"Darren Panto worked tirelessly to promote Egypt as a holiday destination in the UK during the time that I knew him when he was at Peltours. He was always creative with his ideas of how to promote the destinations, cities and resorts, as well as the country as a whole, and created very positive marketing campaigns. He was instrumental in bringing Taba Heights and also El Alamein to the UK market, with new dedicated flights to these destinations, and ensured that the UK travel industry worked towards selling them. He ensured that key journalists visited these resorts and was influential in securing the Matchplay Championship Golf Tournament in Taba Heights. He is a diplomatic man with whom I have enjoyed working and who fully understands the UK travel industry and the nature of the business."
Mr Khaled Ramy, Director, Egyptian State Tourist Office, UK & Ireland
"I have worked with Darren Panto for several years and always found him to be friendly and easy-going but also very knowledgeable and professional. His experience and knowledge of the travel industry, and particularly the sectors he has worked in, is second to none. He was always a very useful contact from a journalistic point of view during his time at Peltours as he understands the media and was always available for a quote. He has been sorely missed by Travel Weekly's editorial team, who also enjoyed his great sense of humour!"
Juliet Dennis, Chief Reporter, Travel Weekly, TW Group
"The ability to put an unknown destination and indeed, a new overseas hotel on the map, is not an easy feat, especially when it is located some 75-minutes from the Egyptian - Gaza border! Darren achieved the near impossible bringing us highly influential journalists, top travel agents, and orchestrating a UK-wide marketing campaign which ultimately led to the first direct UK- Taba flights and new European-wide tour operators featuring our hotel and the resort for the first time. I look forward to working with Darren again on new and exciting ventures."
Peter Antinoph, General Manager, Renaissance Hotel Heathrow (opening General Manager Taba Heights Marriott, Sinai Egypt)
"I have known Mr Panto for some years in his tour operator capacity, and I don't know anyone with more energy, enthusiasm and expertise. I came to rely on his judgement on places which our Times readers would appreciate - indeed they did as their subsequent correspondence proved. I believe that his knowledge of the business and the thoroughness with which he tackled sometimes thorny problems is second to none."
Jill Crawshaw, The Times
"Darren has been key to the outstanding relationship between lastminute.com and Peltours from the very beginning. He is an inspirational individual with the vast knowledge required to cover every eventuality and maximise exposure, turnover and profitability. He is a true people person and is always on hand when times are both good and bad, including when there has been a major crisis such as an act of terrorism in resort."
Roger Bradley, lastminute.com
"Having worked as a supplier to Darren for a number of years, Darren has over that time demonstrated extraordinary commitment to both the commercial aspects of the business and customer focus and service. A forward thinker, he has always acted professionally and positively both during the good times and also when faced with significant challenges. His attention to customer care is outstanding and Darren has worked together with us to ensure that all clients receive attention to detail and personal service at all times. Darren is a professional and clearly understands the needs of all parties concerned in the UK and in resorts. A strong character with proven ability to remain diplomatic during difficult times."
Alan Murray, Director, Monarch Airlines
"Darren has been the driver in the Marriott / Peltours relationship. He has been the contact between our organisations in making Taba a successful operation for both parties. Darren is resourceful, creative and above all honest and pro-active in tackling this competitive market. Real leadership comes when people are resourceful and can create demand by playing all media and distribution channels including when there has been a major crisis, such as the recent economic downturn that impacted many businesses. A true partner not only out to benefit his company, but always with the partnership in mind."
Jan Heesbeen, General Manager, Taba Heights Marriott Red Sea Resort
"I have known Darren Panto for almost 10 years; in this time I have always found him to be totally professional and someone who strives to do everything to the best of his ability. I am aware that he has been successful in concluding a number of contracts with both airlines and hoteliers and he has established a number of new holiday routes. As a result of this experience, Darren Panto Associates are currently assisting us to expand the holidays programmes within the Visions Holiday Group."
