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Hibiscus International: Your Source for
Real Estate Travel, Education & Cultural Experiences

For more than 30 years, Hibiscus International has been your destination for travel education, enriching vacations, and unique experiences abroad. Founded by travel and education expert Anne Brobyn whose vision was to design and lead culturally rich, authentic tours to the Caribbean, South Pacific, Micronesia and Europe. Today, the company caters almost exclusively to real estate agents and investors who want to explore the world and investigate international opportunities. 

Since its inception, Hibiscus has been at the forefront of travel education, and has developed an avid following of engaged and adventurous travelers and lifelong learners, eager to experience world cultures first hand – and witness the most beautiful and intoxicating corners of the world. 

Education, real estate & responsible travel sets us apart

Education is the backbone of most of what Hibiscus does. Anne Brobyn has brought her passion and educational track record to grow Hibiscus International into the world’s foremost real estate travel business, unique within the tourism industry. 

Today, with her business partner Gene Jochen, she has launched the world’s first Real Estate Travel Academy. 

 

Through a spirit of innovation, deep destination knowledge and exceptional partnerships around the world, Hibiscus has become a world leader in responsible real estate tourism, helping real estate agents and investors gain mastery over geographies, cultural norms and unique business opportunities abroad. 

Meet our leaders:

Anne Brobyn, Founder/President

Anne Brobyn is a tourism trailblazer, an award-winning travel expert, teacher, and the force behind Hibiscus International. A true citizen of the world, she spent many years traveling abroad and started her tour business three decades ago while on the island of St. Vincent and the Grenadines. <read her personal story>

Anne began her career as a teacher. During those early years, she pioneered a series of successful cultural immersion trips for Humber College students, starting with tours to St. Vincent, an island she knew so well. From that point on her career changed gear to focus exclusively on the development of educational travel and learning programs abroad.

Cultural tour creator for Elderhostel (now Routes to Learning)

From the 90s through to the 2000s, Anne designed enriched cultural tours of Caribbean islands for leading educational organizations to Grenada, Barbados, Trinidad & Tobago, Dominica, Cuba, Jamaica, Guyana and St. Vincent — and also overseas destinations like Spain, Italy and Micronesia. During this time, she created the very first Caribbean study abroad cultural program, endorsed by the University of the West Indies. Her cultural tour design leadership role lasted 18 years, during which she innovated a wide range of enriching experiences, from historical walking tours in Barbados, birding programs in Trinidad & Tobago and marine biology programs in Grenada, to arts, music and culture experiences in Jamaica, culinary and wine tours in Italy and an immersive language program in Spain, all the way to unique history tours of the Mariana Islands.

Market development officer for the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO)

From 2002 to 2005, Anne became the Canadian market development officer for the Caribbean Tourism Organization, responsible for driving sustainable tourism across 30 Caribbean islands. It was a role that exponentially grew her travel insight, regional contacts, and Caribbean cultural knowledge, allowing her to emerge as a leading authority on Caribbean travel.

Travel and tourism education leader (Humber, Seneca, Georgian College & Hibiscus)

Teaching, mentoring and mobilizing groups were always among Anne’s foremost passions. Over her three decades as an educator, she has developed and taught tourism-related curriculum at Humber College, Seneca College and Georgian College, spanning a wide range of topics including tour development, tour leadership, geography, entrepreneurship, spa tourism, event and attraction promotion and management, to name just a few.

In 1997, Anne founded THE Travel School, an accredited niche group tour operator program, as part of her own company Hibiscus International.

Real Estate tourism innovator

In 2005, Anne shifted her focus yet again after working for a hotel developer, providing critical cultural insights and professional contacts in the Caribbean. Through this unique assignment, she leveraged her cultural knowledge and database with property developers and from there began organizing successful real estate tours: a professional ‘pivot’ that has led to the development of Hibiscus’s unique real estate travel focus today.

Anne is a TICO registered agent and lifestyle travel advisor affiliated with Nexion Canada ULC, part of the Travel Leaders Group. She has sat on numerous national travel advisory boards and authored a best-selling book.  Anne is a notable columnist for the North American travel media with outlets including Leisure Group Travel (Chicago), and Baxter Publishing (Toronto). She has authoured a number of online travel training manuals for international education institutions, global destinations, CITC and IATA.

