Wanted: Two friends in their 40s want to visit Canada, with a tour to see wildlife such as bears and whales as part of the holiday, perhaps by train.
3 King Edward Street
The shop and staff were smart, and the window and brochure displays were excellent. I was greeted immediately and offered a hot drink and juice. We discussed options in eastern and western Canada, plus hotels, car hire and wildlife watching. My quote was for a 16-night Kuoni holiday in western Canada, flying with KLM from Manchester to Calgary via Amsterdam. It included hotels in Banff and Jasper plus a Rocky Mountaineer rail trip to Vancouver and Vancouver Island for a bear and whale-watching trip, for £10,078. I asked for a second quote but was told there are few bear-watching opportunities in eastern Canada. I felt very welcome and the agent built a good rapport with me. The quote was excellent as it told a story and there were pictures of the destinations.
We discussed hotels, car hire, trains and activities – and a staff member who used to live in Canada joined the agent serving me, and said western Canada was better for bears and whales. The first quote was a 10-day holiday flying from Manchester with Air Transat, staying in Vancouver, with a whale-watching trip, and a Rocky Mountaineer journey which included a Rockies helicopter tour. It cost £8,116. The second quote was for 14 nights in eastern Canada, flying from Leeds-Bradford with KLM, with several city hotels, rail travel and a whale-watching excursion, for £5,569.
77 Vicar Lane
I was greeted immediately, and the agent made notes as we talked. However, I was there for almost two hours and would have preferred the option of having quotes emailed or popping back. My quote was a 19-night western Canada holiday, departing Heathrow with Air Canada, staying in several hotels, with sightseeing tours and excursions to see whales and bears, plus a Rocky Mountaineer trip, for £10,834. They said they only offer one quote as they like to get it correct first time after discussing options with customers.
Sarah Worsnup, personal travel expert
“We don’t do that many wildlife tours in Canada. If we sell Canada, it tends to be the Rockies, but we do take a few bookings for the destination. I actually went to Banff in December 2018 so I have personal knowledge.”
All three produced good options. Kuoni’s quote just tipped the balance as it was presented in an inspiring fashion. Flight Centre staff showed in-depth knowledge of the destination, but the experience in Trailfinders was rather lengthy.
The winning agent must be at least 25, for insurance reasons. Winners under 25 will win a week’s all-inclusive holiday at an Elite Islands Resorts property. The prize is non-transferable and the car must be driven only by the winning agent. The winner must not have any serious driving convictions. Elite Island Resorts will endeavour to supply the car to the agency but reserves the right to request the winning agent to collect and return the car from Essex or a central location.
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