Durham travel specialist offering virtual, interactive, live vacation experience

Durham travel specialist offering virtual, interactive, live vacation experience

A local travel specialist is looking to innovate while most people are still avoiding flying.

She’s doing so by launching a live virtual travel experience, with the hopes of giving tourists a look at the Caribbean.

“Even though I can’t put planes back in the sky, I can bring the world to people’s living rooms,” says Tracy Turberfield, who started the service after her business was stopped by the pandemic.

When international travel was ground to a halt, she says it turned her business upside down.

“That moment just stopped me dead in my tracks,” she said. “I knew from that moment, I had to unravel all the work I put in after the past several months.”

“I was watching my travel business disintegrate before my eyes.”

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Turberfield, who sells luxury travel experiences, knew she had to do something.

“I realized that people were missing travel,” said Turberfield.

“I wanted to keep people connected to travel, and thinking this is not the end of the world, we are going to travel again.”

From that came the idea of virtual vacation experiences.

Building partnerships with key characters on the ground in the Caribbean over the past 20 years in her career , she now offers an interactive vacation environment, now departing for Antigua.

“They are arranging to go live from Nelson’s Dockyard and from one of the resorts,” she said. “Along with this we will watch a cooking demonstrations and we’re going to have a live band, while watching the sunset in Antigua.”

So far, she’s taken her clients on a virtual vacation to St. Lucia.

“It’s about bringing awareness to the destinations, to keep those particular destinations top of mind to people,” she tells Global News.

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The business is a key part in helping tourism bureaus in the Caribbean get back on their feet.

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“We’re heavily dependent on tourism as a destination,” said Tameka Wharton with the Antiguan and Barbudan Tourism Authority. She says having a business like Tracy’s is imperative to help them survive, after several months of next to no tourism in the area.

“We do appreciate the way Tracy has found to present our destination to the Canadian public,” said Wharton, who is one of the partners helping put together an ‘Antiguan’ virtual experience.

Turberfield says along with vacation meet-ups for customers, she also wants to switch up the look of those Zoom meetings we’ve all become accustomed to.

Click to play video 'Travel Tips: COVID-19’s impact on domestic travel and fall vacations'

Travel Tips: COVID-19’s impact on domestic travel and fall vacations

Travel Tips: COVID-19’s impact on domestic travel and fall vacations

“The experience can get kind of boring after awhile,” says Turberfield, describing the sometimes neutral zoom environments.

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“I want to offer in living room networking events and team-building events. We could have incentives for businesses, so they could have incentive trips.”

The next virtual trip to Antigua is set for next week.

© 2020 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.