On The Limping Loonie: It’s Not Armageddon

Open Jaw
by Martha Chapman

The Chinese calendar may say we’ve entered the year of the monkey, but if you chat with the folks at you’d think we’re in the year of the travel agent.

The consortium’s Canadian numbers have grown to 758 agencies – up 74 in the past year. Nexion, their at-home agent arm, recently recruited its 200th agent. And almost ¾ of their Canadian members say their 2016 bookings are on a par with, or higher, than this time last year.

In a conversation with Open Jaw, President John Lovell and Canadian V.P. Christine James shared other news from the group that is always keen to remain ahead of the curve.

James is particulary excited about VYP –’s Young Professionals group for agents under 40. Last fall’s events in Vancouver and Toronto were such a success that participating suppliers have already signed up for this year  – and a spring event is under consideration.

Both James and Lovell are extremely optimistic about the organization’s annual international conference, slated for Hollywood, Florida in May.  “There are 3 main components,” Lovell explained. “Education, the trade show – one of the best and largest in the industry, with over 200 exhibitors – and networking. It’s a huge bonus for our members to have access to the highest levels of industry executives the way they do at our conferences.” And, he added, perhaps a 4th component: having fun.

Hard to talk state-of-the-union without addressing the limping loonie. “Yes it’s disheartening,” said James, “But it’s great that so many suppliers such as the luxury cruise lines are trying to get in front of it with specials for Canadian residents. Plus we have the weather on our side: when it gets too cold Canadians simply have to get out of the country regardless.”

And what does the crystal ball show for the rest of 2016? “We turned the new year in a very good position, and though the past few weeks have proven difficult with the stock market, I’m an optimist and think people will want to take a vacation and recharge their batteries,” Lovell told me. “It’s not Armageddon – just a different market and we’ll get through it. We always do!”

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