It’s a tough business to be in these days, but local travel agent Pamela Pereira of Pear Tree Tours isn’t letting the pandemic get her down.
She is hopeful that the travel industry will pick up again, with safer measures in place.
Pereira is technically still ‘open for business’ but isn’t booking any clients until the government lifts the current travel advisory and 14 day quarantine rule for travellers returning to the country.
“It’s an interesting time we’re living in,” she said, noting she had to cancel all her clients trips for 2020.
Pereira may not be booking any trips at the moment, but she is keeping busy teaching as a professor at Seneca College in their travel and tourism program. She is teaching her classes online, with the current semester running until mid August.
“They (her students) tell me they are enjoying the classes, I try to make them as interesting as possible,” she said.
She teaches her students an array of topics ranging from tour planning, tour guiding and cruising.
And although the world of travelling for leisure is on a pause right now, Pereira is preparing her students for what the future of travel will look like for her clients.
“The world will be a different place after this is over,” she commented. “Travel will be safer and cleaner.”
In the future, she also thinks the use of travel agents will become more popular.
“After the virus hit and travellers were desperate to reach online travel agencies to make changes to their bookings, those who booked with a travel agent were able to get their bookings sorted out a lot sooner,” she said. "If they booked with an online travel agency, they had to wait for hours, sometimes days to reach a live person."
“My clients were able to reach me immediately,” she said. “I truly believe that this has shown the value and importance of a travel agent.”
Pereira has always had a passion for travel, and has visited 40 countries in her lifetime so far.
“I got into the industry because I knew I had the itch to travel when I was very young,” she said.
In school she loved her geography courses and ended up studying at Humber College for travel and tourism.
Throughout her career she has worked for a number of travel agencies, but decided to branch out and start her own travel business this year.
"I have been very fortunate to work for amazing companies who have sent me around the world representing them. Now I get to represent myself," she said.
Of all the places she has been, she says Dubai is her favourite.
“I really loved that trip,” she said. “The food, the aura, the safari, it really has so much to offer.”
Pereira is not worried about the future of travel and believes there will always be a job for her, helping others to see the world in a safe and secure way.
“I can’t wait to travel again.”