Local entrepreneur finds a niche in the travel industry

Darla Bentley shows her tourists more than famous museums. They experience the culture and even learn how to make authentic Italian food.

Darla Bentley is a travel agent in North Logan and specializes in food and travel. She started her business, <a href=”http://www.bluebreezetravel.com/index.php” target=”_blank”>Blue Breeze Travel</a>, three years ago and said people are often surprised she makes a living in an industry that most people think is obsolete.

“The biggest challenge was that everybody could go online and get their own travel situation set up,” Bentley said. “They didn’t understand that you don’t pay more for a travel agent when really it’s the travel company that pays the travel agent, not the traveler.”

Because people can book their own trips, she said she had to develop a niche in order to be successful.

“It left me thinking, ‘What can I do to make travel special for people that they can’t just pop online and say, “Hey, I can get this cheaper!”‘ you can do that,” Bentley said. “So I decided to do something a little different. I am passionate about food travel, so that’s what I decided to specialize in.”

Food travel is the fastest growing branch within the industry and Bentley said business networking groups in Cache Valley helped her develop her plan.

“I’m in Cache Connections BNI group and that’s actually the group that helped me truly understand what I want to do,” Bentley said. “There’s so much support. There’s the Chamber of Commerce and then there’s the Women in Business group.”

Bentley says you don’t have to be a foodie to enjoy food and travel.

“It’s not just about the food – it’s not just about a high-end culinary experience,” Bentley said. “It’s speaks of the history, the art and the culture. They’re finding it’s not about a $500 meal. It’s about a street taco.”

Bentley’s Italian tours will even take you into the home of an elderly woman who will teach you how to make authentic Italian pasta and the art of enjoying it.

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