Magellan Awards

Harry Dalgaard

%image_alt%%image_alt% With over 40 years of experience in different areas of the travel industry – airline, retail travel agency and tour operator – Harry Dalgaard has a depth of knowledge rivaled by very few. He founded wholesale tour operator Avanti Destinations in 1981 and retired in June 2018.

USTOA positions and advisory boards

In addition to piloting Avanti, Dalgaard has served in several positions at the USTOA, where currently he is Vice Chairman. He also has been on the advisory board of the German National Tourist Office and Atout France for many years.

Born a traveler

Born in Norway and raised in Sweden, Italy and England, Dalgaard started his career with Pan American World Airways and then American Airlines. Next, he worked for an Alaskan tour operator and managed a retail travel agency.

In 1981 he founded Avanti Destinations in Portland, Oregon, to sell custom-built independent leisure travel to Europe. Central and South American destinations were added in 1990, Asia in 2015.

In 2000, Avanti developed a proprietary booking engine, Tourgate, that enables the company to build seamless custom itineraries quickly, including hotel, rental car, tours, air and ground services.

Today the company employs 135 people and annually creates custom itineraries for more than 50,000 travelers, all booked exclusively through travel agents.

“I always sold the kind of travel that I love – independent, not in a crowd, focused on authentic experiences that match the individual traveler’s interests, and accommodations that convey a true sense of place,” explains Dalgaard. “It’s easy to sell what you love.”