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Steve Gillick

Steve Gillick is a travel industry specialist with a wide range of interests and experiences. He has over 30 years of travelling, speaking, writing, training, presenting and promoting what he refers to as "infectious enthusiasm about travel". Formerly the president of CITC, Steve is currently the president of TalkingTravel.ca, a professional development consultancy.

Steve's monthly column, The Travel Coach, provides new and useful insights, and is a "must read" for all sectors of travel and tourism, but most particularly for travel counsellors who can take advantage of his vast knowledge and experience in this industry.

RECENT ARTICLES

YOU ARE THE INCENTIVE
27 AUG 2018: Maybe you have never considered the job of Travel Advisor to be in the ‘incentive’ category, but perhaps you should.  A few years ago I offered to contribute an article to a magazine produced by one of the Incentive organizations in Canada. The response was that travel professionals don’t really ‘get’ what Incentives are all about so thanks but no thanks.  Boy, were they wrong! MORE

CUSTOMER APPRECIATION REARS ITS BEAUTIFUL HEAD
23 JUL 2018: Thomas, the General Manager of Born and Raised, a high-end ‘wish list’ steak house in San Diego’s Little Italy District, explained the customer service ethic. When I noted the warm, friendly greeting that I had received and also the fact that managers and staff were visiting the guests to chat and explain items on the menu, and appeared to genuinely enjoy what they were doing, Thomas philosophized that Born and Raised prided itself on a mellow-out atmosphere where the food and service “provoke you into a state of mindful surrender.”   MORE

CRAVING THE CAVE
Ancestry tourism takes root
18 JUN 2018: Amidst the festivities in the main town square in Sagua La Grande in Villa Clara, Cuba, Luis Cartelle sat quietly mending orange fishing nets, behind a sign that labelled him “Artesano”.  The occasion was a visit by the Minister of Tourism to announce that this beautiful colonial town, with its famous bridge, the Puente El Triunfo spanning the Sagua La Grande River, was to be formally recognized as an ‘important tourist destination’.  It seemed that most of the 13,000 town residents were out celebrating the promise of the future.  MORE

WHO KNOWS WHERE THE TIME GOES
An update on Time Management
28 MAY 2018: Judy Collins’ recording of the iconic 1960’s song, “Who knows where the time goes”, began with the lines “Across the morning sky/ All the birds are leaving/How can they know/It’s time for them to go”.  And while birds have an instinctive mechanism that regulates their activities and tells them ‘time’s up…go south”, we humans tend to rely on more well timed implements such as wristwatches, cell phones, computers, Fitbits and day-timers. MORE

EMBRACE YOUR INNER SELFIE
The travel photo phenomenon
16 APR 2018: They are cynically nicknamed “selfie stickers”.  You know those people wandering the world with a selfie stick as their nearest, dearest companion.  They seem to monopolize all the good viewing places at attractions as diverse as Niagara Falls, the Charles Bridge in Prague, the marble bench directly in front of the Taj Mahal, the Intihuatana (Sacred Rock) at Machu Picchu, and more.  MORE

SYMPTOMS AND REMEDIES
How to counter waning career enthusiasm
05 MAR 018: Bob (see below) is only one of the problems that is grinding away at the enthusiasm that led you to the travel industry in the first place. You knew that you had to learn about destinations, legalities and different modes of transportation. You knew you had to master skills such as sales, customer relations, communication, listening and decision making. But now all this information is under siege by the reality of working in the industry.  MORE

OUT ON THE LEDGE
Getting a Handle on Door County
05 FEB 2018: Shouldn’t you be out on a ledge?  In normal circumstances this question could be interpreted as confrontational, but in Door County, Wisconsin, it’s an energizing suggestion for outdoor activities, exploration, food, wine, fun and camaraderie. MORE

MOUNTAINS OF DELIGHT
Heavenly vistas in Japan
08 JAN 2018: As we hiked through the Sinai Mountains many years ago, we came upon a beautiful, old grove of gnarled olive trees.  Noga, one of the members in the group, remarked how dramatic the trees looked and asked that we stop to take photos.  When one of the other group members commented that “it’s just a bunch of trees”, Noga retorted by looking up at the spectacular vistas surrounding us, saying “David, that’s like saying ‘if you’ve seen one mountain, you’ve seen them all.” David was quiet after that.  MORE

