This piece originally published in the Key Notes on Travel summer issue. In this special section, we take pause to recognize and profile the many dedicated professionals who work to support Canadian travel advisors every day. Selling travel involves wrangling a lot of moving pieces and we tip our hats to those who help bring it all together.
Global Purpose Specialist
YEARS IN TRAVEL: 9
What first drew you to travel?
I was born in Serbia and my parents immigrated to Canada when I was two months old. I’ve always been a foodie, so that’s what drew me: travelling around the world trying different cuisines and national dishes. I started travelling on my own when I was 18 years old. As I got older, I wanted to travel not only to eat, but also to experience the culture and to expand my understanding of the world.
Did you look down this career path because you’d already developed a love for travel?
That was one of the big things. I was also interested in different types of travel, like cruising and F.I.T. The deeper I got into it, the better I could learn where the market was going, and that appealed to me.
What was it about G Adventures that you really gravitated towards?
I’m very thankful for everything I’ve experienced in the travel industry over the past nine years. I started as an intern with Air Canada, working in quality assurance through college. I’ve worked as a travel counsellor, so when agents come to me with issues or questions, I can relate. I was a flight attendant for a bit too. As I progressed in the industry, I learned about the different suppliers. G Adventures stood out as the leader in sustainable travel. Creating “experiential” travel is huge for me because I’ve always been one to get lost in the destination.
What does a “GPS” do?
Being a GPS, it’s my job to share the world of G Adventures with our agents and educate them on sustainable travel. They need to be able to pass that knowledge onto their clients. Being a travel agent is a huge job because you’re not just booking clients on their trips. I like to call travel agents “dream makers.”
What’s the most satisfying part of working with advisors?
One of the most satisfying parts of being a GPS is seeing an advisor who has never sold G Adventures before sell their first trip. To hear their excitement – and how easy it was – makes my day. It also reassures me that I’m doing something right! Overall, seeing advisors succeed and excel from training, continued coaching and pep talks means more to me than anything else; witnessing them succeed makes me feel like I’m succeeding.
What are your fears for the future of the travel industry?
I think my biggest fear is taking travellers to destinations that may not be quite ready for the volume of visitors. Working with tourism boards and suppliers to make sure we can sustain growth year after year within the next “it destination” is key.
We asked G Adventures: why Ernie?
In his three years with G Adventures, Ernie has grown immensely in his role as a Global Purpose Specialist. We are constantly reminded of his value and attention to detail by our agency partners. Ernie continues to focus on being a driving force for good and change within his territory and our company. His thought process and creative flair has led to deeper relationships and stronger growth for the agencies within his territory, year over year.