire pitbull terrier.