The Great Canadian Exploration
On October 7 we had the pleasure of hearing David Rose, founder, owner and operator of Mile Zero Tours talk about the birth and growth of his boutique travel company.
It was just eight years ago that he started up his Victoria-based company, one that drew heavily on insights he garnered from eighteen-years’ experience with a major American tour company.
David focused on the population of the Island and lower mainland. He wished to provide them the experience of a lifetime, one that differed from the average “checklist” type of travel itinerary. The door-to-door pick-up and drop-off was an immensely popular feature, as was the small number of persons registered for each tour. He believed that if he made customers happy by providing them memorable experiences, the company’s success would look after itself.
And successful it was. Mile Zero Tours grew a reputation for small, customized tours that immersed travelers in the cultures they visited. In the first year he was a “one-man show”, operating two tours in spring and two in fall. By the time of the pandemic, Mile Zero Tours boasted 3 fulltime staff, a number of tour directors and a bevy of local “guides” across Canada and beyond. Then COVID struck. David prided himself in returning every deposit made. And – somehow – the company survived.
2021 was a cautious year that focused on close-at-hand destinations, mainly in BC. As for 2022, in David’s own words, “it’s been the Roaring Twenties”. Islanders’ pent-up desire to travel was released, and many tours sold out quickly. Not surprisingly, given the unique circumstances of 2022, there were unexpected ‘adventures’. They dodged hurricanes in Newfoundland and Labrador, not to mention wildfires in the interior of BC. They evaded flood waters. They encountered staffing issues at some hotels and restaurants. David was the voice of hard-earned experience when he advised us to pack a fair amount of flexibility no matter where we go for the next few years. Wise words from an experienced tour master.
David briefly touched on tours planned for the remainder of 2022 and for 2023. They can be broken into three categories: short escapes of 4 to 6 days; in-depth cultural immersions of 7 to sixteen days; and a limited number of international destinations. https://milezerotours.com/
He then took us for a virtual tour of the very popular Maritimes tour. The questions at the end of the presentation from the 34 in attendance were many and varied. Most certainly we emerged from St. Mary’s Hall eager to build travel plans for the coming years.