You might say I took the scenic route to start this business. I grew up in the Basque Country, in an affably unorthodox family that loved to travel far and wide when few Spaniards vacationed abroad. An uncharacteristic wanderlust was in my blood, but my head stayed rooted in science.
I earned a degree in chemistry from the Universidad del País Vasco in Bilbao, then a second degree in forensic and analytical chemistry in Britain. Predictably, I began working as a scientist. Unexpectedly, science made me a better tour guide.
At a Basque research center, I grew to love the hunt for information — the more arcane, the better. A helpful skill for a chemist, it’s invaluable for a tour guide. Later, I managed an export business where I entertained visiting clients by showing them genuine Basque gems — places and events they could never find in a guidebook. Nobody ever had such a good time buying shipping containers of silica and corundum.
Then a financial crisis toppled the Basque economy. Around 2011, I, like many others, lost my job. When it looked like work would not soon return, friends and family encouraged me to consider a radical, but not wholly unexpected, detour from science and business.
My circle had long remarked on how I organized our many trips, how I found and described the most colorful destinations, how I made travel special. It turns out they knew before I knew: I should become a tour guide. Since then, strings of international awards and glowing reviews on major travel websites have proven my friends and family were right.
Aitor Delgado Tours started with a concept new to the French and Spanish Basque Country — “tailor-made, personalized and private tours” for luxury and business travelers. It clicked.
Reviews came fast on Tripadvisor, Facebook, Google, Twitter, and other social media. Articles followed by journalists and travel writers from the United States, United Kingdom, Chile, Turkey, and India. Year after year, happy guests have won us international awards and established us as a market leader. This recognition gets us access to the best suppliers and collaborators — even some resources other locals don’t know.
Success compounds organically when you treat every client with the same care you’d show friends and family. Over and above making unforgettable holidays, my dream for this business has been to make new friends each day. Do you want to be next?