Prior to working in travel, Tanya States was a budding fashion designer.
“I went to Centennial College with a love for the fashion arts,” States tells PAX. “I worked several jobs in Toronto’s Fashion District, pattern-drafting leather bags and belts.”
But while the world of fashion “offered lots of perks,” her heart just wasn’t in it.
States eventually left fashion and moved onto a variety of other jobs, from bartending to managing private and corporate events.
Then one day, a vacation came calling, and States found herself flying down to Cuba with some girlfriends for a little R&R.
That’s when “the travel bug bit me,” she says.
“I returned to Centennial Collage and enrolled in Vacation Counselling. Shortly after I applied to Holiday House as a reservation agent, and the rest is history!” she says.
Today, States is a business development manager for TravelBrands in a role that covers a wide footprint, from the GTA to Fort Erie to Atlantic Canada.
Her responsibilities include building relationships, boosting sales, brand awareness and product knowledge, making sales calls, attending manager meetings, trainings and conferences, and ensuring agencies are aware of TravelBrands’ products and services and are comfortable with the company’s booking engines.
“No day is ever the same,” says States, who lives in Toronto, ON.
What States loves most about her job are “the people and connections I’ve made during this awesome journey.”
“From travel agents to fellow BDMs, we share the same drive and endless laughs,” States says. “This industry offers extraordinary travel opportunities like no other and keeps you wanting more. I love the story telling, adventures and seeing people’s expressions when reliving an experience!”
Here, PAX checks in with States to chat about the destination that stole her heart, eating grilled crocodile in South Africa and her all-time favourite Canadian airport.
PAX: What are three essential items you always travel with?
Tanya States (TS): Passport, iPhone and credit card.
PAX: What are some of your favourite vacation spots?
TS: Jamaica has always felt like a home away from home for me. I absolutely love all this beautiful island has to offer from the people, food, culture, music and overall vibe. Jamaica stole my heart decades ago and remains a relaxing place to get away and recharge.
Another big favourite vacation spot would be on a cruise ship. Everything about cruising excites me! I cannot narrow it down to a particular cruise line. However, Norwegian, Royal Caribbean and Celebrity all have my attention. It’s the concept of cruising and the ability to see multiple destinations, indulge in a wide selection of amazing food, top-notch entertainment and so much more. Who says you can’t have your cake and eat it too?
PAX: What’s your favourite airport?
TS: YHZ (Halifax Stanfield International Airport). It’s home, therefore I have a personal connection and lots of great memories. Halifax was the first airport where I experienced the adventure of flying. I travelled with family and as an unaccompanied minor back and forth from YHZ to YYZ frequently. It’s small and easy to navigate, and has grown so much over the years in terms of facilities, services and the number of flights that operate compared to the early ’80s.
PAX: What was the first vacation you ever took?
TS: Growing up there was no shortage of planes, trains and automobiles between Ontario and Nova Scotia on family trips. However, the first vacation that stands out in my mind was St. Kitts. The entire family stayed at Jack Tar Village. My father-in-law was spontaneous. What was originally booked as a seven-night vacation turned into three weeks as it rained too much for his liking and he kept extending our stay at the front desk. Best March Break ever!
PAX What’s the biggest splurge you’ve ever made on a trip?
TS: I rarely splurge when in destination. I enjoy spending on excursions, local experiences and buying from locals.
PAX: Most memorable meal you ever eaten while travelling?
TS: My most memorable meal would have to be ostrich steak and freshly-grilled crocodile in South Africa at the Makalali Private Game Lodge. Not my everyday choices by far. However, I will try anything once! I was pleasantly surprised how good the grilled crocodile was, and can say I have tried ostrich steak.
PAX: What’s your biggest travel pet peeve?
TS: The growing lack of leg room on flights and the fact that airlines design these seats to recline? I’m 5’10.
PAX: What are your hidden talents?
TS: I would have to say my hidden talents are in the kitchen. I love cooking. To be perfectly clear, I said cooking because I am a hot mess when it comes to baking.
PAX: When flying, window shade up or down?
TS: Down. If I’m not reading, I generally like sleeping on flights.
PAX: What should travel agents know about TravelBrands right now?
TS: TravelBrands is dedicated to working with travel agents across the country and continues to enhance services based on valued feedback. It’s a very exciting time at TravelBrands. We’ve launched several new agent tools and recently introduced an extensive new golf and ski product line. Plus, there’s much more coming in the New Year so stay tuned! #TravelBrandsLovesAgents
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