Monday,  August 3, 2020  8:32 pm

Expedia Cruises' Deborah Reinhart wins $500 to for completing Aussie Specialist Program

Expedia Cruises' Deborah Reinhart wins $500 to for completing Aussie Specialist Program
Deborah Reinhart of Expedia Cruises in St. Albert, Alberta. (Supplied)
Michael Pihach

Michael Pihach is an award-winning journalist with a keen interest in digital storytelling. In addition to PAX, Michael has also written for CBC Life, Ryerson University Magazine, IN Magazine, and Michael joins PAX after years of working at popular Canadian television shows, such as Steven and Chris, The Goods and The Marilyn Denis Show.

“I’m absolutely thrilled,” said travel advisor Deborah Reinhart, who recently won a $500 gift card to for completing Tourism Australia’s Aussie Specialist Program.

Throughout the month of June, Tourism Australia invited Canadian travel agents to enroll in their interactive training program that includes hundreds of destination fact sheets and guides, interactive maps as well as suggested itineraries.

The award-winning Aussie Specialist Program currently ranks at a 99 per cent satisfaction rate as many agents say it helps them sell Australia more confidently.

READ MORE: Aussie Specialist Program unlocks the best of Australia for agents

Those who completed the five-module program by June 30th were given a chance upgrade their home office with $500 to

The award-winning Aussie Specialist Program is consistently rated at a 95 per cent satisfaction rate. (Supplied)

Reinhart was elated to learn that she won the big prize, but above all, she’s happy she pursued the training.

“I thought the course exceptional,” said Reinhart, who lives in Edmonton, Alberta, and works at Expedia Cruises in St. Albert, one community over. “It offers great value to the travel agent with a more in-depth look at Australia.”

The Aussie Specialist Program was particularly appealing to Reinhart because she not only has clients who want to travel to the land Down Under, but she herself also has plans to go there in the near future.

“I wanted to know more about the sights and sounds and where my clients might be interested in going,” Reinhart told PAX.

Reinhart first visited Australia many years ago, taking in iconic sites such as the Great Barrier Reef and seeing a show at the Sydney Opera House.

“It was absolutely amazing,” Reinhart recalled of that first visit.

The Sydney Opera House at night. (Tarryn Myburgh)

Program grows in Canada

Reinhart thought the Aussie Specialist Program was “very user-friendly” and appreciated how it laid out different travel itineraries in the various states and territories, while offering great suggestions for accommodations.

“There’s a lot of great ideas,” she said.

There is more than 800 Aussie Specialists in Canada, as well as 20 Premier Aussie specialists, and that number continues to grow, as more advisors see the value behind the program.

"We've seen strong growth in the program and we expect that once the border restrictions lift, we'll see pent-up demand," Jane Whitehead, vice president/regional general manager, The Americas, Tourism Australia, told PAX in a previous interview. "The Canadian market was growing strong before COVID-19, and we welcomed more than 190,000 Canadians in 2019. This program is the best way to be ready, and to become an expert on selling Australia."

Jane Whitehead, vice president/regional general manager, The Americas, Tourism Australia (Supplied)

While Canadians are still bound to a non-essential travel ban and quarantine order, Australia is ready to welcome guests back with tons of new and exciting product.

"For 2021, we're really focusing on content that inspires and allows travellers to dream," said Whitehead. "We really do believe once restrictions are lifted, there will be pent up demand. People will want to travel and reconnect with other people and explore iconic destinations, and we expect Australia will benefit from that."

Travel agents can still become an Aussie Specialist by registering at

Participants will need to complete five modules (three required core modules plus two others of their choosing). Once complete, they'll unlock tons of other content, such as virtual FAM trips exclusive to those who register.

As for what Reinhart plans to spend her newly-acquired $500 gift card on, she said that is yet to be determined.

“I have no clue,” she said, “but I’m gonna go snooping.”

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