If you think you know the adventure and drama of TV’s The Amazing Race, just wait until you see Canadian travel advisors in action.
Last month, 36 travel pros laced up their running shoes and hit the cobblestone streets of Basel, Switzerland to compete in the 2021 Air Canada Race, a fun-filled game (inspired by The Amazing Race) where participants work in teams to engage with destinations and drive future business.
The scavenger-like hunt competition on Aug. 29 involved six groups, who were tasked with solving six challenges in six locations in charming Basel, a boutique, arts-oriented town affectionately referred to as “the cultural capital of Switzerland.”
Each challenge was an opportunity to engage with Basel in a memorable and adrenaline-fuelled way, from rapidly dressing mannequins in traditional Basel Carnival costumes to an intense cookie-wrapping competition to a rousing round of Pictionary.
Agents qualified for the race earlier in the year by completing an Air Canada and Switzerland Tourism training program, meeting booking incentives and/or participating in a social media contest.
After 18 months of pandemic restrictions, a reduced flight network and lockdowns, the high-energy trip, which ran until Sept. 2 to include supplier meetings and tours, was held to show travel pros what it’s like to travel during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“It’s a great time for travel agents to shine and show their value,” said Lisa Pierce, vice-president, Canada and USA Sales at Air Canada. “We’ve all read about how travel has changed but there’s nothing like experiencing it for yourself and being able to tell that story so customers can feel confident about travelling.”
The trip was also “a big thank you” to agents for their partnership and for working hard during the pandemic, Pierce said.
But what’s it really like to compete in the Air Canada Race?
PAX’s Michael Pihach was embedded in the race and had his camera rolling the entire time to capture all of the behind-the-scene action that unfolded throughout the day.
Watch PAX’s exclusive Air Canada Race report from Basel, Switzerland here!