TORONTO — It’s always a bittersweet moment when a travel industry veteran retires, especially when it’s someone as well known and beloved as Stéphanie Bishop.
As Globus family of brands’ longstanding managing director, Bishop sent shockwaves throughout the industry last month with news of her impending retirement in May 2023. A fixture in Canadian travel, Bishop first joined the company’s Toronto office back in 2008, quickly becoming known for building trade and consumer partnerships and hiring travel experts across Canada who have helped bring Globus to the forefront of guided touring.
But Bishop’s career in travel goes back much further than that – over 40 years, in fact. As someone who has seen the many highs and lows that have shaped the Canadian travel landscape, we recently sat down with Bishop to discuss her personal accomplishments, her take on travel’s evolution, and what she hopes to leave behind as part of Travelweek’s ongoing 50th anniversary interview series.
Travelweek: You’ve been in the industry nearly as long as Travelweek has – over 40 years, which is a huge accomplishment. Can you tell us how and why you first entered the travel industry?
Bishop: “I was young, curious and fresh out of university when I began working in Montreal at Wardair Airlines in the call centre as a summer job in April. By July, I was invited to join the sales team as an Inside Sales Coordinator then built their groups department. And the rest is history – travel was my vocation.”
Travelweek: As a woman in the travel industry, how has the travel landscape evolved over the years in terms of gender equity? Are you hopeful for the future for the women who come after you?
Bishop: “Without a doubt there have been remarkable evolutions for women in many sectors of our beloved industry. Cruising, in particular, has made great strides, but there’s still work to be done across all travel styles.”
Travelweek: What events in travel’s history would you say either had a profound impact on you, or changed the course of your career?
Bishop: “Moving to Toronto changed everything for me as a young professional. The size and landscape of opportunities in travel blew me away. And it’s only grown. This is an industry of networking. We have the opportunity to work with incredible, strategic leaders that expose us to new ideas, a wide range of management styles and a deep well of inspiration.
“Of course, both 9/11 and the recent pandemic profoundly impacted me, and the industry. While both were devastating in so many ways, they also provided us pivotal moments for transformation. In the last two years, the Globus family has unveiled a more robust, more versatile portfolio than at any other time in our 95-year-history.
“And one of my favourite moments in the last decade was a dual Canada & USA christening event in 2012. It was a great celebration of the importance and growth of river cruising for both markets.”
Travelweek: Knowing what you know now, would you do anything differently in your career?
Bishop: “I stand by the idea that we make the best decisions in the circumstances we recognize and understand at the time. To expect more than that would be a mistake, but there is learning that can be had in everything we do. I’ve been fortunate to learn every day of my career while establishing a legacy, lifelong friendships and deep discoveries of our incredible world and all its wonder.”
Travelweek: What do your 15 years at Globus family of brands mean to you? And what do you think your lasting legacy will be?
Bishop: “Trust. Growth. Relationships. Not only have I worked tirelessly to create trust among our community, that trust has led to growth in touring and river cruising. And, I believe it’s those relationships – and the education and awareness I’ve helped bring to both Globus and Avalon Waterways – that have created a platform for success across all trade and consumer channels. I look forward to watching what’s next.”
Watch for more interviews and memories running in Travelweek Daily throughout 2023, as we celebrate Travelweek’s 50th anniversary. Plus, try your luck with our contest, ‘It Happened This Week’, featuring a new headline (and a new chance to win!) every week from Travelweek’s 50 years of travel industry news coverage.