Destination Britain North America Pays Off For Canadian Tour Operators

Canadian tourism product buyers who attended the recent Destination Britain North America (DBNA) event in San Francisco were pleased that time invested there paid off in results for their tourism operations, reports Press Today’s western editor, Ted Davis who attended the marketplace earlier in September.

For TravelBrands, that meant meeting face-to-face with key suppliers like Premium Tours that is a current source of UK tourism products, and Encore Tickets that offers bookings for theatre seats, plus many of the tourism boards.

“Nothing beats having this in-person connection that one cannot get via a screen,” said Elvi Cal, the senior VP product and commercial for TravelBrands. “It is invaluable to meet supplier partners on a face-to-face basis.”

Elvi Cal, TravelBrands 

The DBNA event also yielded contact with new suppliers that might lead to future business for TravelBrands, “especially on our Exotik Journeys side that tends to do more a la carte and specialized individual/group itineraries for agents and their clients,” he said.

Cal also had the opportunity to participate in a roundtable discussion that was hosted by VisitBritain and led by VisitBritain chairman Nick de Bois CBE. “This was a hugely valuable opportunity to hear insights and discuss the trends driving outbound tourism from North America, as well as some of the challenges,” said Cathy Stapells, VisitBritain’s senior marketing/communications mgr. in Canada.

Participants included United Airlines, Virgin Atlantic, Avanti Destinations, TravelBrands, Authentic Vacations, Hilton, Expedia, Meta, United States Tour Operators Association, Canadian Association of Tour Operators and the Department for International Trade.

“Lots of great ideas were shared and learned,” said Cal. “We always find it beneficial to see existing partners, meet new ones for opportunities and support VisitBritain to drive more awareness and business to the UK.”

For NARAT INC. of Toronto, the DBNA provided the opportunity to start new supplier relationships as the company adds Great Britain to its vacation portfolio. From there, these products will be made available to retail travel agents.

To accomplish this, the participation at DBNA was largely beneficial, said Thanushka Nanayakkara, the CEO of NARAT, and a first-time attendee at the DBNA marketplace.

“DBNA provided a convenient time-saving mechanism to access information on the destination, meet with suppliers, as well as speak with key stakeholders and VisitBritain officials, facilitating a preliminary product development step,” said Nanayakkara.

He met with several organizations at the event and these companies will be qualified according to NARAT’s current requirements for continued dialogue. These organizations include inventory, amenity and ground handling provisioners, amongst others.

The NARAT CEO agreed with Cal that the benefits of face-to-face meetings is invaluable. “Meeting in a virtual environment cannot duplicate the nuances of face-to-face business interaction, nor duplicate the spirit of a live event, which can translate into more effective productivity for parties.”

In the photos

Nick de Bois, the chairman of VisitBritain, led an industry round table discussion during the Destination Britain North America event. Elvi Cal of TravelBrands was one of the executives who participated.

San Francisco was the setting for the recent Destination Britain North America travel trade marketplace, earlier in September.