Vancouver International Travel Expo: The Perfect Remedy to the Rainy Day Blues
with Vickie Sam Paget
ACTA director of membership Doreen Lynch, with ACTA membership manager for Western Canada Judy Bunkall.
Kirsten Oakes of TPI Oakville Ontario, with Michael Mullin, sales executive for Western Canada for CIE Tours, Tourism Australia and the Asia Connection, and Tourism Fiji regional director for North America, Ruth Daly.
Playa Hotels & Resorts BDM for Western Canada, Freddie Marsh.
Rodrigo Diaz de Rivera, managing director for Western Canada, Mexico Tourism Board. Stunning: Indonesian Merak Dance performers from Indonesia.
Question: What’s the perfect antidote to a dreary, rainy evening in downtown Vancouver?
This is the second year that the show has hit the city’s stylish Conference Centre, and with more than 200 exhibitors representing every corner of the globe, it didn’t fail to impress.
The exhibition hall was reserved exclusively for travel agents from 3pm until opening to the travelling public at 5pm, providing agents with the opportunity for some precious face-to-face time with suppliers old and new.
The atmosphere was bright and breezy -- despite the rain outside -- as the region’s top agents happily rubbed shoulders with suppliers from across the world. Adventure travel providers, all-inclusive resorts, airlines, tourist boards, tour operators, cruise lines and safari leaders: they were all there from 23 countries to share their expertise with the 450-plus travel agents who attended over the weekend.
On the Mexico Tourism Board stand the mood was jovial, as Rodrigo Diaz de Rivera, managing director for Western Canada, celebrated the launch of the new ‘A World of its Own’ promotional campaign, which positions Mexico as a mega-destination offering travellers a lifetime of experiences -- not just all-inclusive beach vacations.
He was also happy to report that he has found Western Canada’s travel agent community highly “innovative” during his first seven months at the helm of tourist board in the west.
“I know that 45% of tickets sold each year to Mexico come from the travel agencies, and I think that Canadian travellers are very traditional, so it’s important for Mexico Tourism to have a good relationship with travel agents,” he said. “They've been really good to me and I’ve made some good friends who have been teaching me my way around.”
Meanwhile, over at the Playa Resorts booth, Freddie Marsh, the company’s BDM for Western Canada, was happy to share the latest on the company’s fresh new brand, Panama Jack Resorts.
“The tagline is that it’s for travellers – not tourists,” explained Marsh. “The Gran Caribe in Cancun and Gran Porto in Playa del Carmen are undergoing massive renovations and in December they’ll be rebranded and go up to a solid four or four-and-a-half rating.
“We think they’ll do well because of the fun atmosphere and the fact that they’ll be family all-inclusive.”
And what could be better to think about on a dreary, rainy evening in Vancouver than that?
Welcoming the world: Vancouver International Travel Expo show manager, Steve Klein