WESTERN CANADA IS A VERITABLE PARADISE for clients seeking everything from soft adventure and outdoor recreation to ecotourism and wildlife sightings, as well as arts and culture, fine dining, nightlife and top-line accommodations in cities such as Vancouver and Victoria. The fastest and easiest way to sell this region is by booking through one of the many tour operators who specialize in Western Canada itineraries.
G.A.P Adventures (www.gapadventures.com) offers several Canada tours, including the 14-day "Western Canada Adventure," which starts in Vancouver and visits Thompson/Fraser Ranch, Glacier National Park, Rogers Pass, Kootenay National Park (where clients sleep in a traditional tepee), Banff, Athabasca Glacier and Jasper before finishing in Calgary, home of the Calgary Stampede. The trip also includes a kayaking excursion in Revelstoke.
Anyone from G.A.P's team of Adventure Specialists can handle agents' queries and bookings; call 800-465-5600. For information about agent discounts, contact Star Statulevicius at [email protected] or 416-260-0999, ext. 172. G.A.P Adventures typically pays a commission of 10 percent. To join as a preferred travel agent, complete the form at www.gapadventures.com/travel_agents/new_agent.
In addition to thrilling white-water rafting trips in British Columbia, Canadian Outback Adventures (www.canadianoutback.com) conducts a "Bald Eagle Safari Adventure" day trip in and around Brackendale, a British Columbia town between Vancouver and Whistler that attracts the largest gathering of bald eagles in North America. Every fall, flocks of these majestic raptors, the national emblem of the U.S., descend on Brackendale, which borders the awe-inspiring Tantalus mountain range. The Eagle Safari takes clients on a two-hour float trip down the Squamish River for up-close views of the eagles in their natural habitat, feasting on salmon chum. The trip concludes with a hot lunch at the Howe Sound Inn Brew Pub. Available between November 24 and February 19, the excursion is priced at $109.99 for adults and $89.99 for children ages 5 through 12. Transportation to and from Whistler or Vancouver is available for an additional charge.
Two hotels sell packages in conjunction with Canadian Outback Adventures' Eagle Safari. They include accommodations and buffet breakfast along with the day trip, for which binoculars and transportation are provided as part of the package. The hotels are the Fairmont Waterfront (604-691-1991) in Vancouver and Adara Hotel (866-502-3272) in Whistler. Package price is CDN$459 double, plus tax.
For more information about the Eagle Safari or other Canadian Outback Adventures trips, call 800-565-8735 or contact Meghan Tabor, tour and travel coordinator (604-921-7250, [email protected]).
Maxxim Vacations (www.maxximvacations.com) is offering a five-night self-drive vacation to Calgary and Banff, Canada's oldest national park. Clients select hotels, inns and bed-and-breakfasts to stay at, based on their preferences and budgets. Maxxim has contract rates with Air Canada/United, and can include attractions and car rentals with unlimited mileage. Package prices range from $899 to $1,169, depending on city of origin. After booking, clients receive an information packet with vouchers, brochures, maps and other useful travel information.
Travel agents receive a 10 percent commission from Maxxim. The company also has eight- and 11-night vacations in the Yukon and Alaska. E-mail [email protected] or call 800-567-6666.
Tauck World Discovery (www.tauck.com) operates various heli-hiking itineraries, including a nine-day trip through the Canadian Rockies to Calgary, Banff, Lake Louise and the Icefields Parkway, Jasper National Park and the Cariboo Mountains. Accommodations are in the Fairmont Banff Springs, the Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge, the Cariboo Lodge and Delta Bow Valley. Rates start at $4,450 per person double, which includes all helicopter flights but not airfare from home city. There are five departures between July 8 and August 7. Agents can contact any reservation sales counselor at 800-468-2825 or [email protected] Tauck's basic commission rate is 10 percent.
Mountain Travel Sobek (www.mtsobek.com) offers an eight-day "Vancouver Island Explorer" itinerary, which travels to all three sections of Pacific Rim National Park Reserve, goes hiking through temperate rainforests and along sandy beaches (including the West Coast Trail) and kayaking among the 100 islets of the Broken Group Islands of Barkley Sound (where gray whales, sea lions and bald eagles live), and includes a floatplane trip to a cove where clients can relax in natural hot springs and visit the town of Tofino (featuring Native American art galleries). Trips depart on July 21 and August 4.
Land-only prices start at $2,820 per person for groups of four to eight, plus $280 for internal airfare. Single supplement is $500. Those prices include five nights of bed-and-breakfast accommodations, plus two nights of camping.
Agents can contact Kurt Gantert, North America operations manager for Mountain Travel Sobek, at [email protected], 510-594-6000 or 800-282-8747, ext. 6024. The company pays a 10 percent commission to agents.
Gutsy Women Travel (www.gutsywomentravel.com) has an escorted six-day "Visions of Vancouver & Victoria" program that departs June 23. Land-only prices start at $2,841 for a single person and cover two nights at the Westin Grand in Vancouver, three nights at the Magnolia Hotel & Spa in Victoria, afternoon tea at the Fairmont Empress Hotel, a reception and three dinners. Highlights include the Royal BC Museum, Craigdarroch Castle, Butchart Gardens, VanDusen Botanical Gardens and Vancouver's Chinatown.
Agents can contact April Merenda, the company's president, at [email protected] or 866-464 8879, ext. 1220. Gutsy pays 12 percent commission if booked online or 10 percent if booked via the toll-free number.