If there was one person who could truly be called an icon of the travel industry, it was Gordon ‘Butch’ Stewart.
TORONTO — The Travel Agent Next Door’s Holiday Joy campaign, launched in an effort to give back locally to its travel agent partners, brought holiday wishes and glad tidings to 48 families this year.
TTAND has hosted numerous virtual activities this year, including Holiday Joy.
TTAND’s founder, Flemming Friisdahl, Founder, says TTAND wanted to spread some Holiday Joy by supporting their agents, knowing the hardships that the industry has faced this year,
The Holiday Joy initiative was designed to be easy to access, he added: “If you do not have anyone working full-time in your household you could apply if you felt you needed some support.”
Initially, he says, TTAND had planned to sponsor 10 families to help cover some expenses over the festive period.
However, when the campaign launched on a live webinar, the generosity of other TTAND agents shone through once again, with TTAND agents, employees and supplier partners all asking how they could donate to the cause.
One agent donated $1,200 on a live webinar and another agent donated 10 food packages including turkey and full trimmings.
TTAND suppliers learned of the campaign and personally donated money to support the TTAND family of agents, he added.
“We were overwhelmed by the response of the TTAND team, but we should not have been surprised knowing how generous our agents, staff and supplier partners are. Their support has been invaluable in making this happen,” said Friisdahl.
The Holiday Joy program brought in 53 submissions from agents applying with all applications remaining private and confidential. From the 48 qualifying applications, TTAND was able to provide Holiday Joy to all those who submitted.
The Holiday Joy package included $200 towards groceries to cover the holiday dinner, a $75 gift card for each family member in the residence to help towards gifts. Even pets received a $25 gift card.
“Even through the hardest times, the travel industry has proved just how kind and giving they are. Wishing everyone Happy Holidays,” said Friisdahl. “On one hand I am so very happy we were able to support so many of the agents that just need a little support this year and at the same time I am so sad so many of our partners are having such a tough time of it. This is why we also recused their fees till April 2022 and secured their tiering till the end of 2022, just to make sure they are less to worry about.”
He added: “We are much closer to the end of COVID-19 than to the start and we will make it through!”