After launching in Canada in the middle of the pandemic, representatives from Brendan Vacations — a tour operator specializing exclusively in Ireland & Scotland — were in Toronto last night to raise the profile of the company in the Canadian market.
As Melissa DaSilva, president of parent company TTC Tour Brands in North America, explains, the travel trade is crucial to Brendan Vacations as “98% of our sales come from our travel agent partners.”
And while the product is new in Canada, Brendan Vacations has been in business in the US for 54 years.
“I would say we do every travel style so there’s nothing you can ask for in Ireland or Scotland that we won’t be able to provide whether it’s a guided vacation or self drive vacation, we do locally hosted rail, we do high end luxury self drive vacations as well as private chauffeur vacations,” DaSilva tells PressToday.
Describing the product as “anything in a kilt,” Catherine Reilly, managing director for Brendan Vacations, says the company introduces travellers to a nation of storytellers.
“Every opportunity we have, we put our guests in front of local people who will tell them what life is like in both Ireland and Scotland,” Reilly adds. “From Brendan’s perspective, we pride ourselves in taking everything personally, but particularly our relationships with our guests.”
With many Canadians having family ties to Ireland and Scotland, Reilly notes that trips that incorporate tracing a person’s ancestry are also common.
David Cleary, head of sales for EPIC, The Irish Emigration Museum, was on hand to demonstrate what the experience is like by revealing details about the history of one audience member’s heritage — down to the exact location where her family resided over a century ago. Brendan Vacations guests can have a similar experience by submitting their details three months before a trip so that all the research is done ahead of time and they will be presented with the findings upon arrival at the interactive museum.
Pictured at the event are Catherine Reilly, managing director, Brendan Vacations and Melissa DaSilva, president of TTC Tour Brands, North America.
Stay tuned for more on Brendan Vacations in an upcoming edition of Travel Courier.