By Michael Salerno
For Hometown News
SOUTH DAYTONA -- Denise Goins believes part of the fun of traveling is planning it. So operating a travel agency seems like a natural fit for her.
She and her husband Donny Goins are the owners of Discovery Travel, a travel agency in Contemporary Plaza on Beville Road in South Daytona. Ms. Goins' travel career spans 30 years, which gave the couple the opportunity to explore the world.
Discovery Travel has served Volusia County's travel needs for more than 28 years, and Ms. Goins has been owner for about four years. She developed a love for travel with a backpacking trip through Europe and the Middle East, and continues to travel extensively, whether she's visiting her grandparents' farm in Krakow, Poland, or escorting tour groups to various local and international destinations. Her office is filled with photographs, postcards and artifacts collected from past travels from places as far as Ireland and China.
"We've been just about all around the world," Ms. Goins said.
One of Discovery Travel's slogans is "No destination near or far, from the beaches of Daytona to Zanzibar." Proving the agency can help anyone travel anywhere, a recent flyer advertises a charter bus trip to the Seminole Hard Rock Casino for $33 per person; that same flyer mentions a seven-night cruise to Bermuda in April for $774 per person and an eight-night Southern Carib-bean cruise in November for $899 per person.
What Ms. Goins enjoys about travel is the history involved with the places she visits.
"Travel is history," she said. "It goes hand in hand. You get educated when you travel."
The agency offers professional and knowledgeable travel expertise, and Ms. Goins said her staff is "very personable" to customers and is involved with their families to determine their travel needs, as well as trying to find the best price.
Discovery Travel employs a staff of eight. Recently the agency merged with Port Orange Travel and hired its owner Ellen Rafferty, who has 24 years of travel management experience. Donny Goins joined the staff after retiring from his previous job as a firefighter-paramedic.
"We give some of the best help in the world," Mr. Goins said.
But the Goins' help isn't limited to travel, as they also support a number of charitable causes through their vacation packages.
They strongly support the Halifax Humane Society, and the "Bow Wow Meow" benefit cruise sailings are among their most popular group travel offerings, with $75 from each booking donated to the Humane Society. Ms. Goins estimated she booked about 500 people for the recently-completed fifth annual Bow Wow Meow cruise aboard the Carnival Liberty, and she's already planning the sixth annual cruise, which will be on Royal Caribbean's Independence of the Seas.
Some of their other charitable ventures include group travel packages supporting the Port Orange Moose Lodge's charity funds, Autism Speaks and the Museum of Arts and Sciences. Ms. Goins refers to her business's support of charitable organizations as "doin' good in the neighborhood."
In recent years, travel agencies have taken a hit as more and more people book their travel online. But Ms. Goins said she works to adapt to the changing business climate. She is an Expedia.com travel affiliate, and has an "established rapport" with Royal Caribbean that allows her to offer extras, such as stateroom upgrades and onboard credits, to customers who book cruises with her agency.
"People say we're dinosaurs because of what we do," Ms. Goins said. "An alligator is a dinosaur. They're still here because they've adapted."
Ms. Goins said she and her staff enjoy the work they do. "We have fun," she said.
Discovery Travel is at 661 Beville Road, Suite 114, South Daytona. For more information, call (386) 788-8201 or visit www.discoverytravel.us.