The future of Canada’s travel industry is in good hands thanks to a new generation of passionate travel pros.
Millennials in Travel (MIT), a U.S-based organization dedicated to tourism growth, career development, and networking among a generational segment in the travel industry, has gone international with the launch of its first Canadian chapter in Vancouver, B.C.
The new branch, which was first announced in September 2021, held an official kickoff event on Tuesday (April 26) at Vancouver’s glam Shangri-La Hotel, welcoming a mix of travel advisors and other professionals from the tour operator, tourism board, media, air and cruise line sectors.
The new chapter – the first MIT brand to launch outside of the U.S. – is led by Kemi Wells of Wells Luxury Travel, the group’s officer of development, and The Travel Group's McKenzie McMillan, who serves as officer of communications.
Wells and McMillan used to lead a next-generation career development group called Young Travel Professionals (YTP), and while that club eventually phased out, the two continued fostering a local network of tourism pros.
“As YTP wound down and as the pandemic began, we felt it would be a great idea to start up an official Millennials in Travel Chapter in Vancouver as the organization was still going strong and they were keen to see their first Canadian chapter!” Wells told PAX.
Volunteer-run MIT Vancouver also welcomes Anshuman Pancholi as officer of membership and Blair Hirtle as officer of events.
A place for driven millennials
“There are many benefits to joining,” Wells said, explaining the group’s activities.
This includes access to MIT Chapter Networking Events – from local ones to events held by U.S. chapters if a member is visiting a city and the timing aligns.
There are exclusive gatherings at various conferences and global events to provide additional networking opportunities for members across all chapters.
There is a job board for members and MIT is also working on virtual training modules to educate members about the different sectors of the industry, as well as on products, industry tools, destinations and brands with a focus on helping millennial professionals (those who are generally born after 1975).
“I love the sense of community,” McMillan said. “MIT runs forums, social media pages and groups to help keep everyone connected.”
Being a member grants you access to member-only Millennials in Travel familiarization trips (invited sectors are at the host’s discretion).
There are also exclusive promotions and discounts for members, McMillan said.
“We are the future of the travel industry”
MIT’s expansion into Canada is part of a greater effort to build a stronger travel trade community over the next few decades.
Millennials communicate differently, market differently and conduct business in a different way, as the organization’s main website explains.
And, as the motto of the organization says: “We are the future of the travel industry.”
“We may be biased, but I think we are a group of very driven and passionate individuals who have clear goals in mind for our careers and life journey,” said Wells. “Our chapter is a fun way to stay connected, meet other like-minded people and help each other to strengthen our industry as a whole.”
MIT Vancouver’s plan is to hold quarterly in-personal events – and the next gathering is already set for June 21, 2022.
The launch event in Vancouver was "very successful," Wells said, thanks to venue sponsor Shangri-La Vancouver and event sponsor, the Las Vegas Convention and Visitor Authority.
Additional prizes were also provided by MGM Resorts International and Cirque du Soleil.
The group says it has several partners already expressing interest in sponsoring a future event, but they’re of course welcoming more on board as they plan ahead for 2022 and 2023.
Those who are interested in working with MIT Vancouver, or to simply connect, are invited to contact email@example.com.
If you are a millennial in travel and want to sign up for the Vancouver (or any other) chapter for updates, click here.
There is a cost to becoming an official member (although, you can still get newsletter updates without a charge).
As a not-for-profit, MIT Vancouver’s annual fee is $25.00 USD per person, which provides access to the benefits listed above, including tickets to two in-person events.
The membership and two complimentary events are valid for 365 days from the membership activation or renewal date.
Member attendance to additional in-person events (after the first two) are $15.00 USD per event, and all in-person events for non-members are $15.00 USD per event.
(Canadian pricing is still being worked on, “but really, we think it is a bargain!” noted Wells).
There are no official announcements (yet) about expanding MIT to other regions in Canada, but it’s definitely on the wish list.
“It would be great to have a chapter in each major province,” McMillan said.
For more on Millennials in Travel, click here.