Gayle Morris fashions career from her passion for travel
Gayle Morris credits her parents with infecting her with the travel bug.
Today, her job is to spread that adventurous affliction to people in other parts of Canada, the U.S. and the rest of the world.
Morris is the director of sales for Tourism Richmond, and said it was her father’s love for travel that enabled her to see much of the world as she was growing up, and scratch off many of the items on her bucket list.
He believed in living life to the fullest, and that the world was your oyster, she said. He owned a Lower Mainland taxi cab company before getting into real estate, and loved meeting people from all walks of life.
“My love for being a story teller started with him,” Morris said, adding that he died too young, at the age of 58.
“He was a great guy.”
She’s fashioned that passion for people and places into a career where she markets the very place she calls home: Richmond.
“We are so blessed because of our location,” Morris said of Richmond’s proximity to Vancouver and the Vancouver International Airport, which serves as a North American gateway to Asia, including China, Japan and Korea.
Morris has become an Asia Pacific specialist in opening relationships with tour operators in Mainland China, Taiwan and Hong Kong, and she’s part of a team—comprising the airport, local hotel operators and other local vendors—that has made some strong inroads in bringing more tourists to the Lower Mainland and specifically Richmond.
Richmond has experienced a 20 per cent year-over-year increase in visitations to Richmond, and Morris said that growth is just the tip of the iceberg. She believes it’s achievable to see that annual growth level sustained for the next decade.
And if that comes to pass, that translates into a product development opportunity.
The Richmond Night Market, the Richmond Olympic Oval Museum and the luxury boutique retail outlet currently being built on Sea Island are all products that will bring in visitors.
But then there’s those who think outside the traditional.
One tourist group came from Mainland China, rented local Harley Davidson motorcycles, and rode all the way to the Okanagan.
It’s this type of experiential visit—rather than just jumping on and off a bus that rolls through the city—that Tourism Richmond is looking to encourage.
Experiences of the type that created a lifetime of cherished memories for Morris.