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After nearly 50 years, TrekAmerica rides into the sunset

September 9, 2020 Headline News No Comments Email Email

For nearly half a century, the name brought to mind small groups of travellers setting out to see the real Americas – but now the famous TrekAmerica brand is set to ride into the sunset, to be seen no more.

TrekAmerica suited people seeking an alternative way to travel across the USA and to venture into South America. It offered fun road trips, singles holidays and adventure holidays.

Shock news of the demise of the TrekAmerica brand came yesterday, with an announcement that the Travelopia Adventure Division “is to streamline its UK operations, with a reduction in the number of permanent roles, due to the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic”.

TrekAmerica is an evocative name in Australia and its website broke the news of its departure against an appropriate backdrop – a sunset scene in the Old West.

Industry veteran Mark Sheehan, one of the best-known promoters of tourism to the USA in this country, spent many years on the road with TrekAmerica and remembered it fondly yesterday.

“It breaks my heart,” he said. “I was there on day one. That’s really what brought us out to Australia – and a whole bunch of other great things happened. A marvellous bunch of people have gone down the tube, but they’re not forgotten.”

 

Photo Credit: Mark Sheehan

A statement from Travelopia said: “The UK arm of the Travelopia Adventure division includes the Exodus Travels, Headwater and TrekAmerica brands, and operates from its headquarters based in Surbiton and Northwich. An employee consultation began on August 26th, with proposed removal of around 25% of Head Office roles in the UK. Similar reorganisation processes were also undertaken in the division’s overseas offices.”

Managing Director Sam Seward said: “We are living in very challenging times, with the global pandemic affecting everyone in a profound way. We have seen our business move from record-breaking revenue figures in January to the worst year in our 46-year history. It has been a horrible time for the entire team, who have worked tirelessly to put our customers’ safety and happiness first.

“We have already implemented a range of measures to protect jobs as far as possible, however, due to the severity of the impact of the pandemic on our ability to operate our trips, as well as a significant reduction in forward bookings, it is with deep regret that we must take steps to reduce the size of our team.

“We have a robust recovery plan for the year ahead, but for a values-driven company like ours that lays its foundations in happiness, ambition and acting responsibly, it is incredibly difficult to accept that a number of our hard-working, talented team will be leaving us,” Seward said.

Photo Credit: Mark Sheehan

“I would like to offer my heartfelt thanks to my team for their dedication and professionalism throughout what has been an immensely challenging set of circumstances. Their loyalty, passion and skills will make them an asset to any employer in any sector, though we hope to be in a position to re-employ our people as and when the market recovers.”

The immediate closure of the TrekAmerica brand has also been announced along with the closure of sister-brand and DMC, American Adventures headquartered in Santa Rosa, California.

“Closing the TrekAmerica brand after nearly 50 years of fabulous USA adventure has been a very difficult decision. The falling demand for of destination USA and rising costs had already weakened passenger volumes significantly prior to the pandemic and our need to now focus on our core brands is pivotal”.

The APAC Travelopia office, based in Melbourne, remains open and continues supporting agent and customer bookings for the Exodus Travels and Headwater brands. Any agents who have clients with a TrekAmerica booking (or refund credit note) will be contacted in due course by the reservations team about a full refund or alternative trip with sister company Exodus Travels.

The business had previously already streamlined some operations, with the Grand American Adventures (GAA) brand being withdrawn earlier this year. The award-winning tours to the USA and Canada previously run under the GAA brand are now available under the Exodus Travels brand.

Edited by Peter Needham

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