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Just last week, representatives from a destination tourism board (which shall remain nameless) visited our office. This is a fairly regular occurrence, but in this case, it was a destination we had not been in contact with for a long time. During the course of the meeting, the reps told us they had basically “given up on travel agents” until recently. Now, they were reconsidering that decision because they could see that agents were still an important presence in the industry.
Although it was nice to hear this, I couldn’t help but think, “What took you so long?”
The reputation of travel agents has grown enormously over the past 10 to 15 years.
But, as this interaction with the tourism board highlights, there are those in the industry who are still waking up to the role agents play in selling travel. And, it’s important to keep in mind that I was talking to people inside the industry — the need for educating consumers about the role of travel agents is even greater.
Anything that enhances the reputation of travel advisors is a welcome initiative.
With that in mind, it’s my pleasure to announce the opening of our 2017 Trendsetter Awards. These awards are designed to acknowledge the best work of travel agents in the West. This year’s award categories include Upward Bound, Rock Star Agent Under 40 (sponsored by AMResorts); Best Group Booking Sales Effort (sponsored by Royal Caribbean International); Best Use of Social Media (sponsored by the Globus Family of Brands); and Best Targeted Marketing Idea (sponsored by Celebrity Cruises). Winners in each category will receive travel prizes, be guests at our black-tie WAVE Awards dinner in Los Angeles and be featured in a future issue of TravelAge West. Agents can enter through March 10 at TravelAgeWest.com/Wave-Awards/Trendsetters.
This issue’s cover story, “1-5-Oh, Canada,” provides an idea of the wide range of attractions and activities available to visitors to Canada during the country’s 150th anniversary year. It’s also an example of the value a travel advisor provides as a knowledgeable professional who helps clients sort through the possibilities. It’s in the best interest of all agents — and travelers — to enhance the public’s perception of travel advisors, through whatever methods we have.