Re-inventing herself with Today's Woman Traveller

debbie lloyd icelandIt truly is a road better travelled for Debbie Lloyd. The founding owner of one of Canada’s first women’s tour companies, is re-inventing herself, again! This time with the introduction of Today’s Woman Traveller.

Debbie Lloyd has a long and fulfilling career in the travel business. Her passion and first love is people and travel. So how natural it is that she was one of the first in her industry to offer tours specifically for women starting back in 2002.

Her road to success has been filled with challenges, but she’s not a quitter. She’s a true entrepreneur and understands that to continue to prosper she needs to evolve and that’s what she’s doing as she re-brands Canadian Woman Traveller to become Today’s Woman Traveller.

Debbie says, “We continue to connect with women who want to travel, but they either have a partner who doesn’t want to travel or they have trouble convincing friends to travel to the same places they want to go.” Debbie has found that by offering women a group experience, they share the trip with others who have similar travel interests, they never have to eat in restaurants alone and they are guided through places they might not feel comfortable travelling to independently.

Debbie’s passion for travel began over 40 years ago apprenticing in a travel agency. While organizing custom travel arrangements for missionaries all over the world, she gained valuable international experience.

In 1977, along with her husband Tony Rix, she opened The Travel Broker & Cruise Centre as a full service agency. By the early 1980's, she began organizing small group custom tours for clients who were looking for a more in-depth and region-specific travel experience. Those travel itineraries included genres such as Food & Wine, River Boat & Barge Cruising, History & Art Appreciation and Literary & Garden Tours under the tour brand of Rhapsodie Tours.

Always one to lead, not follow, Debbie started offering escorted 'No-Fly' senior coach and cruise tours in 1995. From the beginning, seniors were offered a unique and exciting 'No Fly' cruise concept that included 'Home Pickup' and ‘We take care of the Luggage Handling'. Clients would arrive a few days ahead of a scheduled sailing, giving them the opportunity to explore and discover the vibrant and exciting port cities.

Excited by new tour concepts, Debbie was introduced to a retired Fine Arts professor and in 1999, under the new brand name of Paintbrush Holidays, she began designing small group custom painting tours to Italy, France and Spain. Clients loved learning, painting and travelling with an artist/instructor.

DebbieWhile on tour in 1999, one of her travellers suggested she create a tour brand that would specifically appeal to Canadian Women. The concept was to provide women, whether single, married, widowed or divorced the camaraderie and security to travel and explore the world together. Canadian Woman Traveller was launched in 2002 to provide a safe and enjoyable environment for like-minded travel women to share their experiences and adventures.

In 2010, after the death of her husband and business partner, Debbie had to concentrate on the administration side of business. It was a huge learning curve for her. Debbie says, “Oh how I longed for the old days when I was solely a travel agent and tour leader. Learning the business side was demanding – it truly was sink or swim.”

Today she’s confident in her business skills and is now taking her first love – women’s tours – to the next level with Today’s Woman Traveller. Debbie says, “We believe, that re-branding from Canadian Woman Traveller to Today’s Woman Traveller will encourage a wider range of women to tour. Many times, I’ve received calls from women who would say, “I’m from Australia, can I travel with you?’ Or ‘I’m from England. I’m not Canadian, is it ok if I come on one of your tours?”

Canadian Woman Traveller always included non-Canadian women on tours and now there shouldn’t be any doubt about it. As well, an added benefit of having more non-Canadian passengers is that the women will not only experience the culture of the country they’re travelling to, but will also learn about the culture of the other women along on tour.

Debbie is proud that she’s an independent travel agency. She could have taken the easier route and been consumed by one of the large travel companies – especially after she lost her husband - but she didn’t want to take that easier, well-worn road. “I’ve got an amazing team around me who genuinely care about me and our success. By maintaining our independence, we can create new travel experiences based on direct feedback from our travellers helping us to ensure total client satisfaction.”

2017 is an important year for Today's Woman Traveller and The Travel Broker:  The Travel Broker celebrates 40 years in business and the women's tour division celebrates 15 years! 

Lloyd admits her learning curve isn’t complete. "There is just so much we can do in the travel world – so many new and interesting places and tours to explore. I get to meet and travel with amazing people, go to fabulous places and learn history first-hand. I truly have the best job in the world!

Canadian Woman Traveller in Bali 2012

About Today’s Woman Traveller
Today’s Woman Traveller was created for women who want to travel in small groups on tours to beautiful places. Led by knowledgeable escorts, Today’s Woman Traveller attracts women from Canada and internationally who travel solo or with others. Repeat tours include France, Italy, Africa and Asia but each year new locations are offered. Today’s Woman Traveller is all about women travelling together, enjoying the camaraderie and security of small group tours.

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