with Nathalie Tanious, Chief Operating Officer at TravelBrands

Meet Nathalie Tanious, newly-minted Chief Operating Officer at TravelBrands. If enthusiasm is a job requisite, it’s no surprise she’s perfect for this position!

Where were you born? In Montreal. I’ve lived here all my life.

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How long have you been in the business? That’s a scary question!  32 years this year. I started part time in the reservations department at Jet Vacances when I was studying tourism. 

How many people work for you? I haven’t counted (laughs). A few! 

What’s the best part of the job – so far? Seeing how many people want to support me, externally but especially internally. Such nice, kind words.

What did you want to be as a kid? A lawyer. But travel came along — I’ve always wanted to discover the world. How many countries so far? About 50.

What’s the scariest thing you’ve ever done? I am terrified, terrified of heights. I did the London Eye with a friend once and thought I would pass out. 

Any guilty pleasures? Chocolate. I absolutely love love love chocolate and adore baking.  It’s my pastime, my stress reliever.  

What’s your favourite airline? I can’t answer that question!

What’s on your device? Books, always. I’m a huge reader.  I’ll read anything under the sun (except politics). Love to shop with Amazon.  And of course, Condé Nast Travel!

What do people not know about you?  That I wanted to be an opera singer. 

Any hobbies or interests? I like to make jewellery.

When were you happiest? When I had my girls, who are now 20 and 22.

What would you tell your 20-year-old self? “Do what makes you happy.” I tell my daughters that all the time.

Who do you most admire in the industry? The DeMarinis brothers – their entrepreneurship has lead us to such great heights!

What skill or talent do you admire in someone? Anyone who can do anything involving heights — ziplining, bungee jumping, all that. 

What’s at the top of your bucket list? I want to visit every single Wonder of the World. 

Anything you won’t eat? Liver. Ew!

What keeps you awake at night? What’s going on in the world. 

How do you spend your frequent flyer points? Travel. Or gift cards.

What is your greatest extravagance? Designer handbag.  

Just one? We’ll leave it at that! (laughs)

How do you stay fit when you travel? Walk.

If you could change one thing about the industry what would it be? I wish we could all be more optimistic about the future. Wholesale and retail are still very viable, even though their demise has been predicted for 25 years.

If you could sit next to anyone on a long-haul flight, who would it be? Barack Obama. I’d have so many questions for him.

Do you have a favourite charity? Two: Sick Kids in Toronto, and Dans la Rue, for homeless teens.

What will be the biggest challenge for the industry in the next 12 months? There’s a lot of capacity in the industry, whether it’s cruise or land. Just making sure we don’t dilute the market. 

What do you hope to be doing in 10 years? Still doing what I’m doing, I love it. And I’ve loved it since day one! 

Travellers waiting at the Canada - U.S. Border. Photo courtesy of the Houlton Pioneer Times.
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