Travel Guides EP on producing a global show during a pandemic

After a year of global lockdowns, the travel industry has come to a screeching halt, Nine Travel guides brings the world back to Australian salons.

Media week spoke to Travel guides executive producer Melissa Maclean about putting on a travel show amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

Melissa Maclean at Kings Creek Station on Rim Walk, NT, during production of the Travel Guides

Get Travel guides of the ground

Maclean says crossing international borders for this series was no easy task.

Travel guides took off this year due to the extraordinary perseverance of the team and the willingness of our travel guides to be flexible, and to be able to work very closely with government agencies to allow certain travel exemptions for us.

“We had plans A, B, C and D for everything, and there were definitely times when we thought everything could be lost. But we were both lucky and persevering, we managed to get everyone, all the guides and the whole crew together, and once that happened we were able to form a moving bubble.

Travel guides took their guides around the world, but Maclean says the place that stood out the most for her this year was closer to home.

“We’re going to South Australia this series, and that surprised me. Of all the destinations that we go to, we kind of go to the most remote places, and it’s absolutely fantastic, these most remote parts of South Australia, they are just breathtaking. It’s something I really like about the show, it can overturn preconceptions about what a place could be. “

Find their guides

Choosing the guides for the show is all about authenticity and a reflection of modern Australia, and Maclean says the guides they work with cover both bases.

“We are looking for people who are themselves. This is what we need, it sounds like a cliché, but their absolutely genuine selves, anywhere. So of course we look for the contrast, we don’t want to have the same perspective. We need to have different perspectives and those perspectives represent the great diversity of the Australian experience.

Travel guides in Greece. Credit: Canal 9

Produce Travel guides

Maclean says the team behind Travel guides don’t take a glance at a place often before letting go of the guides.

“There’s a lot of research and preparation beforehand, but then a lot of things are left to chance, so we’re very optimistic with a pretty big beast on the move. We transport around 1.3 tonnes of material, for example.

“We’re trying to shoot the episode in a week, so it’s real time. We say we’re going to have a great week-long vacation in one destination, and we always give the destination a theme, film it in a week, and move on to the next destination.

Shooting for 2021

As Travel guides took their unique brand of chaos across the world, Maclean says there were a few defining moments for her during filming.

“Some of the highlights were Greece – going up to the Acropolis and showing the guides about such a wonder of the ancient world and how there is a real mixture of reverence and total casualness there, as you would expect from the range of travel guides we have.

“Mauritius turned out to be an absolute surprise, absolutely beautiful and the paradise you think only exists on Instagram. Cambodia has warmed everyone’s hearts with how really lovely people are and how eager they are to show you everything.

Ultimately, Maclean hopes the show will give Australians something to look forward to after spending so much time at home.

“What’s good with the internationals that we’re showing, they’ve all had very good Covid responses so people will be able to book this vacation before long. We are all ready to start dreaming about international travel and our overseas travel guides will inspire people I think.

Travel guides in Greece. Credit: Canal 9

Travel Guides is broadcast on Wednesday April 28 at 7:30 p.m. on Channel 9 and 9 now

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