Blake Wolfe is an award-winning journalist and editor, who joined PAX after nearly 10 years in Canada’s newspaper industry. In addition to PAX, his work has been featured in publications such as the Metroland Media group of newspapers and the Toronto Sun.
Offering a unique business model within the Canadian travel industry, 5Continents has drawn a lot of interest and questions since launching in 2017.
However, company founder and travel industry veteran David Boigné is quick to clear up the main misconception that he has heard from some members of the trade.
“There’s a misconception that we’re here to compete with tour operators and that’s absolutely not true,” Boigné told PAX. “We’re just making it easier for agents and tour operators to deal with an inbound operator.”
The Montreal-based company stopped in Toronto last night (Sept. 17) to meet with agents eager to learn more about the 5Continents concept, following a successful event in Montreal earlier this week and preceding stops in Calgary and Vancouver. Four of 5Continents’ main ‘gold status’ clients were also on hand to speak to agents, including Turkey’s AGE Tourism & Events; India’s Veena World; Athens Express; and Europe Incoming, offering tours across several European countries.
How it works
Bridging the gap between inbound tour operators and the Canadian travel trade, 5Continents provides Canadian representation to its clients, allowing them to better connect with Canadian travel agents and outbound tour operators while offering a range of services, such as a team of reservations agents.
Currently, 5Continents has eight main clients; in addition to the four partners in attendance at the event, 5Continents also represents Pacific Destinations, which operates in Australia, New Zealand and the South Pacific; TUI Group’s China tour division; Baltic Travel Group, operating in Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania; and United Travel Malta, offering tours in the Mediterranean destination.
As inbound clients pay a fee to be represented by 5Continents, agents and operators booking inbound products through 5Continents are not charged extra to book through the channel, with the price of products carried by 5Continents set by the inbound operators themselves.
“For an inbound to have all of these services costs them an arm and a leg, plus you need to have the right people,” Boigné told PAX. “By having several companies share the cost of the platform makes it very financially viable and it’s another step closer to the (Canadian) trade for inbound operators.”
While the company was founded in 2017, Boigné – formerly of Exotik Journeys – said that 5Continents became more active last year, actively seeking out clients and interacting with the trade. According to Boigné, the plan moving forward is to expand with more staff while growing the roster of inbound clients.
“By listening to what the market needed is how the business shaped itself,” Boigné said. “It’s about giving people what they need and so far, we’ve been proven right.”
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