Articles identifié au mot «pilgrimages »
Article published in Tourisme Plus, September 20th, 2013 (translated by Jessica Walker)
130 people, including thirty travel agents, met last night (September 19) at the Salle Le Rizz in Montreal for a gala evening held in honor of the tenth anniversary of the travel agency, Spiritours .
In the presence of her team and also of comedian Jean–Marie Lapointe and Sœur Angèle,who will both soon accompany a group of travellers, Anne Godbout, CEO and founder of the agency, took advantage of the festive atmosphere to kickoff her 2014 brochure.
Spiritours now has seven full-time employees and several suppliers and partners in their network (the representatives from the tourist offices of Spain, France and Mexico were present). The agency remembers its beginnings ten years ago: « Spiritours frightened some people who could not distinguish between religion and spirituality« , indicated Ms. Godbout.
Over the years, Spiritours decided to offer two components, namely wellness & personal growth tours (eg. a safari in Kenya, a silent trek in the Sahara in Tunisia…) and Christian pilgrimages accompanied by a priest. « Often, some begin a journey as tourists or as hikers and complete it as pilgrims, after going through an inner transformation. The freedom of each is important and we do not impose anything « , said Anne Godbout
Although the proportion of travelers who come from travel agents is relatively small, the numbers are growing, and today Spiritours averages 1,500 clients each year. From this lot, 75 percent are women, ranging from 50 to 70 years old (in average).
Custom Group Tours
At present, the majority of Spiritours customers come from custom group tours and trips that are designed around a specific event such as the World Youth Day (Brazil 2013), a Eucharistic Congress, a canonization (that of John Paul II in 2014)…
« In these cases, we are talking about hundreds of people who leave together for the same trip. Otherwise, we try to keep the groups small on regular tours », said Ms. Godbout. Thus, a group for a welness & personal growth tour include between six and fifteen people, while pilgrimages have up to 25.
Exclusive Travel and Trends 2014
The most popular destinations for Spiritours are the Holy Land ( 450 people of twenty groups last year) and Santiago de Compostela, assured Ms. Godbout.
« More and more travel agents want to sell our products because they are exclusive » , she said , adding that some agents will even form a group and then assign them. « They know a priest, but do not have enough experience with the Holy Land , so they come to us as a wholesaler » she said. Spiritours promises that there will be no solicitation from them to their customers.
For 2014, travelers of wellness & personal growth tours may opt for a cruise in Alaska, a cultural tour in Andalusia and the Mayan Route in the Yucatan Peninsula , Mexico. In regard to pilgrimages, they will be offering new tours in France , Ireland , Italy and Portugal to name a few.
« I think we have modernized the image of pilgrimages », concluded Ms. Godbout
For more Information : www.spiritours.com