ZEN AND THE ART OF TRAVEL DREAMING
11 DEC 2017: What is the sound of one hand clapping? When I was 10 years of age, my Mom would play a comedy record on which this question was posed, to the delight of the audience. It took me a few years (until November 2017) to understand that this was an example of "Satori" which, according to Zen teachings, means "seeing into one's true nature". MORE

GODZILLA IS ALIVE AND WELL ON OSHIMA ISLAND
27 NOV 2017: Godzilla is alive and well, at least in the hearts and minds of travellers to Oshima, one of Tokyo's volcanic Islands just east of the Izu Peninsula. A two hour jet-foil whisks travellers from Tokyo to Okada Port and, with Mt. Fuji plainly visible across the Pacific Ocean, Mt. Mihara, an active volcano that last erupted in 1986, looms over Oshima. Inside the volcano, for those with equally active imaginations, the terrifying beast, Godzilla, is entombed.   MORE

WHAT MY DENTIST TOLD ME
Embracing the global staycation phenomenon and more
30 OCT 2017: “We went on a wine tour of France.  We don’t drink wine but the scenery was amazing. All those classic vistas of small French towns, winding waterways, vineyards, chateaus…it was quite spectacular”.   MORE

THE KLONDIKE SPIRIT A Panoramic Sense of Beauty
18 SEP 2017: The Klondike Spirit is not just the name of the Paddlewheeler in Dawson City. The popular attraction takes tourists up the Yukon River, past Moosehide settlement, over to the Sternwheeler graveyard, and then on to the channel where the Klondike River’s dark grey waters merge with the lighter grey of the Yukon River. But when you speak with Brad Whitelaw, the boat’s owner, you discover that there is something intangibly moving about ‘the spirit' of this place where Golden and Bald Eagles soar over mountains covered in Aspen, Spruce, Birch and Tamarac trees as they track the course of the river north to Alaska and the Bering Sea.   MORE

MONTENEGRO MAGIC
A fascinating encounter with Kotor and Perast
21 AUG 2017: Climbing 1350 steps to the top of a 1200 meter mountain at Noon, with temperatures hovering around 33 degree Celsius may not be everyone’s idea of a fun time, but on our day of arrival in Kotor, Montenegro it seemed like the right thing to do.   MORE

IN THE SPIRIT OF BONACA
A soul soothing journey through Croatia
24 JUN 2017: Ivan Kapetanic, the owner of Konobo Bonaca, is one of the more gracious restaurant owners that you will meet. After an unbelievably fresh seafood dinner he offered us Grappa as we plied him with questions about this family owned establishment (“Mom is the Chef”) situated in Sustjepan, a quiet village, just outside the hustle and bustle of Dubrovnik. Ivan explained that “Konobo” refers to a place where food is prepared, with the emphasis on “local”. MORE

IGNITING THE SPIRIT
Experiencing the excitement of Winnipeg
12 JUN 2017: Apparently I have the wing span of a Great Grey Owl! Jacques Bourgeois, the marketing coordinator at Oak Hammock Marsh, just north of Winnipeg, was simply stating fact as I stretched the tape measure from fingertip to fingertip. He quickly added that the Great Grey Owl was the Provincial Bird of Manitoba so I should feel honoured. MORE

WHY WE ENJOY CUBA
Holguin Province Sets the Tone
15 MAY 2017: And to think it all started with an uppity teenager. Over one million Canadians visit Cuba each year to enjoy the beaches and dine on fish and seafood, but there are probably very few who actually know why they are able to do this. The answer lies under a thatched roof, at the edge of a cliff on Cayo Bariya, a place that’s a bit off the beaten track in Cuba’s Holguin Province.   MORE

A TEXAS STATE OF MIND
Connecting with the town of Fredericksburg
17 APR 2017: John Muraglia sat comfortably before a flat screen television, sipping Truman’s Pardon, and watching the New York Rangers play the Montreal Canadiens. After chatting for a few minutes, during which he discovered that I was Canadian, John quickly pointed out with a teasing glint in his eyes, that New York was winning the game.   MORE

