Travel Agent Day is an annual day of recognition that takes place on the first Wednesday of May – and if there was a time to recognize and honour the hard work and resilience of travel advisors, it’s now.
After nearly 14 months of economic challenges due to the COVID-19 pandemic, travel trade communities – one of, if not the hardest-hit sector in Canada – continue to face immense pressure and barriers.
From the ongoing fight to protect commissions from clawbacks to advocating for extended financial aid (a lifeline to so many) to navigating through the uncertainty of when travel and border restrictions will be lifted and when planes will start flying again, travel advisors are still in the thicket of an overwhelming, unique and extremely challenging situation.
While hope is on the horizon as vaccinations ramp up across the country, several businesses have been forced to close their doors and some professionals have had no choice but to leave the industry altogether.
This makes Travel Agent Day 2021, and demonstrating true appreciation for the dedication travel advisors show towards the industry and their clients, all the more important. In many industry circles, the celebration is often extended for the entire month.
Travel Agent Day was founded by Colleen Lorenzen of Uniglobe Carefree Travel in Saskatoon, Sask, eleven years ago. (You can join the official Facebook group here).
And since then, the day has evolved into a globally-recognized event, bringing together travel professionals from all corners of the industry.
Here’s how some trade groups, tourism boards and suppliers are celebrating Travel Agent Day 2021.
The Association of Canadian Travel Agencies (ACTA) is celebrating travel agents with a special contest on social media.
Check in with ACTA on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn to learn about how ACTA is celebrating travel agents and four lucky Canadian travel agents will have a chance to win some great travel prizes.
“Travel Agent Day is the perfect opportunity to have some fun and continue to spread the word on how important the service of a professional travel agent is when booking a trip,” said Wendy Paradis, president of ACTA.
Click here for details!
African Travel, Inc. (ATI) is sharing its appreciation for the ongoing support and perseverance of its travel advisor partners by extending an invitation to Canadian travel advisors and their travel companion to experience Africa with exclusive advisor rates on select 2021 departures.
To qualify, travel advisors are asked to complete courses via the 2021 Advisor Education Program so advisors and their guests can enjoy the flexibility ATI offers clients on an educational trip.
Plus, advisors will receive $200 total cash back on the cost of their educational trip after their first booking of seven nights or more.
The educational trip rates are unbeatable, with highlights including ATI’s new Ultimate Botswana and Victoria falls which features a stay at Red Carnation Hotels’ newly opened Xigera Safari Lodge. Space is limited so Advisors are encouraged to secure their spot by completing African Travel University and contacting a safari specialist at 1-800-421-8907.
In addition, ATI has a current promotion offering 10% additional savings to clients on its 10 most popular trips, valid for travel anytime in 2021. Clients can save up to $2,000 on trips, with travel advisors receiving a full commission.
Air Canada Vacations has released a special video to thank the trade for all their hard work and dedication.
Also, on May 5 only, travel agents can earn an extra two per cent commission on select vacation packages plus an extra $100 per confirmed group. T&Cs only applicable to new bookings of select vacation packages made on May 5, 2021, for travel completed by April 30, 2022. Not applicable to flight-only, land-only or Cruise bookings. Minimum 3-night stay required.
2% Bonus commission: Valid for new individual bookings only. Only applicable to new bookings of select vacation packages to Mexico, the Caribbean, Central America, Hawaii, California, Orlando and Las Vegas.
$100 Bonus commission: Valid for new confirmed group bookings only. Applicable to any destination. $100 commission is per group booking.
In celebration of travel agents, Air North, Yukon’s airline will be giving one lucky travel agent a trip to the Yukon.
The winner and a guest will fly round-trip from anywhere on Air North’s route network to Whitehorse, Yukon – a wilderness city nestled on the banks of the Yukon River, on the lands of the Kwanlin Dün First Nation and Ta'an Kwäch'än Council.
“The past year has been a very difficult one for all of us, as we have watched our industry experience immense setbacks in all the facets of travel and tourism. We want to give our partners and friends in the travel trade community something to look forward to as recognition of their valuable contributions,” said Denis Parry, Air North’s Director of Tour, Agency & Group Sales.
