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.
TORONTO — In its 20-year history, soft adventure specialist On The Go Tours has never had a North America office – until now.
Opening this summer in Toronto, the brand new office will be headed by Mike Quinto, General Manager-North America, who’ll lead a six-member team that will work with travel agents to increase the U.K.-based company’s visibility in the North American market.
Quinto, who spoke exclusively with Travelweek alongside Hollie Youlden, On The Go’s Marketing Manager, said that opening a Canadian office was pivotal to the company’s growth, particularly in light of the numbers coming out of Canada.
“Canada is a stronger market for us than the U.S.,” he said, adding that reps have been in Canada for the past 10 years compared to just the past six months in the United States. “North Americans like to deal with North Americans. Plus, the new office will help with the challenge of working in different time zones. Now, we’ll be able to help North American agents in real time and answer their calls immediately.”
So who is On The Go Tours? With the company expected to make its presence known even further in Canada, agents should know the following:
They go all over the world.
On The Go Tours has grown immensely since its inception 20 years ago. Starting with just Egypt tours, the company now offers 60 destinations around the world. Egypt remains its top-selling destination, but watch out for emerging hotspots like Sri Lanka and returning favourites like Turkey, which Youlden says is “coming back in a big way.”
They know how to do soft adventure.
Its guided small-group tours take travellers to some of the world’s most remote places, and include such high-thrill activities like camel trekking in Morocco, bike riding in Cambodia, and felucca sailing down the Nile.
It has five product ranges.
Their target demographic may surprise you.
Despite its reputation for being a soft adventure specialist, On The Go sells mostly to an older clientele. Its core demographic for its most popular product range (Signature) is 35-50 year olds, and even older among North Americans (45-60).
They can customize.
Knowing that more seasoned travellers don’t necessarily want to ‘rough it’ all the time, Quinto noted that on most tours, upgrades are available to enhance comfort. For example, while on one of the Vietnam itineraries, clients can forego an overnight sleeper train and upgrade to a flight for an additional $300, while on the best-selling King Ramses tour in Egypt, a two-night felucca sailing can be upgraded to a four-star river cruise up the Nile for an extra $450.
They just launched tours to the Baltics.
In response to a growing demand for ‘off-the-beaten-track’ destinations, the company has launched four new tours to Latvia, Estonia, Poland and Lithuania, with departure dates running from March 2019 through to September. These include the eight-day ‘Highlights of the Baltics’, which visits Vilnius, Riga and Tallinn; the eight-day ‘Baltic Capitals Explorer’, which takes in the highlights of the Baltic capitals plus the seaside town of Klaipeda; the 10-day ‘Best of the Baltics’, which includes Lahemaa National Park and Rundale Palace; and the 12-day ‘Poland and Baltic Discover’, which visits Krakow, Warsaw and more.
They can’t wait to work with Canadian agents.
According to Quinto, agents can expect a North American ‘blitz’ this year that includes a grand opening party in Toronto this summer. Knowing full well how important front-line agents are to the business, Quinto is also reminding them of On The Go’s ‘Sell 4, Go For Free’ program, which runs until March 31, 2019. When agents sell four tours, they’ll earn a free tour to one of the company’s six top destinations: Egypt, Jordan, China, Turkey, Sri Lanka and India.
For more information go to onthegotours.com.