WHY IT RATES: National search ends with U.S. travel agents named as tour operator’s sustainable tourism and brand advocates to the industry. – Mackenzie Cullen, Editorial Associate
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For the third year running, G Adventures has selected seven outstanding travel advisors from across the U.S. to help represent the award-winning brand as its “Ambassadors of Change” to sellers, clients and influencers across the industry. The announcement was made on Friday with calls to the winning advisors from G Adventures’ regional Global Purpose Specialists.
The selection of seven winners followed a three-month, nationwide search for travel advisors who demonstrate high motivation to change people’s lives through travel. The new Ambassadors will work closely with G Adventures to learn about best practices in responsible, social impact tourism. They will also experience trips that support community development around the world, and gain access to tools that help educate peers and clients about the power of their travel purchases.
The seven newly-appointed Ambassadors of Change for 2019-20 are:
Phillip Archer, of Cruise Planners, an American Express agency based in California
Nicole Andujar, from Blue Pineapple Travel in Georgia, an Ensemble agency
Sheena Dersidan, a Virtuoso advisor in California with IAMSHEGLOBAL
Amy Freyder in California, of Epic Away Travel, an Ensemble agency
Jodi Ketchum, of Lotus Global Tours, a Travel Leaders agency in Washington, D.C.
Laurie Scott, with Wide Horizons Travel in Connecticut, a Nexion agency
Tina Shands, of Specially Designed Travel, a Travel Leaders agency located in Texas
“Our travel advisor partners are vital to helping us realize our vision. That is: using the power of our vacations to spread wealth, employ women, train youth, and preserve the unique cultures and places that we love to visit,” said Jennifer Stevens, the G Adventures trade marketing manager whose stewardship drives the Ambassadors of Change program. “We have so much passion and market expertise in this group of ambassadors, including specialists in both LGBTQ and family travel, which will help us strengthen relationships with those communities. It’s going to be an exciting year of learning and collaboration.”
During the entry period from April 30th to June 15th, G Adventures received nearly 400 ambassador applications from across the United States. To be eligible, travel advisors were required to compose written answers to three qualifying questions about motivation, before 12 semi-finalists were selected in a blind review process. Each candidate then participated in one of the tour operator’s well-established ‘G-Factor’ interviews, which gauge culture fit and connection to mission. Several previous Ambassadors, along with G Adventures staff, served as judges to select the seven winners.
Travel advisor Sally Black of Vacationkids.com and the Family Travel Association was among the former G Adventures Ambassadors of Change who helped choose the new group for 2019. “My year of service and partnership with G Adventures in 2017 was so rewarding that I want to help pay the opportunity forward,” said Black. “I’m especially encouraged to see the company’s increased focus on family adventure travel reflected back in our new group of agent ambassadors this year, because family vacations matter more now than ever. Together, we’ll help clients who are parents and grandparents learn how bonding, transformational and fun their family travels can be in helping to raise the next generation of world citizens.”
Launched in 2016, G Adventures’ Ambassadors of Change program centers on the company’s commitment to social impact, sustainability and responsible tourism. Its goal is to educate, inspire and empower travel agents to promote travel that serves a higher purpose, while inspiring clients to think deeper about the power of their purchases to change lives.
Peter Worthing, G Adventures’ U.S. Vice President of Sales, thanked the 2018 ambassadors for their enthusiasm, partnership and impact. “This was such an impressive group of people. My team and I learned a lot from them, and feel grateful to have had the chance to build deeper relationships with each and every one. We look forward to getting to know and collaborate with our newest Ambassadors this coming year.”
The new group of Ambassadors will follow the 14 travel advisors who were selected to partner with G Adventures in 2017 and 2018, and who collectively traveled more than 150,000 miles on educational tours in different destinations around the world. New Ambassadors will be placed on one of seven all-expense-paid small-group tours in Tanzania, Thailand, Japan, Vietnam, Nepal, Iceland, Peru, Colombia, Ecuador or Jordan. Each will include a ‘G for Good Moment’ that supports a local, micro-enterprise and community development.
About the experience, outgoing Ambassador Nick Salmen of Travel Leaders agency Remarkable Journeys in Minnesota said, “There are a lot of companies trying to integrate social and environmental responsibility into their tours. It was fun to see how G Adventures is a pioneer in that movement. Armed with a bit more knowledge now, I can better guide our travelers to make good decisions.”
The 2019-2020 Ambassadors will also receive a series of benefits to incentivize and support their efforts, including but not limited to: marketing funds to host educational customer events or fundraisers in support of the nonprofit Planeterra Foundation; a custom G Adventures communications tool kit; and a G Adventures’ gift bag filled with branded wearables and travel accessories.
For more information, visit gadventures.com.
SOURCE: G Adventures press release.