Air North offers direct flights from British Columbia, Alberta, and the Northwest Territories to the Yukon. They also seasonally offer flights between Ottawa and Whitehorse.
The deadline for entry is May 7, 2021 at 4:00 p.m. PT.
One prize available consisting of a round-trip for two travellers from Vancouver, Kelowna, Victoria, Edmonton, Calgary, Ottawa, Yellowknife, Inuvik, Old Crow, or Dawson City to Whitehorse on Air North, Yukon’s Airline.
Full information can be found at flyairnorth.com/travelagentweek.
AmaWaterways has announced special Advance FAM rates on 25 select sailings in Europe embarking October through December 2021 just in time for Travel Agent Day.
Travel advisors can now reserve their seven-night AmaWaterways river cruise more than five months prior to their departure, and with a new “Sail With Me” incentive, advisors are also able to earn back the cost of their stateroom by making three new FIT bookings on the same sailing. New client bookings under the “Sail With Me” bonus offer must be made May 1- 31, 2021.
“This year’s Travel Advisor Appreciation Day comes at what we believe is the beginning of a strong rebound in international travel and our travel partners are ready to take advantage of this demand. By opening up Advance FAM rates and dates five months in advance, we hope to encourage new advisors to experience the AmaWaterways difference as well as allow our loyal travel partners to re-connect with their AmaFamily on board,” said Kristin Karst, executive vice president and co-founder of AmaWaterways. “There is no better way to build confidence and trust than for travel advisors to invite their valued clients to sail along with them and we are thrilled to refund the FAM cost if they are able to bring along three full paying staterooms!”
Over the past year, AmaWaterways’ sales and marketing teams have worked to support travel advisor partners in keeping their client’s river cruise dreams alive.
Examples include: over 3,000 webinars and virtual cruise nights, creation of new digital content and social media marketing toolkits and a personalization enhancement that places the travel advisor’s contact information in guests’ emails. As the demand for longer duration cruises in less crowded destinations, family reunions and milestone celebrations fuel stronger than ever demand for river cruises, the “Sail with Me” incentive provides an opportunity for travel advisors to earn commission revenue for 2021 while enjoying a much-deserved complimentary river cruise.
“As the only U.S. based river cruise line with successful operating experience during 2020, this incentive is our way of encouraging travel advisors and their clients to re-discover the world with a trusted partner. We deeply value our long-standing, close-working relationship with the travel advisor community and we look forward to welcoming them, and their clients, back on board very soon,” added Gary Murphy, co-owner and senior vice president, sales of AmaWaterways.
Travel advisors who wish to take advantage of the Advance FAM rates and “Sail With Me” incentive need to register on AmaWaterways Travel Advisor Portal and submit their Advance FAM application.
AmaAcademy graduates enjoy FAM rate savings and also qualify for a bonus commission offer.
Atlas Ocean Voyages is launching its new Master of Bucket-list Destinations professional development program on the brand’s online portal, Atlas Advisor Central.
Travel advisors automatically qualify for special FAM fares after completing of the first course and can earn up to $200-bonus commission on their first new booking after completing both courses.
Additionally, Atlas will include a special Travel Agent Appreciation logo throughout May and promote travel advisors in all the cruise brand’s trade and consumer marketing.
Atlas’ Travel Advisors Appreciation campaign begins May 1, and the new Master of Bucket-list Destinations course is live on May 3.
“Atlas sincerely appreciates Travel Advisors and recommends all travellers work with a Travel Advisor,” said President Alberto Aliberti and Senior Vice President of Business Development Carlos Garzon. “Our new Master of Bucket-list Destinations program provides our valued travel advisor partners with important information and resources to help them market and sell Atlas’ once-in-a-lifetime experiences to clients who seek an extraordinary return-to-cruise. While we spotlight the importance of travel advisors throughout this month, Atlas appreciates Travel Advisors every day of the year.”
Travel Advisors can register with Atlas Ocean Voyages and access the new professional development module and all archived modules by clicking on the “Travel Advisor” button at the top of www.AtlasOceanVoyages.com.
The Cuba Tourist Board aimed to bring a “little joy and excitement” to Travel Agent Day this year by hosting a photo contest for the trade.
