Mega familiarization trip takes Canada Specialist Program agents to destinations across Canada to boost knowledge and sales.
Canada Specialist Program agents—your mission: leave the UK for seven days in September for a familiarization trip to Canada, see and experience the country first-hand and then return to work ready to share that knowledge with future travellers.
Mission complete: the UK office of the Canadian Tourism Commission (CTC) sent 40 agents from the program to Canada last month. The agents were split into small groups for seven trips to different provinces and territories (British Columbia, Yukon, Alberta, Manitoba, Ontario, Quebec, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island) for varying adventures, immersing themselves in cultures and cuisines and meeting the locals.
At the end of the week, all attendees regrouped first for a day in the Niagara region then on to Toronto, ON, for an evening dinner atop (but not outside) the CN Tower. They also gave presentations that showcased what they learnt, including creating a Canada hat fascinator like her Royal Highness the Duchess of Cambridge wore on her recent tour of Canada. Judging the presentations—in a fun, “X Factor”-style format—were Yvonne Nichie, CTC manager Global Sales, Emerging Markets; Allan Owen, Air Canada National & Specialist Sales manager; and Steve Hartridge, Selling Long Haul magazine editor.
CTC’s program is enriching agent expertise in its key international markets. Its advanced and interactive education takes agents through knock-your-socks-off Canadian experiences and arms them with tools and education to help entice consumers to make the trip over.
CTC teamed up with Air Canada, Tourism British Columbia, Tourism Yukon, Travel Alberta, Travel Manitoba, Ontario Tourism Marketing Partnership Corporation, Tourisme Québec and the Atlantic Canada Tourism Partnership to arrange and provide all the trips.
“The Canada Specialist Program is providing great training and tools to agents in our global markets,” says Nichie. “But nothing beats experiencing Canada first-hand to enable agents truly to sell travel experiences in our country with the utmost confidence.”