TravelBrands cancels Agent Appreciation events; G Adventures has message for industry

TORONTO — Out of an abundance of caution TravelBrands says it has cancelled its upcoming Agent Appreciation events, scheduled to take place in cities across Canada this spring.

Over the past several years the TravelBrands Agent Appreciation event roadshow has become a popular fixture on the travel industry calendar.

In a statement TravelBrands said: “As you may be aware, the COVID-19 (coronavirus) situation continues to escalate worldwide. Our primary goal is always to ensure the safety and wellbeing of our partners, travel agents and employees. After multiple discussions, we have decided to cancel our upcoming Agent Appreciation Events across Canada.”

The company goes on to say: “This decision did not come lightly. We sincerely apologize for any inconvenience this may cause you and your team, and look forward to having you attend our events in the future.

“Our team is so grateful for your continued support of both TravelBrands and our events over the years. Thank you for your understanding.”

TravelBrands is now in the process of refunding participation fees. Questions should be directed to

Meanwhile G Adventures’ founder Bruce Poon Tip has penned a message of reassurance and unity to the travel industry.

“In light of the recent coronavirus epidemic (COVID-19) I wanted to reassure our travellers that G Adventures has their health and wellbeing at the heart of all we do.

“We are constantly monitoring the situation on the ground from our 28 offices around the world, and it’s our job to ensure our travellers have the most up-to-date information to stay safe.”

If any G Adventures travellers have any questions about their upcoming travel arrangements, Poon Tip urges them to contact G Adventures so that the company can help in any way possible.

He points out that the travel industry has come through crises before, many of them. “Whilst the current situation needs to be taken seriously, during our 30 years in the tourism business we have dealt with similar situations such as SARS, Zika and Ebola, and in our experience the panic around these issues usually subsides once the initial fear dissipates. We hope this to be the case this time, too.

“We still firmly believe travel is incredibly safe. As pioneers of community tourism, we believe travel can be the greatest form of wealth distribution the world has seen, and as much as we have a commitment to our travellers, we also have a commitment to the local communities that tourism benefits. This situation has the potential to be damaging for those communities. We hope that our travellers will keep travelling, even if that means changing their destination, or postponing plans.

Poon Tip also says travellers must “rise up and be the shining light on inclusivity in terms of the racism, xenophobia and division being reflected in reactions to and coverage of Coronavirus. As an Asian myself, I feel this. Recent reports of racism towards Asians as a result of this pandemic are extremely unfortunate. Ignorance is counterproductive to public health and wellness.”

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