Travel advisors had just under a month to submit a picture that captured their favourite memory of Cuba for a chance to win a trip to Cuba and other prizes.
The winners were announced yesterday, and according to Lessner Gomez, director of the Cuba Tourist Board in Toronto, choosing a winner was difficult because of the “number of terrific photo-memories that were submitted.”
“It is obvious that the agents who participated have a special place in their heart for Cuba, and the photos they submitted reflected this,” he said.
View the winning photographs here!
Collette showed its appreciation for travel advisors this year by releasing an industry-wide love letter.
“For the past 103 years, Collette has been dedicated to making travel dreams a reality for hundreds of thousands of travellers each year. And without the continued support of your efforts, we wouldn’t be here today,” reads the letter, which you can read in full here.
Club Med is recognizing travel advisors all month long.
From May 5 to June 2, 2021, agents are invited to participate in fun and exciting challenges via the dedicated Facebook group for Canadian travel advisors Club Med Janet and Samantha, Amazing you! The activities will be posted every Wednesday and agents will have until the following Tuesday to complete the challenge where they will be given different ways to virtually travel to Club Med on exciting missions.
Each week, participating travel advisors will have the chance to win a one-week stay for two adults at a Club Med resort. Every Wednesday, the winner from the previous week’s challenge will be announced.
In addition to the weekly challenge winners, at the end of May, one lucky winner will be rewarded with the Grand Prize.
All participants of the previous challenges will be entered into the Grand Prize draw, where the champion will receive a one-week trip for two at a Club Med resort and will be invited to the first FAM Trip at Club Med Québec Charlevoix, which is scheduled to open on December 3, 2021.
For more information on Club Med’s Travel Advisor Month, click here.
Contiki is appreciating the continued support from its travel agent community more than ever.
To celebrate its partners this Travel Agent Day, Contiki is offering travel agents a 2% commission top-up on any new booking made between May 6th through May 13th, 2021.
To redeem this top-up, Travel Agents are asked to email email@example.com with their booking number to receive their extra commission.
Ensemble Travel Group is encouraging members to celebrate themselves and use Travel Agent Day as an opportunity to connect with clients in a meaningful and authentic way.
To do that, Ensemble has created several tools and resources that members can customize and use.
- A promotional consumer-oriented video that celebrates all the reasons we love to travel that can also be shared on social media.
- Social media posts to share on Instagram and Facebook
- An “I Love My Clients” Facebook frame
Ensemble is also encouraging members to offer their expertise on all things travel related – particularly as consumers have so many questions – in their respective local markets.
G Adventures is thanking travel advisors by awarding Canadian agents a bonus 2% commission on every new booking made between May 03 and 15, 2021, for travel by January 31, 2022.
To help agents incentivize their customers to book now, the adventure operator is also extending its popular 15% off Classic trips sale for the month of May.
The discount applies to a wide selection of tours across the Classic trip portfolio, all of which can be combined with the 2% commission bonus for new bookings made
“This past year has not been easy, but our agency partners have stood by us and continued to inspire their customers to book a life-changing adventure with G Adventures,” said David Green, VP commercial for G Adventures. “The commitment of agents deserves more than just a thank-you this Travel Agent Appreciation Day. We want to reward them with some extra cash, and more bookings, so they can in turn get back to doing what they do best, sending people on their dream adventures.”
“We’re through the worst of the pandemic and with more people knowing when they will be fully vaccinated now is the time to be encouraging people to book for late 2021 and to inspire confidence. We’re seeing new bookings consistently rise month over month, and our consumer research indicates that as more people get vaccinated the more they are ready to book.”
“There is so much pent up demand - new bookings are increasing and people are looking at international travel from September onwards. I know how tough this past year has been for everyone, and we will continue to support our beloved agents any way we can.”
To register on Sherpa, agents can click here.
Insight Vacations is running a contest on its IV Insider Facebook page on Travel Agent Day.
The contest and special prize will be revealed on May 5th, 2021, so advisors are encouraged to join in on the fun and visit the IV Insider page for further details.
Tourism Ireland is offering up a big thank you to travel agents all across Canada for their support and partnership.