Robert Atkins, Director, Visions Holiday Group
"Mr Darren Panto has been instrumental in putting the Hilton Taba and Nelson Village on the map from the UK. An excellent ambassador for his company, he persuaded us to work together and this has proven to be the right decision with outstanding performance.He is an inventive person who managed to bring us a new type of clientele through joint marketing co-operation. He has some great ideas and we were willing to try them and have reaped the rewards of his success. He has also managed to get us some great PR in the press and exposure in the sorts of places we have never imagined possible – we were even featured in Hello Magazine."
Martin Rogers, General Manager, Hilton Resort Taba
"I have worked with Darren Panto for over 15 years, and would recommend him unreservedly. There are very few individuals I have dealt with over the preceding years that I have as high a regard for, he is both highly knowledgeable, versatile, a motivator to those around him and a consummate professional. He always has his finger on the pulse and he always ensures that we have the most up-to-date information and news, even before it happens. Darren also has a great sense of humour, and would be an asset for any organisation or company to work with."
Simon Eddolls, Director, Travel Bulletin
"I have spent many years working with Darren as a service provider to his products and have experienced some trying times such as the terrorist attacks in TABA during October 2004 which he managed to navigate us all through, clients and service providers alike, with professionalism and ease. We have developed a trust and respect for Darren and his team and look forward to an opportunity to work alongside him again with any project he chooses to become involved with. I can say with total honesty mGs and all our staff will be proud to serve with Darren Panto and his team again."
Paul Mercer, Director, mGs Airports Ltd / Breeze Airport Services
"During Darren Panto’s time at Peltours I had the privilege of working with him in my capacity as Sales and Marketing Director of Bath Travel. Although we had very few problems any that we did have were soon resolved by Darren. I must congratulate him on his huge achievement of getting so many of our sales staff, myself included, to experience the Red Sea resort of Taba Heights. The first hand experience we all gained from our visits have proved very beneficial and I am sure are one of the reasons that bookings for the area go from strength to strength."
Roger Barker, Sales & Marketing Director, Bath Travel
"Darren Panto has been instrumental in putting Peltours on the map in the UK retail travel world and is somebody who seems to be able to think outside the box with some fabulous and innovative ideas. He persuaded us to sell, with confidence, destinations unfamiliar to us and our clients, in the knowledge that we had confidence in him. He was one of the main speakers at the 2008 Elite Travel Group’s Annual Conference, and received an enthusiastic and warm response, despite broaching a very controversial subject. He is knowledgeable, professional, a very genuine person and any company would benefit from his experience and long association with the UK travel trade."
Pat Waterton: Manager, Langley Travel & Director, Elite Travel Group
"Darren successfully carried out a marketing campaign for the new golf resort at Taba Heights. Creating great awareness, he was instrumental in bringing the Matchplay Championship finals here for three years – this is the largest amateur club golfer event in Europe. He succeeded in promoting the resort to some of the leading golf tour operators in the UK resulting in exclusive deals with such companies as Golfbreaks.com. Of course, it helps that Darren is a golfer and his understanding of the UK travel industry and what is required to succeed is exceptional. Through our co-operation with Darren and Peltours, we have also established an agreement through the PGA for club Professionals to now bring out their members for tuition weeks."
James Shippey, General Manager, Taba Heights Golf Resort, Egypt. PGA Golf Professional
"Being located in an unknown upmarket resort was always going to be tough. However, Darren Panto and his associated company managed to put together an ongoing programme of flights to the area and we benefitted greatly. He was instrumental in enabling Taba Heights to become a recognised scuba diving and water-sports resort in its own right. Competing with other locations in the region as a newcomer was not easy, but with mutual co-operation and Darren’s efforts made to bring top quality journalists and travel agents to the region, we have reaped the rewards. Darren is also a great golf partner on the rare occasion that he isn’t working."
Andrew Day, General Manager, Waterworld
PADI Dive Master
"We are very pleased to be working with Darren Panto Associates and are already seeing increased sales through distribution and exposure in the press. Our upmarket destinations require personal attention and experience, and we know that is what we receive. They have great depth and really take the time to understand our requirements and find the most appropriate, and indeed realistic, solutions. Darren himself knows the travel industry inside-out and his knowledge of tourism marketing both B2B and B2C and ability to impress upon others is outstanding. Sabina Shaida. Managing Director. Mosaic Holidays.