travelBulletin recently caught up with Holidays on Location manager John De Steiger to get his insight on selling the spectacular regions of Canada and Alaska.

Is there much interest among Australians for travel to Canada and Alaska?

Interest in travel to Canada and Alaska remains strong and continues to show growth. Canada has always had an affinity with Australia, as a vast, rugged and scenic country. More than 200,000 Australians visit Canada each year. Alaska has an intrigue due to its history, remoteness and beauty. Canada is the fastest growing destination for Holidays on Location.

Which destinations are most popular?

The west of Canada has traditionally been most popular with Australians, particularly due to its accessibility – so Vancouver, Victoria and the Rockies. In the case of Alaska, its southern coast is convenient for cruising from Vancouver, where in a little as a week, travellers can take a return cruise through the Inside Passage and as far north as Glacier Bay. However second time travellers are tending to look eastwards and in many cases taking the trans continental VIA Rail journey across to Toronto and other points on the eastern side of the country or flying to Toronto and combining a holiday in Eastern Canada with North East USA.

What should an agent consider when selling Canada and Alaska. Are there any challenges for selling Canada and Alaska?

Because of the northern location of these destinations, agents should be sure that any travel dates are planned carefully so that travel enjoyment is not marred by extreme weather conditions.

What are the must see attractions in Canada and Alaska?

A tough question for a vast country and State! If pushed I would go for Banff National Park, Stanley Park, Northern Lights, bear viewing, Niagara Falls, CN Tower in Toronto. For Alaska – Denali National Park, Inside Passage cruise, bear viewing. I believe an emphasis on the wildlife is essential for anyone wanting a genuine Canadian experience, and even though sightings can never be guaranteed, the joy of seeing creatures in the wild, particularly bears, can make the trip.

Are FIT holidays more popular than all – inclusive packaged options?

The packaged options have undoubtedly led the way for many years, but the more independent travel is growing in popularity, particularly among second or third time travellers. Brewsters Travel Canada offers travel similar to an escorted tour but there is no tour escort and clients have the ability to fully customise their itinerary based on their specific travel interests and budget.

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