For the past 15 years, Overseas Network has been a leading Miami-based international destination management company and luxury tourism operator, creating unique travel experiences for travel advisors and travel planners worldwide. Felix Brambilla is founder and lead partner.
He is also a world traveler and has first-hand knowledge regarding the needs and wants of the contemporary luxury traveler.
He has carried his company into the pulse of cultural diversity, carrying the client travel experience to far more than mere comings and goings. He has chosen to allow his traveling clients to experience travel essences – beyond explanations of destination, to those of luxury connectivity to culture, worth, and legacy.
“As an example,” he said recently, “ If you fly to Prague on a private jet, go to the National Théâtre and the State Opera, and miss walking on the Charles Bridge at dawn, experiencing a beer spa, and sampling Prague chocolate, I would argue you may not fully understand Prague’s essences and histories. This essence is what our company provides, allowing our clients to learn cultural connections by allowing them to experience the more subtle, dimensional worth of the country, not just those with more obvious tourist appeal.”
It can be intuited by these words that Mr. Bramblla’s job is more of a calling than an actual nine-to-five. The combined sense of mission and passion led him and his company to a new, appealing engagement, one that seems fitting to Overseas Network.
It is this: Overseas Network has become the official travel partner for Qatar Airways, the Official Airline of FIFA, whose mission it is to create off-site cultural experiences as part of the Official Fan Travel Packages for FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022™.
At present, Qatar Airways has increased connectivity to Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Dallas-Fort Worth, Los Angeles, Houston, Miami, New York, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Seattle and Washington, D.C. As part of Qatar Airways goal to bring communities together through sport, Qatar Airways has a global sports partnership portfolio that includes soccer-governing bodies such as FIFA, CONCACAF and CONMEBOL.
Because of this unique Qatar Airways appointment, Overseas Network has opened an office in Qatar, with additional subsidiary companies, to further develop unique local, authentic cultural attractions around the stadium match experience for sports fans attending the FIFA World Cup. It is expected that FIFA will attract 1.3 million visitors from more than 14 countries to visit the region in November 2022. The FIFA tournament will also be held across eight world-class stadiums designed as homages of Arabian culture.
Just two examples of these unique designs: Al Janoub stadium, opened its doors in May 2019. Designed by Zaha Hadid, the 40,000-seat arena draws inspiration from the Dhow boats which dot Qatar’s waters.
The other, Al Thumama stadium is another purpose-built venue for the FIFA World Cup 2022. Al Thumama Stadium has been designed by Ibrahim M. Jaidah, a well respected Qatari architect, who was inspired by the gahfiya, a woven cap traditionally worn by men in many Arab countries. In keeping with Qatar Airways and Overseas Network’s broader view towards legacy, the 40,000-seat stadium’s capacity will be halved after the FIFA World Cup 2022, with seats being donated to countries requiring sporting infrastructure.
A dedicated customer service team provided by Overseas Network , and will be available specifically for fans purchasing packages from the U.S, to help with any needs or inquiries.
The inflection point, says Mr. Brambilla, is for Overseas Network, along with Qatar Airways, to promote the FIFA World Cup as a new, innovative path leading toward a new, supportive cross-cultural awareness provided by an exclusive range of cultural experiences. Overseas Network allows their clients to experience
- luxury pearl fishing in traditional Dhow Boats on sunset cruises.
- Bedouin Desert Camp excursions in the Southern Dunes
- tours by local guides to Education City, an entertainment camp in the northern region
- Soccer matches arranged on a custom-built football field in the desert
- Meet-and-greet receptions for fans with professional players
As regards the last, MLS Iron Man Luis Robles, the recently retired soccer player and the first ever nominated team member for the New York Red Bulls Legends Row, now serves as the athlete brand ambassador for Overseas Network and its FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 program.
As one of the first U.S. based travel organizations to plant roots in Qatar, Mr. Brambilla and Overseas Travel Network, serves as local cultural concierge and travel planner for foreign visitors. Each day, he understands more of the nature and culture of Qatar, its Bedouin roots, and contemporary enticement for world travelers.
He comments, “One of the major reasons why Overseas Network is so enlivened to work with Qatar Airways is we both see our roles, especially as regard FIFA, as an active link, and an ethical, cultural bridge that can be created between east and west.
When I think about the line in the Kipling poem, The Ballad Of East And West, where there’s the famous line, “East Is East and West Is West and Never the Twain Shall Meet”? Well, the twain has broken, and we are a part of this joyful disruption. In its place will be, through Overseas Travel Network, FIFA and Qatar Airways, a greater potential for education, understanding, and enrichment. This is just the beginning. There will be much more to come.”
The Education City Mosque — the community-focused mosque in Qatar and the region. It’s located in the Minaretein building, which rests on five large columns representing the five pillars of Islam, with each featuring a verse drawn from the Holy Koran.
Felix Brambilla is founder and lead partner
Image Source: rarrarorro / Shutterstock