Mina Agnos graduated from the Master’s Degree in Tourism Management program in 2001.
As an undergrad, my focus was on math and science. However, I made the decision to study abroad for a year in Athens. Upon arrival, I decided to stay and complete my studies there. During the summer and winter, I would work seasons on the islands, and various positions in the tourism industry. It became quite clear that the tourism industry was where I belonged. After graduating and returning to the U.S., my first job was with the Ritz-Carlton. I was looking for a tourism program in a city that would allow me to be practical and apply what I learn from class. New York had always been on my radar as a place to live in, and when I was accepted to the Tisch Center, I knew it was the perfect place for me.
The greatest benefits of the program are its location and its access to the industry. There really is no city like NYC, and as an NYU student, the city was definitely my laboratory. I was Professor Sharr Prohaska‘s graduate research assistant, and I worked on projects in cultural heritage tourism. I also interned with Arthur Andersen in compiling the publication “Hospitality 2000: The Capital.” Through NYU, I was able to meet and work with influential executives in the hospitality and tourism industry. Getting to know them and hearing their professional progression really brought to light the understanding that you get what you believe in and what you work for, no matter where you come from.
I am currently the president and co-founder of Travelive. It is a luxury travel company that was born from my thesis at NYU. It is incredibly rewarding to look back on the progression of where we started because the company started in my dining room. Today, we have offices in NJ, FL, Athens, and satellite offices in Rome, Sorrento, Cairo, Istanbul, Madrid, Barcelona and Malaga. I oversee product development and sales. On the product side, it’s scouting new destinations or properties, meeting guides, interviewing drivers, and pulling together all the components of a luxury itinerary. On the sales side, it means putting everything together to offer unforgettable experiences to our guests. It is more than a responsibility to return an experience that is worth a lifetime of memory, and I consider it an honor when clients trust us with 10-12 days of their lives. I chose to focus our business in Greece, because we started to get a huge number of requests for Greece following the 2004 Olympics in Athens. We started as a full service agency, but it only made sense to switch to specialization. Thus, we launched Travel2Greece, which was the first of our luxury brands. Following its success, we copied the model in new destinations and added Travel2Egypt, Travel2Italy, Travel2Turkey and Travel2Spain. We do have new regions and destinations on our radar, so do look out for them!
Our company is a Certified Signature Destination Specialist, a member of the Ensemble Travel Group, as well as several other organizations. These titles are incredibly important accreditations since Signature and Ensemble are well known organizations for travel agents. They selected Travelive as a preferred supplier to recommend to their agency members. Trade organizations are great ways for students to meet industry professionals, find employment prospects, and even places and mentors to share ideas with.
I left New York City in 2008 to open our offices in Athens, and this year was the first time I have returned since. As an NYU alumna, I see the duration that I spent there as a time of considerable growth. I cannot imagine that any other institutions could offer the same kind of experience on top of the classroom experience. I am a very proud alumna and I believe that my time in the city and at NYU have made me a New Yorker for life, regardless of where I am.