Lea Coubena works in the Far East Sales division of Tourgreece, an Athens-based incoming tour operator acquired by Transat in 2001. She has the enviable job of promoting the culture, history and beauty of Greece to potential customers in China, Indonesia, Singapore, Malaysia and Hong Kong. The job involves regular travel to Asia and the opportunity to learn about other cultures, and Lea is taking advantage of the opportunity to grow her skill set.
“Developing Transat's business in the Far East means working in sales, which is a new challenge for me," she says. “I have worked in many other divisions of the travel industry – administration, reservations, transfers, as an agent in airports – but I find that sales has a unique mentality. I am learning a lot.”
Lea has worked in the tourism industry virtually her entire career, joining Tourgreece straight out of college in 1980. Even after close to 30 years with the company, she finds that every day is a new adventure. “Working in tourism is not a routine. Every day, we deal with something different," she says. “Travel has been my first and only job. When you work in tourism, it’s hard to think of doing anything else, because you just love it so much!”
Travel is also something that Lea enjoys outside of the office. During the summer, she can often be found exploring the famous Greek Islands (of which there are almost 2,000!) and visiting places like Italy and Egypt, where she can both relax and take in the exciting sights and sounds of a different culture. India and Mexico are at the top of the list of the places she would like to discover next.
Lea’s other hobbies include reading, music (especially Greek tunes and rock ’n’ roll from the 1960s), photography and jewelry-making using small stones and other materials from local markets.
And her favourite film? None other than Mamma Mia!, that joyful celebration of life in Greece.