Mega FAM 2015Travel Manitoba hosted 14 international travel agents and tour operators from the UK, Germany, France and China for a familiarization tour a week in September to introduce them to some of Manitoba's authentic experiences as part of Destination Canada's Canadian Specialist Program. This online training program allows the international travel trade to become experts in selling Canada's unique experiences to their clients. 

The group travelled to Falcon Trails Resort, where they enjoyed "cabin life" in the lakefront cabins, a biathlon experience Falcon Ridge, and a trail ride and cowboy cook out with Falcon Beach Ranch.  They experienced Manito Ahbee, catfishing on the Red River, the Assiniboine Park Zoo, and the Canadian Museum for Human Rights in Winnipeg, before heading out to Riding Mountain National Park. There, they went wildlife viewing, hiked the Manitoba Escarpment, and had a campfire sing along with Parks Canada staff.

"We were looking for something different. That's why we chose Manitoba," said FAM participant Solenne Rolland from Selectour Afar Sud R in France.

The jam-packed schedule gave these international agents a chance to experience Manitoba's accessible wilderness and cultural offerings, while connecting with Canadians, which were, as Roger Blizard from Richmond Travel in the UK remarked, "Really for us, a major part of Canada and a major part of Manitoba."

In addition to experiencing Manitoba, the FAM participants also shared insight with some of the Manitoba operators on what their clients are looking for - like packages that include food - and the best ways to work with the international travel trade - like using a Canadian receptive operator. They noted the great potential for add-ons from Winnipeg, including options like Falcon Trails and Elkhorn Resort in Riding Mountain, especially now that the VIA Rail cross-Canada service offers two stops.

FAM tours were held across the country for participants in the Canadian Specialist Program - leading to the Mega FAM moniker - and then all 200 of them connected together in Halifax to wrap up their trips. Videos from each FAM were shared, and the Manitoba FAM participants reported their video received the most reaction from the crowd. Watch Manitoba's Mega FAM video.

For more information on hosting a FAM or working with the international travel trade, contact Dené Sinclair, Manager, Global Travel Trade Relations.