Domestic bookings are on the right track for Dennis Hillier. The Senior Travel Associate with Northstar Travel says interest is strong across Rocky Mountaineer departures with its group dates “almost all sold out for 2022.”
With travel restrictions easing up across the country, Hillier is also lining up bookings for Newfoundland and Atlantic Canada for late summer, as well as domestic itineraries in Ontario and Quebec for the fall.
For advisors looking to expand their repertoire of Canadian tour operators, Hillier notes that Hanover Holidays is the No. 1 domestic supplier for the agency.
“[It’s a] fantastic Canadian-owned family business, excellent value for money and so easy to work with,” he adds.
Meanwhile, Krista Tovell of Tovell Travel in London, Ont., has a mix of clients requesting both local and cross-country experiences within Canada.
“I have worked with some clients who recently drove to Montreal and needed only accommodation and suggestions on things to do. Others have requested quotes for Rocky Mountaineer for 2022 and 2023 and some clients are reaching out about local experiences in Southwestern Ontario,” says Tovell, who previously worked for Rocky Mountaineer while living in Vancouver.
For example, some clients are looking for locations that are within a four-to-five hour drive from Toronto, for glamping getaways or other closer-to-home experiences.
“For those that are looking for local, I have found they are looking for either a family getaway or to get away without their children and want a wellness and relaxation retreat,” she says. “Canada is a beautiful country and a lot of people want to experience the city centres and local tourist attractions in each destination. However, for clients who love history and may typically travel oversees to experience sites of historical significance, Canada has a lot to offer them as well. Historical tours and experiences are a great niche to break into when trying to sell domestic travel because each region of Canada has its own unique historical story with sites and attractions that will differ from province to province.”
Although international inquiries are now picking up, she notes that there are still some clients who are looking for staycations for a variety of reasons.
“Some are not vaccinated and therefore cannot travel internationally and others are still worried about traveling outside of our local areas,” she says. “Some of my clients also have credit with domestic airlines such as Swoop or Flair Air and are anxious to use them when other provinces begin to open more freely and welcome visitors again.”