The CEO and founder of Beautiful Destinations is harnessing the influence of social media to showcase stunning locations from around the world to the channel’s tens of millions of followers.

How did the idea for Beautiful Destinations come around? 

We began as an Instagram account, but quickly grew into a media brand and content agency, largely thanks to Dubai Tourism and Burj Al Arab – our first clients – who gave us an opportunity way before the tourism industry saw the power of social media.

What is the scale of the business at Beautiful Destinations?

We don’t share our financials, but our scale on social is over 50 million people across all the major social platforms. We work with tourism boards, hotels, airlines, real estate developers, attractions and tourism investors across the world.

How actively engaged is BD with content creation in the Middle East? 

Very – I moved here with my family last summer, joined the board of the UAE Marketing Society and have been working with local creative talent ever since. I see a huge opportunity to champion Middle Eastern creatives who haven’t yet had the global recognition I think they deserve.

What is your earliest memory of a holiday growing up? 

It is of trips to the Scottish Highlands with my family. I still love going back there and try to do it at least once a year. I love getting back to my roots, [enjoying the] clean fresh air and Highlands’ hospitality.

How often in a year do you travel and what are your top packing tips? 

I used to travel most weeks and got packing light down to an art form. A small Rimowa carry-on with freshly pressed T-shirts, smart shoes and a pair of jeans is all I need. With our changing world of business/leisure travel, I think a few smart casual essentials are all you need nowadays.

How do you spend your air miles? 

I’d say companion flights. Luckily, my wife Pia is a big traveller too, so miles are shared in our family.

What is your routine on-board?

I know it’s old school, but I love not connecting to the wifi and keeping flight time one of the few times I can really switch off.

Which is your most memorable travel experience to date? 

In 2019, I visited Rwanda as I was invited by the government to name a baby gorilla at the Kwita Izina festival. The increasing birth rate of gorillas reflects the health of Rwanda’s tourism as wildlife is preserved versus killed by poachers. After the ceremony, we went up into the mountains and spent an afternoon with the babies and their families – without doubt, my most memorable moment.

The one travel experience you’d rather forget.

Just after a trip to Africa, I caught a nasty flesh-eating bug that caused my elbow to blow up to the size of a tennis ball. A colleague noticed it in a meeting and urged me to go to the hospital. Seven days later, I was still there in intensive care.

The one destination that is on your bucket list.

No single destination, but definitely a desire to see more of the Middle East. I love the region and feel as though I’ve only scratched the surface of its cultures and experiences.