WRAPPED UP IN QUEBEC
Maple, Turtles, Huskies, Muskies and Bacon
20 MAR 2017: Confession time.  First I was exfoliated, and then slathered in maple butter, before being wrapped like a mummy in a plastic sheet and blanket.  After my scalp was massaged, the lights were dimmed as I was told to ‘chill out’ for a while.  Following my eventual unwrapping and a shower, I was covered in moisturizing cream, and then I floated out of the room.  Was it a dream? A fantasy?  No actually this was the Maple Butter Wrap treatment at the spa at Manoir Lac William in the Centre du Quebec region, about 90 minutes south west of Quebec City.   MORE

A VERY VALLARTA ADVENTURE
The Authentic Mexico Experience
22 FEB 2017: Chef Mikel Alonso is sporting a criss-cross yellow safety harness, as we all are.  A crane lifts the entire table: chef, assistant, servers and twenty-two diners, 45 meters into the air, above the golf course at Casa Velas Boutique Hotel in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico.  The occasion is Gala Vallarta, the annual tourism get-together, and this evening’s event is Dinner in the Sky. MORE

JOHN LENNON SLEPT HERE
Getting into the spirit of Karuizawa
23 JAN 2016: There is a local story that when John Lennon first came to the town of Karuizawa in 1976, he walked into one of the cafés and was immediately asked to leave.  The owners didn’t know who he was.  All they knew was that a long-haired hippy-type guy with an English accent was in their shop and he didn’t blend in with the rest of the patrons.  But later, after amends were made, John and Yoko, with their son Sean in tow, would often bicycle into town, especially to the French Bakery on the main street, to buy croissants and enjoy a coffee or tea. MORE

HEAVENS ABOVE
Experiencing Serenity in Tokyo
12 DEC 2016: My favourite excuse for not visiting Japan, and Tokyo in particular, came from a travel insurance agent who explained that she believed “it’s so crowded you can’t even walk down the street”. It’s true that the city of 9.2 million (13.6 million in the Greater Tokyo Area) has its share of congestion.  The all-direction ‘scramble’ crossing at Shibuya is often used as an example of crowded chaos and the subways at rush-hour can be sardine-can snug.  However treasured moments of serenity can be found throughout the city. MORE

FIVE HUNDRED YEARS OF DISCOVERY
Cuba Provides a Travel Wake Up Call
14 NOV 2016: On October 29, 1492, Christopher Columbus sailed into Gibara Bay in present day Holguin Province.  He spent 12 days in the area where according to legend, he remarked that “This is the most beautiful land that human eyes have ever seen”. MORE

WORLD WITHOUT LIMITS
Accessible Tourism is good business.
17 OCT 2016: “Ubiquitous Serendipity” is the expectation of many global citizens who view travel as essential to their livelihood. But the phrase is a bit of an oxymoron.  If something is ubiquitous, it means that it is ever-present and can be expected to be seen or experienced all the time.  (Mojitos in Cuba are ubiquitous).   MORE

FLAMBOYANT SPIRITS
Carnival Time and more in Antigua
19 SEP 2016: Rosie McMaster has actually slept with hot sauce! As we sat around a kitchen table piled end to end with small bottles of Susie’s Hot Sauce, Rosie laughed and related that over the 26 years she’s operated the company, there have been more than a few occasions when she’s fallen asleep, totally exhausted, only to wake up with bottles of hot sauce all around her in bed.  “See I even sleep with hot sauce!” MORE

SAN ANTONIO DREAMING
Tasting a City on a Mission
22 AUG 2016:  Zach Garza talks about El Sueno, the dream.  As an instructor at the Culinary Institute of America as well as the Executive Chef of Nao Gastropub, both located in the trendy Pearl Brewery district of San Antonio, Zach brags, “I get to do what I love every day and share my dream with the next generation”.  And what he does is an exercise in passion for food and a celebration of his roots as a San Antonio native. MORE
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