Travel is back, experts say, and with COVID-19 restrictions lifted and a new bus company ready to ferry Promotion Tours customers around the country, it’s a hopeful time indeed.
Wayne and Julie Hushagen of St. Albert have been riding the asphalt with Promotion Tours for nearly a decade, enjoying seats in the back of the bus while someone else drives to places like Moose Jaw, Victoria and Minot, South Dakota. But the 77-year-old retired couple, who still drive their motorhome every summer on the go cart circuit, say the bus tours are a relaxing alternative to the do-it-yourself mode of travel. “Promotion Tours plans the route; they take care of you – it’s hassle-free and relaxing,” Wayne said.
The couple, who moved to Alberta after Wayne retired from CN Rail in Saskatchewan, play bridge and garden while at home but admit they have the travel bug much of the year. Although the pandemic has put a damper on trips planned for much of 2020 and 2021, the Hushagens are looking forward to getting back on the bus, meeting friends old and new, and seeing the sights of destinations in Canada and the United States. Unis News that Promotion Tours has acquired a new bus service to transport travelers along this stretch of freeway is a plus, says Wayne.
“It’s so nice on the bus – the tour guides keep you busy, but you can sleep in if you want. Tour guides Sue and Paulette, they’re wonderful and accommodating – we’re always treated so well,” said Wayne. , noting that he agreed with previous buses and drivers (via Golden Arrow). “I didn’t mind that there were no front cup holders, but it will be a good idea to have on the bus now.”
Promotion Tours owner Bryon Steinwand said after 18 months of closure due to COVID-19, he hoped tours would resume and travelers would be ready to hit the road. “Travel is going to come back strong – I can feel it,” Steinwand said of his longtime Sturgeon County-based company. With fewer tours to start, Steinwand says all systems are working for 2022, with online brochures for travelers to peruse, guaranteed tours to old favorites and new destinations, and a new contract with Traxx Coachlines. .
“We made the switch to provide the best possible customer experience,” Steinwand said, adding that Golden Arrow’s industrial customers and other commitments meant he didn’t think Promotion Tours was always a priority. “Traxx is based in Western Canada, and they own other charter companies so that if there’s a problem on the road, there’s a bus available to us. We know our travelers are going to love the new coaches. Our customers are eager to go — they tell us, ‘it’s time.’
Steinwand, his longtime tour directors, and a busload of travelers making the first short run of the Moose Jaw/Temple Gardens/Casino tour have already given the new coaches a big boost. The roomier ride offers more legroom, leather seats for up to 56 people, even on-board Wi-Fi and fold-out trays to hold a cup of coffee or a book.
Moose Jaw (the most popular tour, running almost monthly) and Atlantic Canada’s best-selling tours are back in 2022 (booking well in advance, Steinwand says), as are trips to see the Blue Jays playing in Seattle, a hot air balloon festival in Albuquerque, Deadwood and the Black Hills, Victoria BC, exploring the musical heartland around Nashville and seeing icebergs in Newfoundland are also part of the guaranteed tour lineup this year .
“The interest is there – and for those who are hesitant, we have enhanced safety protocols. We’ve never had a single case of COVID while on tour,” Steinwand said, adding that the company was sending e -blasts and newsletters. to repeat customers, and has complete tour information, frequently asked questions about out-of-province travel insurance, cancellation policy and more, on its website, promotiontours.ca.
“We look forward to seeing the friends we have made on tour again soon,” added Wayne.