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Monograms Africa Monograms, one of the Globus family of brands, has unveiled 2015 African experiences. Unlike an escorted tour company, Monograms offers pre-packaged, independent vacations that afford travellers the ability to personalize their vacation with planning details and logistics taken care of by Monograms staff and the on-site support of a Local Host. In Africa this allows selection of multiple game drives, a visit to Soweto, gorilla trekking or Victoria Falls. All Monograms Africa vacations include stunning accommodations, often luxury game lodges, as well as sightseeing (as many as 90 game drives on the Kenya & Tanzania Private Safari), most meals, and the invaluable services of Local Hosts and driver/guides. Monogram also includes airport transfers on the air-inclusive tours. The company features five Africa travel packages – from 9- to 15-days – featuring such awe-inspiring experiences as viewing the wildebeest migration on the endless plains of the Serengeti National Park or visiting a colony of African penguins outside Cape Town.

On Monogram’s Wilds of Botswana & Victoria Falls vacation package, guests walk with San Bushmen in the Central Kalahari Game Reserve, explore the Okavango Delta by mokoro (dug-out canoe) and visit mighty Victoria Falls. There are also five optional add-on tours to destinations such as Botswana and Zanzibar for those who wish to add more relaxed vacation time to their already-exotic vacation. Monograms is offering a $250 per person air credit on 2015 air-inclusive tours booked by 26AUG14.

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Evolution Galapagos G Adventures has introduced Evolution, the newest addition to their Galápagos fleet. Evolution comes with all of the features one would expect from a luxury cruise liner (without the cruise liner part). Evolution is staffed by 18 dedicated crew members, a cruise director and 2 naturist guides familiar with local flora and fauna, and certified by the Galápagos National Park authority. The 59m ship, built in 2004, carries just 32 travellers and is handsomely appointed with lots of outdoor space for relaxing, al fresco dining space when the weather permits, an indoor dining room for those rare occasions when it’s not, and a Jacuzzi. Wetsuits, snorkelling equipment, kayaks and beach towels are included at no extra charge as well as all meals onboard – comprehensive breakfast and gourmet Ecuadorian and international cuisine prepared fresh daily.

Evolution sails on two different itineraries – 10-day Galápagos – West & Central Islands, and 10-day Galápagos – North & Central Islands. Cruise fares are offered from $6,199 per person double/twin, but if you reserve your G Adventures Galápagos cruise by 30SEP14, and travel between 01JAN15 and 30JUN15, you will save $1,000 per cabin Cruise Only, or $1,000 per person Cruise & Air.

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As agency approaches its 40th anniversary, Trish McTavish says secret to success is providing excellent customer service - Terrilyn Kunopaski

The McTavish Travel team - Back row: Cathy Faleiro, Marian Strus, Jessica Scott, Allyson Pelisek, Marybeth Parrott, Diane Hink, Jody Grierson, Kathryn Butt, Christine Hillis, Kelly Howard, Carolyn Valenti, Ance Gheorghescu, Deanna Pesa, Sandra McGregor, Nadine Davies, Betty-Anne Ley, Lisa Spears, Dianne McHugh, Tina Leslie & Jo-Anne Wilbur. Front: Ross & Trish McTavish. McTavish Travel has earned the title of Travel Agency of the Year in the Awards of Excellence contest 2011.

No stranger to industry recognition, the agency was also recently awarded the title of North America’s Leading Travel Agency at the World Travel Awards and has an array of other trophies on display at their Oakville office.

Ross & Trish McTavish, owners, McTavish Travel with Terrilyn Kunopaski, editor-in-chief, “We’re honoured to have even been nominated. I think when you’re given an award by your peers, it’s probably the biggest honour you can be given, particularly by our industry in Canada,” said Trish McTavish about the Award of Excellence. “I have to say, I’m really proud of the travel industry in Canada - I think we have a really good industry here, a lot of integrity, so to win this in that circle is a great honour.”

The Award of Excellence comes at an appropriate time as McTavish Travel approaches a special milestone of 40 years in business. When the agency was first launched by Ross McTavish, it was Ross plus one teammate running the show. Trish started working with the business in the early 80s and now, the team has grown to 28 in total and continues to attract new business as well.

Originally, McTavish Travel focused mostly on leisure travel “because that’s what travel was all about,” Trish said.

But, after seeing a lot of corporations coming to them in the early 80s, the agency established a dedicated corporate department and now, that niche represents 50 per cent of the business. Twenty-five per cent is leisure, and another 25 per cent is made up by humanitarian/mission bookings as well as groups.

In fact, McTavish Travel is one of only two humanitarian/mission-accredited agencies in Canada, which means it holds contracts with most of the legacy and large international carriers to provide special fares to large charities, not-for-profits, humanitarian organizations and missionaries.

Whatever the reason for travel, McTavish’s clients come from across Canada, as well as some from the U.S. and other international markets.

So what’s the secret to the success of an agency that does very little marketing yet continues to grow year-after-year?

“Our success has definitely been on the foundation of providing exceptional customer service and referral,” Trish said.

“We have never strayed from our core value and that has been client-centric, client-focused; we always have felt that if we do right by the clients, everything else will fall into line. There are a lot of organizations that put call centres in place and that’s not about the client, that’s about profits. Anything we do, the first question is: how does that benefit the client? If there isn’t a benefit to the client, why are we doing it?

“We’ve never taken on an action because it’s better for us; some of the things we do are more difficult for us, but there’s a huge benefit for the client – it doesn’t matter how hard it’s going to make it for us to do this thing, if it’s good for the client, that’s what we do. And it’s worked for us – if you look after your clients and you look after your staff, your staff will look after your clients and it all works out in the end.”

Being in business for 40 years, McTavish Travel has had many clients with them for more than 30 and staff that has worked there just as long.

In the economic downturn of 2008, the agency was impacted just as everyone else in the industry but was still able to turn a profit without making any layoffs.

“We don’t have growth for the sake of growth,” Trish said. “The important key to growing is just growing enough that you don’t lose business because you’re not able to provide that same level of service.”

McTavish Travel is affiliated with the Ensemble and Uniglobe networks in Canada.


McTavish Travel wins big at World Travel Awards

travel McTavish Travel is very proud of two recent awards!

McTavish Travel was awarded "North America's Leading Travel Agency" in the 19th annual World Travel Awards. It's McTavish Travel's third World Travel Award in 5 years! In 2007 and 2008, we were named "North America's Leading Business Travel Agency". The much coveted World Travel Awards are considered to be "the Oscars of the travel industry".

Launched in 1993, the awards "acknowledge and recognise excellence in the global travel and tourism industry." A World Travel award is "regarded as the very highest achievement that a travel company could hope to receive. Separating the good from the outstanding. Identifying companies that consistently excel beyond expectation. Taking customer expectations to a new, unparalleled high." For more information on the awards, visit

On December 22, 2011 McTavish Travel was named "Canadian Travel Agency of the Year" in the Awards of Excellence.