Covid-19 regulations forced Signature Travel Network to cancel its regional meetings this spring, but that has not deterred president and CEO Alex Sharpe, who this month will begin traveling to meet with 185 agency owners over the next two months.

Over the course of two months, Sharpe's travels -- 26 stops, 22,000 air miles, 1,000 driving miles, two trains and 21 flights -- will see him visiting 75% of Signature's membership.

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"While we are disappointed to cancel our larger regional gatherings, I am happy that vaccine distribution and Covid regulations have been relaxed sufficiently to allow me to meet in person with so many members in small groups," Sharpe said in a statement. "Virtual meetings have allowed us all to stay in touch over the past year, but nothing replaces meeting in person."

Alex Sharpe
Alex Sharpe

Sharpe's travel comes at a time when business is booming for the network.

The CEO said bookings with luxury and premium cruise lines and luxury tour operators saw "triple-digit growth" in February 2021 compared with February 2019, evidence of pent-up demand for travel. It has exceeded Signature's optimistic estimates, he said.

In recent weeks, for example, virtual consumer events resulted in more than $60 million in sales. One, a Regent Seven Seas Cruises event, generated $17 million.

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"The value of a travel advisor was never more evident to the traveling public than during Covid's lockdowns and now confusing reopenings," Sharpe said. "Our members are busy helping their customers navigate the new landscape and plan the post-lockdown trips of their dreams."

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