‘We would like to take the opportunity to acknowledge and express our gratitude to all of our partners and travel agents across the country, for their continued engagement and passion for Ireland throughout these challenging times” said Sandra Moffatt, manager, Tourism Ireland, Canada. “We greatly look forward to sharing our world-famous ‘Céad Míle Fáilte – ‘one hundred thousand welcomes’ with you and your clients as soon as the time is right."
To assist agents and arm them with the tools they need to sell the island of Ireland to their clients, Tourism Ireland offers a number of supports for agents, including:
- The Ireland Specialist Program
- IrelandsContentPool.com: Content Library: 45K+ video and images free to use
- Ireland Insiders Facebook Group – Exclusive to travel agents
- Sign up for monthly e-zine updates including itineraries, events, FAMs and more.
“As we get ready to travel again, Ireland will be waiting to fill your heart with its beauty and warmth — until then we invite you to dream of your future adventures,” the tourism board said.
The Jamaica Tourist Board (JTB) got an early and animated start on Travel Agent Day – last month, the JTB provided 200 Canadian travel advisors with an opportunity to transform themselves into personalized caricatures c/o artist Cesar Vargas.
Then yesterday (May 4), during the JTB’s weekly Irie Hour virtual chill and chat session over Zoom, Jamaica's Minister of Tourism, the one and only Hon. Edmund Bartlett, logged in to personally thank travel advisors for their support.
The Minister called travel advisors a “valid part” of Jamaica’s own experience in building and promoting its experiences to the world.
“We’re hoping that very shortly we can have all of you in Canada right here in Jamaica, seeing again, refreshing yourselves, of the wonderful values of this great destination,” he said.
Addressing the COVID-19 situation, The Minister offered this: “One thing we are sure of is that we are getting out of this…we all are determined that we are going beat back this pandemic,” he said, calling COVID-19 vaccines the “biggest protection we have against future spread of the disease.”
Minister Bartlett emphasized that Jamaica’s Resilient Corridor is “fully compliant in every aspect” and that the country is improving the quality of its services and experiences with enhanced staff training.
“We’ve trained over 20,000 of them, virtually, already,” he said, adding that Jamaica is embracing its own “Blue Ocean” strategy, which aims to offer “something that no one else is offering.”
“We love Canada and Canada loves Jamaica. We’ve had a wonderful partnership and experience over the years,” the Minister said. “Bless you all…have a wonderful [Travel Agent Day], and although I will not be there physically with you, consider that my heart is with you.”
“Enjoy your day. It’s your day. Revel in it.”
The Los Cabos Tourism Board would like to congratulate the travel industry community and thank them for their tireless efforts in a trying time.
“Navigating this pandemic would not have been possible without the collaboration and partnership from our Canadian friends and partners,” said Rodrigo Esponda, Managing Director of the Los Cabos Tourism Board. “It is because of the efforts of travel agents that our destination remains top of mind and ready to welcome Canadians as restrictions lift.”
The Tourism Board recognizes that agents have been tested in the wake of COVID like never before, forced to take on new and vital responsibilities over the last 14 months.
Today, Los Cabos extends a sincere appreciation for all these efforts and looks forward to the full resumption of Canadian tourism in the months to come.
The team at Playa Hotels and Resorts released this fun video in celebration of travel advisors.
Playa has two incentives offering double points and an opportunity to win two roundtrip tickets to Cancun on WestJet and is awarding more hotel stays and AgentCASH+ points. Click here for more details.
Royal Irish Tours is running an incentive for travel advisors for the month of May – and it does not require any bookings!
Simply organize a virtual consumer night with your clients, co-hosted by Royal Irish Tours. The event can take place any time in 2021 but must be booked in the month of May. If 10 or more guests register, you will receive a $50 gift card and will automatically be entered into a draw to win a space on a Royal Irish Tours fam!
Jonathan or Orla from Royal Irish Tours are happy to host the event on the RIT Zoom account or you can use your own platform if you prefer. The event format and theme are up to you (as long as it is related in some way to Ireland or the UK!). It could be a general travel inspiration event, a trivia night, a cooking class or perhaps a virtual tour of Ireland, Scotland, England or Wales.
