Michael Pihach is an award-winning journalist with a keen interest in digital storytelling. In addition to PAX, Michael has also written for CBC Life, Ryerson University Magazine, IN Magazine, and DailyXtra.ca. Michael joins PAX after years of working at popular Canadian television shows, such as Steven and Chris, The Goods and The Marilyn Denis Show.
It was like trying to get tickets to a Taylor Swift concert.
According to a press release issued Tuesday (May 23), The Travel Agent Next Door’s (TTAND’s) 2024 national conference in Jordan, which will mark the host agency’s ten-year anniversary, sold out in 47 seconds, with more than 150 agent partners on a wait list.
“We really wanted to do something special for our 10th anniversary and we have been secretly working behind the scenes for a year with G Adventures, Jordan Tourism and Royal Jordanian Airlines to arrange what is believed to be a Canadian travel industry first – a major Canadian travel agency conference in the Middle East,” stated TTAND’s Founder Flemming Friisdahl.
In June of next year, TTAND agents, staff and suppliers will travel to Jordan on a private, chartered Royal Jordanian Airlines Dreamliner jet.
READ MORE: TTAND’s 10-year anniversary conference will be held in Jordan
The epic week-long event in the Middle East was first announced last month at TTAND’s 2023 conference “Breaking Barriers Together” in Costa Mujeres, located about 30 minutes north of Cancun, where 240 agents gathered in person while another 568 watched the action unfolded through a Facebook livestream.
“People were standing in the room and the energy was out this world – the tension was very high amongst agents as speculation grew about where the 10- year anniversary conference would be held,” said Friisdahl. “The announcement video reveal did not immediately mention the destination but rather showed images and videos of the destination with a countdown from 10 to one. By the time Jordan was announced, agents were literally jumping off their seats, hugging each other, clapping and some were even crying.”
(PAX was there to a film a reaction video, which can be found on our Facebook page here).
TTAND waited three days after the conference in Mexico ended for registration to open, allowing everyone to return to Canada be ready to register.
READ MORE: “Takeaways for everybody”: TTAND's “Breaking Barriers” conference wraps up in Mexico
“It was incredibly hard to keep the 2024 conference destination details a secret from the travel agents while in Mexico,” said Omar Banihani, director of marketing for Visit Jordan. “The TTAND team was keen on keeping it a secret and for a good reason! I was pleasantly surprised at the response we received after the announcement. So much love and interest in Jordan and selling out in 47 seconds was not expected at all. We are so excited to have the TTAND family in Jordan next year. “
The co-host for the conference is G Adventures.
“Everyone at G Adventures is excited to co-host The Travel Agent Next Door in Jordan for their 10th anniversary conference in 2024. When we announced the destination at their conference in Mexico there was so much excitement in the room, that I guess we shouldn’t be surprised that the event sold out in a record 47 seconds!” said David Green, global VP of sales and customer operations managing director for Canada at G Adventures.
He added: “We have an incredible partnership, our sales with TTAND are growing exponentially and we can’t wait to showcase Jordan and the great work we do at G adventures in creating life changing experiences for our travelers. We of course couldn’t do this without the support of the other co-hosts! A big thanks to Royal Jordanian and Jordan Tourism Board. Bring on Jordan!”
Jordan, an Arab nation on the east bank of the Jordan River, is known for its ancient monuments, nature reserves and seaside resorts.
It’s home to the famed rock-cut archaeological site of Petra, where TTAND will host a private event, lit by candlelight, for next year’s conference participants.
As previously reported by PAX, attendees will stay in hotels that are part of G’s National Geographic Journeys collection, which are upgraded accommodations (compared to hotels on G’s classic trips).
G Adventures’ Founder – entrepreneur, author and philanthropist Bruce Poon Tip – has also been confirmed as a keynote speaker.
Additionally, agents will have a chance to engage with G’s non-profit organization, Planeterra, which will come directly to the conference to present and engage.
“The conference element won’t change,” Green told PAX. “But mid-way through, we’ll be taking agents to places like Petra, Wadi Rum and Aqaba. And all of our CEOs [Chief Experience Officers] will be with us.”
"I think agents will be blown away by what we can do. We’ll be showcasing the best of what Jordan has to offer. At this conference, the destination will be the hero.”
Don't miss a single travel story: subscribe to PAX today! Click here to follow PAX on Facebook.