Any time a country or region imposes any sort of visa stipulation - even if it’s a waiver - the travel industry sighs a collective groan, knowing the obstacles and headaches to come.
CALGARY — Canadian tour operator Free & Easy Traveler celebrated a milestone last week: 15,000 travellers since its humble beginnings in 2000. The founder’s concept of replicating a spontaneous backpacking journey within a group travel experience has proven popular.
“We have seen encouraging growth over the past few years and we are confident that this is just the beginning; that we can maintain a manageable snowball effect to continue our brand expansion, sharing our love of the world with the people who want to see it in a truly Free & Easy fashion,” said Rob Campbell, COO, Free & Easy Traveler.
The company that prides itself on its laidback vibe has seen 25 – 30% growth in the last few years. It offers over 100 trips a year in 16 countries in Southeast Asia, the Mediterranean, Americas, and Africa. Trips also come with an attractive price point, with a 40-day tour of Panama, Nicaragua, and Costa Rica currently available on the company’s website for $3,720.
The company’s main growth has come from word-of-mouth and special incentives to encourage travellers to take follow-up trips. “We are very grateful to our amazing travellers for giving us their vote of confidence in the best way possible – by referring their adventurous friends to join us on trips as well” said Campbell.
An area the company is eyeing now is working with travel agencies. The company signed an agreement with Merit Travel in September, opening up the product to more clients.
“Free & Easy knows the important role travel agents play in a traveller’s experience and so we’re always looking to introduce new travel agencies and agents to our adventure offerings,” said Campbell. “Our Global Porter System allows qualified agents to use the adventure finder to build the perfect trip for their client. The booking tool contains real time insight into availability and commissions, and our sales team is always just a click or phone call away; the whole system provides a seamless booking experience for travel agents.”
For more information, go to freeandeasytraveler.com/agents.