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With many special events and festivals on the docket for 2022, including some that only take place once every decade, travel advisors can attract new bookings by promoting these timely affairs.
“We really view events as a special opportunity for guests to see a play or participate in a festival while on tour,” Jaclyn Leibl-Cote, President of Collette, tells Travel Courier. “In addition to Floriade and Oberammergau, we also offer the Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta and Christmas Markets in Europe as well as our entire holiday product line.”
In order to increase bookings, Leibl-Cote explains that agents can focus on the value of going with a tour operator like Collette, since the event or festival is included in the price of the tour.
“Many of these events — such as Floriade and Oberammergau — only occur once a decade so agents can capitalize on a sense of urgency in terms of timing,” she adds.
Wolf Paunic, President of Trafalgar, Costsaver and Brendan Vacations Canada, also feels that special events bring extra value to the guided travel experience.
“Special events in combination with a diverse selection of itineraries and travel styles are a great opportunity for travel agents to offer added meaningful experiences to their clients: something rare, rather exclusive and memorable,” Paunic tells Travel Courier. “After two years of travel deprivation, all of us in the industry have a great opportunity to reignite the love of travel in our clients… When we can add an unexpected, yet enriching and unique element to their travel plans, we all win.”
Of all the events set to take place this year, he believes the Passion Play staged in the German alpine village of Oberammergau stands out for “having special meaning and significance in the post-pandemic world.”
“Because this passion play celebrates resilience, human capability to deal with an invisible enemy, and to deal with health danger through collective power and solidarity,” he says. “Inhabitants of Oberammergau have been performing the Passion Play since 1633 in the dark times when plague was decimating populations of Europe. Ever since, the play is staged every decade, with only a few exceptions.”
Most recently, the event was postponed for two years due to the pandemic but will be staged from May 14 to October 2. Paunic notes that Trafalgar and Costsaver have included the Oberammergau Passion play in selected itineraries.
“My recommendations would be either Trafalgar’s Switzerland and Austria with Oberammergau, Best of Germany with Oberammergau or The Sound of Music — based on the true story about the Von Trapp family and their escape from WW2 Salzburg — and Oberammergau,” he adds.