Retirement usually brings increased opportunities for travel. But for Ivan and Patricia Woit, the opposite may be true.
The longtime owners of Red Deer’s Vista Travel Ltd. have sold their business to Uniglobe Beacon Travel, which runs Uniglobe Mills Travel in Red Deer. Vista and Uniglobe Mills’ operations will be combined at Uniglobe Mills’ new premises at 3020 32nd St. (East Hill Centre), effective Aug. 6.
Ivan Woit has worked in the local travel industry since 1968, and calculates that he’s visited 92 countries. He and his wife Patricia regularly join their clients on cruises.
“We’ve probably done 15 or 20 cruises with these groups,” said Woit.
Vista has been at Parkland Mall for 39 years, and became affiliated with international travel management company Carlson Wagonlit Travel in 1999.
One of Vista’s founders, Woit decided to sell only recently.
“My lease was coming up at the end of August, and my Carlson Wagonlit association was coming due, so it was kind of an opportune time.”
It was important that Vista clients continue to be well-served, he said, and Uniglobe Mills seemed like a good option in this regard. Woit’s daughter Lisa will remain involved as a member of Uniglobe Mills.
Woit said he’s seen a lot of changes during his 45 years in the industry.
“At one time, our back room was loaded with brochures in files on all of the countries and cities, and descriptive literature on everything.”
The Internet made such paper resources unnecessary. Similarly, clients who once visited travel agencies to learn about vacation options now do their research online.
But, added Woit, many seek the security of a travel agent when it’s time to book.
He’s also noticed a change in the relationships that travel agents have.
Specifically, said Woit, they don’t have the same personal connection to suppliers like airlines that they once did.
“We still have that personal one-to-one with clients,” he pointed out.
“That’s probably the most enjoyable thing of our whole industry.”
Woit said he and Patricia will remain in Red Deer.
“I’ve got a few projects that I’m working on,” he said, hinting that some may be travel-related and tied to Uniglobe Mills.
“I may continue doing that as something to keep me interested and keep my foot in the door a little bit.”