Be it ever so humble, there’s no place like home
Travel agents should give the same kind of consideration to selling towering attractions in this country as they do to promoting lofty draws in other nations, a June 25 Baxter Media TravelWebcast was told.
Three panelists – Darcie Guarderas of Anderson Vacations, Tamara Mallin of Rocky Mountaineer and Susan Bowman of Transat Distribution Canada – said the shutdown of many international borders because of the coronavirus pandemic should prompt agents to sell more vacations here, adding Canadian vacation experiences were deserving of more attention from us even before the pandemic set in.
“Look at your own backyard,” Bowman advised viewers of the TravelWebcast session.
Mallin said the lion’s share of passengers on Rocky Mountaineer – which has scenic rail trips linking Alberta and B.C. that showcase the likes of the Rocky Mountains – are non-Canadians. Coronavirus has led to the temporary suspension of Rocky Mountaineer trips.
“We’ve gotten away from selling Canada to Canadians,” Mallin said of the travel industry, adding that when she goes into a travel agency she sees posters of the Eiffel Tower and cruise ships, rather than Canadian vacation experiences.
“We need to keep it (Canada) in the forefront.”
Guarderas in turn pointed out that “it’s never been more important to shop local” and Canada is home to “incredible products.” Her company has such exotic Canadian travel experiences as viewing the Northern Lights in northern locales.
The TravelWebcast was later told by Harry Patel – general manager of Motor Home Travel Canada – that this is a scenic country and Canadians should “recognize the beauty that’s right here on our doorstep.”
Guarderas said she encounters travel agents who say that they don’t sell Canada. “It’s a matter of changing their perspective,” she continued.
All three panelists rejected any belief that vacationing in Canada will automatically amount to a pricey holiday, with Guarderas stating that a Canadian vacation provides “great value.”
Bowman noted those opting for a Canadian vacation won’t have to deal with an exchange rate, while Mallin said that buying insurance for an out-of-country holiday will push up the price of that vacation.
Meanwhile, Patel said motor home travel should look attractive to those concerned about coronavirus as flexible itineraries mean travellers can easily visit uncrowded places, and a Motor Home Travel Canada vehicle is cleaned and “dormant” for 24 hours before another customer can use it.
The company has a fleet of 100 vehicles of varying sizes.
Patel noted his company offers agents 10% commissions and will help them prepare itineraries for their clients.