Growing up in a small coastal town in Croatia, Anita Djordjevic knew she was destined for a career in the travel industry. After moving to Canada, she opened her own travel agency at 19 years old.
Anita is a true believer in the power of community tourism and is always looking for a way to support this style of travel and by extension ensure travel is used as a force for good. She has shown persistence and resilience in the face of the current pandemic, and rebooked multiple Wellness Bali trips and a private group to Galapagos (Family Land Galápagos — Multi-Activities). She is a champion for travel, and for travelling better, and we appreciate all her support and the extraordinary customer service she delivers every single day.
Can you tell us a little about yourself and how long you’ve been in the industry?
I have been in the industry 25 years, working in sales, as a tour guide and all along as a travel counsellor.
Why and how did you decide to become a travel advisor?
As a child, I grew up in a coastal town in Croatia where everyone employed was working in the travel industry, and it brought the most joy to me. I admit that since I was very young, I considered this the only option for me and once I came to Canada, as soon as I started school, I began my co-op at Regent Holidays and purchased my own travel agency at age 19.
What’s your favourite part of being a travel agent?
Of course, travel. I consider travelling the ultimate freedom and the fact that it comes as second nature is priceless — no matter if I travel alone, with a group or my family. Representing this industry and being able to introduce or help people achieve that step in their lives, once or over and over, is an honour. My job is essentially a synonym for dreams coming true.
What’s a key thing you learned during the pandemic?
That something changes somewhere, every minute of the day and if you are not on top of this game, you are no longer in it. People call us daily expecting some hope from us.
What will be your first post-pandemic trip and why?
I just went on my third trip to Europe since last summer and then went on a flight from Belgrade to Miami. We spent three weeks in Punta Cana in December. I am a travel agent, travel for me is more than essential. I am however, really looking forward to my Bali Wellness groups in March 2022.
Do you believe more people will use travel advisors after COVID-19?
Yes. We have had an overwhelming number of horror stories over the last year. If not in general, at least those who have lost a lot of money in the last year by purchasing online, will now for sure make the smart choice of using one.
From charging fees to re-evaluating which suppliers you will work or won’t work with in the future, how have you changed the way you work since the pandemic hit?
We have definitely seen our relationships with some suppliers become a lot stronger and have gone through some disappointments as well, but I can understand some companies not being able to adjust to these horrible times. It is too early to talk about implementing fees and re-evaluating business, as we can’t possibly define where we stand today and how and when the travel boom will happen.
What’s your biggest piece of advice for travel advisors right now?
Don’t hesitate to travel and to sell travel. You lead by example, so prove to your clients that they can be safe with you. If you travel, so will your clients. If you don’t, they won’t.
Do you have anything to add?
Stay on top of the game. What is the story you are telling yourself if you don’t? None of us know that will happen, yet some of us are moving steadily towards the world we want to see most. Be safe and remember that all storms open way for the sun.