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Today we honour our service members in the travel industry

November 11 is a day that blends spirited celebration with somber commemoration as Canadians and Americans honour those who have served and continue to serve in the armed forces. This Remembrance Day (or Veterans Day in the United States) Nexion Travel Group, the industry’s leading host agency for independent travel professionals, is putting the spotlight on veterans in the travel industry, and the unique talents and insights they bring to this already diverse and dynamic field.

Since its inception in 2018, Nexion’s Veterans in Travel scholarship program has welcomed nearly 200 members. This program helps connect veterans with the education and resources they need to become independent travel professionals.

Veterans in Travel offers a 50% scholarship to the award-winning Travel Leaders of Tomorrow Virtual Campus, which includes a rigorous curriculum, study group cohort, lectures by faculty and industry leaders, and assistance with a business plan. After completing the Virtual Campus, Nexion Veterans in Travel Participants are able to join Nexion Travel Group without paying an activation fee, and have the option of being mentored by a fellow veteran.

“Veterans are an untapped resource in the travel industry,” said Jackie Friedman, CTC, CTIE, President of Nexion Travel Group. “They often have traveled the world through their experiences in the armed forces, and have gained valuable skills in their military careers. They bring commitment, intelligence, and determination to their businesses, and make excellent travel advisors.”

One such person is Manuela Henning, a U.S. Air Force veteran who served just shy of 30 years before going into business and starting her own travel agency, Vivi’s Voyages. For her, it was a natural transition.

“Veterans are well suited for a career in the travel industry,” says Henning. “We can lean on our own experiences, as most of us have either lived in or were deployed to far-off places during our military careers. We also have access to a vast network of other fellow veterans, giving us a great place to start building our own client base. Nexion’s Veterans in Travel program is a great entryway into the field, and so far, my experience has been nothing short of amazing. I’ve gotten the chance to meet other veterans in the program, and because of this common experience we all share, we’ve been able to forge what I’m sure will be long-lasting relationships. We’ve been able to rely on one another throughout the training and beyond, not unlike when we were in the service.”

Henning was recognized with Nexion’s Rising Star award this year for the intense dedication she has shown to her business, consistently selling travel while also committing to the hard work of being a parent.

Nexion Veterans in Travel is also available to spouses of active-duty military members. Due to the nature of military life, spouses often find themselves moving frequently, and often with short notice. Becoming a travel advisor is a great option for a portable and lucrative career that can be done from anywhere.

“Military spouses are an incredibly important part of a service member’s life,” Friedman commented. “Their support at home enables their military spouse to concentrate on the all-encompassing, often dangerous work they are doing. It is our privilege to offer a path to business ownership through this program. Military spouses know what it means to be flexible and serve others—being a travel advisor is a natural fit for them.”

As with any entrepreneurial venture, myriad challenges await those brave individuals making the change from servicemember to small business owner, but the skills and relationships acquired through years of service, combined with an insatiable appetite for exploration and adventure, are often a winning formula for success in the travel industry. Or, as Henning puts it:

“Some bonds can never be broken; something every veteran knows, and carries with them into their next chapter in life. For me, that’s also true among veterans in travel.”

 Mike