A local travel specialist is looking to innovate while most people are still avoiding flying.
She’s doing so by launching a live virtual travel experience, with the hopes of giving tourists a look at the Caribbean.
“Even though I can’t put planes back in the sky, I can bring the world to people’s living rooms,” says Tracy Turberfield, who started the service after her business was stopped by the pandemic.
When international travel was ground to a halt, she says it turned her business upside down.
“That moment just stopped me dead in my tracks,” she said. “I knew from that moment, I had to unravel all the work I put in after the past several months.”
“I was watching my travel business disintegrate before my eyes.”
Read more: Canadian tourism sector needs help through ‘very, very dire’ straits: industry heads
Turberfield, who sells luxury travel experiences, knew she had to do something.
“I realized that people were missing travel,” said Turberfield.
“I wanted to keep people connected to travel, and thinking this is not the end of the world, we are going to travel again.”
From that came the idea of virtual vacation experiences.
Building partnerships with key characters on the ground in the Caribbean over the past 20 years in her career , she now offers an interactive vacation environment, now departing for Antigua.
“They are arranging to go live from Nelson’s Dockyard and from one of the resorts,” she said. “Along with this we will watch a cooking demonstrations and we’re going to have a live band, while watching the sunset in Antigua.”
So far, she’s taken her clients on a virtual vacation to St. Lucia.
“It’s about bringing awareness to the destinations, to keep those particular destinations top of mind to people,” she tells Global News.
The business is a key part in helping tourism bureaus in the Caribbean get back on their feet.
Read more: Air travel and COVID-19: Will the industry rebound from its biggest setback?
“We’re heavily dependent on tourism as a destination,” said Tameka Wharton with the Antiguan and Barbudan Tourism Authority. She says having a business like Tracy’s is imperative to help them survive, after several months of next to no tourism in the area.
“We do appreciate the way Tracy has found to present our destination to the Canadian public,” said Wharton, who is one of the partners helping put together an ‘Antiguan’ virtual experience.
Turberfield says along with vacation meet-ups for customers, she also wants to switch up the look of those Zoom meetings we’ve all become accustomed to.
“The experience can get kind of boring after awhile,” says Turberfield, describing the sometimes neutral zoom environments.
“I want to offer in living room networking events and team-building events. We could have incentives for businesses, so they could have incentive trips.”
You can find your tickets to a virtual vacation here. Visit http://bit.ly/VirtualVacationAntigua for more information.
The next virtual trip to Antigua is set for next week,