“We have been doing weekly webinars with advisors since April 2020 and we know many advisors would love to do these with clients to keep them engaged and inspired about travel. We are open to any weird and wonderful ideas they have (within reason!). Our aim is to make it simple for them to host a light-hearted, fun event and it’s a great way to re-engage clients,” said Jonathan Sargeant, sales manager at Royal Irish.
Royal Irish have hosted or been involved in many interesting virtual events in the last year with advisors and their clients, including Irish coffee & bread baking demonstrations, trivia nights, Game of Thrones themed parties, whiskey tastings and much more.
Contact Jonathan or Orla today to organize your consumer night and have some fun with your clients while they are home and dreaming of travel, like all of us! The draw for the fam space will take place on June 3, 2021.
The family-owned Red Carnation Hotels (RCH), renowned for impeccable service and generous hospitality, recognizes the integral role its luxury travel partners play in its Red Carnation Family.
Travel advisors are invited to discover more about the world of RCH by visiting Its dedicated Travel Advisor Academy.
If travel advisors would like to experience one of its boutique collection hotels, please reach out to Melissa Young via email: firstname.lastname@example.org. Requests will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis.
Sandals Resorts International thanks travel advisors for their continued support in the face of the pandemic and applaud them for their tenacity, courage and passion displayed during these unprecedented times.
“While many parts of the travel industry are saying ‘we’re back’, Sandals Resorts and Beaches Resorts are proud to say ‘we never left,” said Gary C. Sadler, executive vice-president – sales & industry relations, Unique Vacations Inc. “Throughout 2020 and up to today, our sales team in Canada, led by Maureen Barnes-Smith, has been steadfast in actively and consistently maintaining contact with travel advisors from Newfoundland to British Columbia. Whether it was a simple phone call to check in, assisting with reservations questions or providing product updates and training...in the end, we wanted advisors to know that our priority was supporting them, just like we’ve always done.”
In addition to sharing a personal video message from Executive Chairman Adam Stewart, Sandals also has the following special offers:
Registering Bookings – For May 5 only, the 30-day policy for registering Tour Operator bookings on the Sandals Travel Advisor portal (taportal.sandals.com) has been temporarily lifted. Advisors have the exclusive opportunity to register all of their missed bookings that were not previously registered within the 30-day window.
P2P x2 – Advisors will receive DOUBLE Points to Paradise for every new direct booking or Registered Tour Operator booking made for today only (May 5)
- Certified Sandals Specialist Status (CSS) – Current CSS status will be extended through the end of 2022
- Preferred Sandals Agency Status (PSA) – Current PSA status will be extended through the end of 2022
- The Chairman’s Royal Club Status (CRC) – Chairman’s Royal Club members will maintain their membership for 2022.
Trafalgar and Costsaver are celebrating Travel Agent Day, and Travel Advisor Appreciation Month for the entire month of May. On May 5th at 1:00 p.m. EST, the Canadian Business Development Manager team is hosting a Facebook Live event via its Travel Agent Tribe Facebook page to thank and celebrate its cherished travel agent partners and all they do to share and connect clients to the joy of travel.
Additionally, Trafalgar and Costsaver are inviting agents to participate in a month-long contest for a chance to win a $500 future travel voucher towards a Trafalgar or Costsaver vacation.
To enter, Travel Agents are asked to comment on weekly posts to be shared on the Facebook page throughout May, and each comment equals one entry into the grand prize draw.
Agents can earn up to four entries, commenting in response to questions like, “I’m proud to be a Travel Advisor because…” or “My ultimate pivot moment in 2020 was…” with the grand prize winner to be randomly selected at the end of the month.
“Trafalgar and Costaver know we are stronger, together, and the value of an exceptional partner has never been more important as we welcome the new world of travel and restart the travel industry,” the tour operator said.
Uniworld Boutique River Cruises is celebrating travel agents by offering rates of up to 60% off its published fares for travel advisors on select departure dates for 2021 voyages to experience the Uniworld difference first-hand.
The offer is available to any travel advisor who completes ‘Uniworld University’ as part of The Travel Corporation’s (TTC) Academy program.
Once Advisors have completed Uniworld University, they are being asked to contact Uniworld’s Inside Sales Team to book their masterpiece of a vacation at 1-800-733-7820.
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