Awards and Recognition:

  • Ambassador of the Year Award – Nexion Travel Group for outstanding leadership & collegiality 2017
  • Innovative Teacher of the Year Award (Humber College) for development of the Caribbean Cultural Awareness Program endorsed by the University of the West Indies 1991
  • Professional Integrity Award – Travel Media Association of Canada 2002
  • Development of Peace Through Tourism Award – by the UN sponsored International Institute for Peace in Tourism IIPT for development of cultural tourism 1994
  • Margaret Hare Leadership Award from the National Yacht Club, Toronto for C&C Owners Regatta: Rums & Pirates of the Caribbean 2005

Boards & Affiliations:

  • Caribbean Tourism Organization – Ontario Chapter
  • Ecotourism Association of Canada
  • Travel Media Association of Canada – Education & Industry Development Chair
  • Nexion Travel Group – Canadian Representative on the North American Board
  • Caribbean Tourism Organization with HQ in Barbados and North American office in NYC – Allied Member
  • Licensed TICO (Travel Industry Council of Ontario) Travel Advisor
  • IATA approved card holder/member in good standing
  • ACTA approved card holder/member in good standing
Gene Jochen, Chief Operating Officer

While Anne is the creative power behind the success of Hibiscus, Gene comprises the solid business and operations foundation.

Corporate training and executive leadership

Dynamic, determined and possessing an inspiringly positive outlook, Gene brings three decades of top-level business leadership and management experience to the success of Hibiscus International.

Originally from New York City, Gene holds a BBA in operational management from Pace University, and an MBA in Global Management from the University of Phoenix.  Prior to joining Anne in the leadership of Hibiscus, he had already forged an illustrious career in business. For more than 20 years, he drove strong sales results and a culture of excellence for Sysco Food Service, starting as a sales manager and progressing to corporate director of training, talent management and operations. After Sysco, Gene co-founded a travel agency, B Smart Travel, which he has run for five years.  Gene has also been a professor of management and business studies at Fleming College and is today a consultant who facilitates leadership development programs for corporate executives and C-suite leaders.

Impassioned world traveller

Gene’s lifelong passion for travel was sparked at age 16 on his first overseas trip to Belgium with his high school band. Throughout his successful corporate career, he continued to pursue his personal travel passion, aiming to experience as many destinations and cultures as possible in his lifetime.  To this end, he has traveled through most of the U.S., Canada, Europe, the Caribbean, Mexico, and also explored extensively into Africa, Asia, the Middle East (Israel) and parts of South and Central America. With his extensive travel experience, and exceptional global contacts, Gene is today a master of curating and facilitating immersive cultural experiences abroad, equipping travelers to fully explore the “nooks and crannies” of a vibrant new city, a sleepy beachside town, or any exotic destination.

Accomplished athlete, musician, and avid volunteer

As testament to his positive attitude and disciplined mind, Gene has completed over 100 marathons (including the Boston Marathon), 11 Ironman competitions – and has a book currently in progress.  He is also an accomplished jazz musician. On the giving front, Gene has led volunteer initiatives with a number of notable organizations, including Big Brothers, Hospice, the YMCA, the Breast Cancer Foundation, Toastmasters International and Business Network International (BNI). 

Gene is a TICO registered agent and lifestyle travel advisor affiliated with Nexion Canada ULC, part of the Travel Leaders Group.  He has sat on the Nexion travel advisory board and received the Nexion Rising Star Award 2017.

Boards & Affiliations:

  • Director Consultant – Business Networks International
  • Nexion Travel Group – Canadian Representative on the North American Board
  • Licensed TICO (Travel Industry Council of Ontario) Travel Advisor
  • IATA approved card holder/member in good standing
  • ACTA approved card holder/member in good standing

Hibiscus International is...

a fully licensed travel agency and home to the Real Estate Travel Academy. We deliver virtual and on location educational tours, along with cultural immersion experiences around the world.

We cater to globally minded real estate agents and investors seeking to broaden their horizons, in business and life. 

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Ready to venture abroad and explore the world of International real estate? 

Tap into our rich destination expertise, our knowledge of world cultures and our vast network of professional contacts to curate the real estate travel adventure of your dreams.  CONTACT US NOW

Interested in upcoming virtual real estate tours, small group cruises and tours or a customized private real estate vacation?          LEARN MORE

Hibiscus International is affiliated with Nexion Canada, ULC 100-235 North Centre Rd., London, ON, N5X 4E7. HQ Phone 519-660-6966 TICO Reg#1549342