Meet Our Experts


John Lelis, BHM | Travel Consultant

Who is John:
John joined the Great Canadian Travel team on April 15, 2019. Previously he was travel manager at Golden Pinnacle in Edmonton and before that he worked for Selloffvacations and Real Canadian Travel Store also in Edmonton. John finished his Bachelor in Hospitality Management on March 28th, but even if everyone thinks he should be running a hotel he decided that he wanted to do what he loves and stay on this side of the travel industry fence. That is the main reason why he came to GTC.

Born in Guinea-Bissau, then a Portuguese colony, he also lived in Cape Verde for a short while and then he moved to his family’s homeland, Lisbon, Portugal. There he took the Tourism Technical course at college and he has been either selling travel or managing hotel front desks since 1989. In 2009 he came to Canada because he fell in love with a Canadian girl and he never looked back. They got married in 2010 and they have a small dog called Puggy.

They have travelled often: Mexico, Cancun, Isla Mujeres and Puerto Vallarta; Western and Eastern Caribbean cruises; European cruises, Civitavecchia to Barcelona and back; within Canada, Vancouver, Toronto and the Rockies and they still have a huge bucket list of places to go, mainly in the Caribbean and the Bahamas.

What are John’s TOP 5 travel experiences:

  • Inter-Rail in Europe in 1992, starting in Lisbon, passing through all the countries of Western Europe until arriving in Eastern Europe: Barcelona, Spain; Marseille, France; Zurich, Switzerland; Milan, Italy; Vienna, Austria; Prague, Czech Republic and Budapest, Hungary. It was an amazing experience. I went solo but on my way back had made so many friends in so many different place. I still have contact with many of them to this day.
  • Spanish Pyrenees (1985, 2000 and 2007), visiting my grandmother’s hometown, a small village in a valley surrounded by the majestic mountains that separate Spain from France, the heart of Navarre, absolutely breathtaking!
  • Las Vegas in 2009. For a Portuguese kid, looking at the Vegas Strip for the first time was a feeling of almost having to pinch myself to make sure I wasn’t dreaming. Still a favourite of mine.
  • Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, a life-long dream, something I never thought would happen: to dive into the Pacific Ocean waters with the Sierra Madre mountains surrounding us, the whale spotting tour and pretty much everything we did there. Can’t wait to go back!
  • Isla Mujeres, Cancun, Mexico, where my wife and I finally got a “proper wedding” on the beach with only the two of us. We’ve been married since 2010, but the whole beach wedding was magical and it remains the best experience of my life.

What is John’s closing comment?
Where do you want to go today?

New from John Lelis, BHM

Travel With a Purpose

November 08, 2019 | John Lelis


Travel With a Purpose is the new trend in travel that is changing the industry and bringing people together. Besides a holiday or a well-deserved rest, when was the last time you traveled and asked yourself why? Why that destination, why that route, why those activities on the road?

Traveling is representative of life. If you listen to your inner voice and follow your heart, you will find the places that speak out to you, that reach out and touch you, and which make you feel like you’re “home”. Find something meaningful to you that can motivate you to book a ticket and take that trip. There are so many ways you can travel with a purpose. The important thing is that it has purpose for YOU. If it’s enjoyable or brings meaning to you, it will be a good motivation to travel.


Read More >

All-inclusive Addict

September 12, 2019 | John Lelis

I am an all-inclusive addict, I confess! I tried an all-inclusive for the first time in 2014 and I have not been able to quit. What makes it even worse is that I am a travel consultant and I keep receiving news almost every day about new resorts opening, new locations, more Islands and beaches and properties to add to my bucket list. It almost makes me sad that I don’t think I’ll live enough to visit all the ones I want to visit. I am so addicted that when asked a suggestion for this week’s newsletter I immediately responded I wanted an all-inclusive themed one, so that’s why you’re reading this (and thank you for reading it, by the way).

“Why all-inclusive?”, is usually the question people pose to me.

Read More >

Portugal is #1 best tourist destination!

July 31, 2019 | John Lelis

Our latest newsletter has Portugal as the featured destination. When asked to write a blog to feature in it, I thought it would be easy! After all, I am Portuguese and lived there until I was 39 before moving to Canada. But in fact, it isn’t that easy! There is so much to tell and so many stories to choose from that I found myself wondering where to start.

I guess a great way to start would be by saying that Portugal has been voted the best destination in the world for two years in a row in the World Travel Awards, the “Oscars of world tourism”. Everyone should go there! 

Portugal is the European country with oldest borders (I didn’t say oldest country in Europe, those are different things) and it has an amazing coast line that extends for 1.794 km (1115 mi). Of course, the main attraction must be the amazing beaches and, believe me, some of them are amazing. But a country with almost 900 years of history has, in fact, much more to offer. Its rich culture results from many influences including Roman, Celtic, Lusitanian, Phoenician,Germanic, Visigoth, Viking, Sephardic Jewish, and Moorish. All of these influences are still visible from the north to the south in many ways, even if the Roman and Moorish are the most visible, being also the most recent.









Visiting Portugal has the allure of a 2 in 1 Holiday. You may opt for spending your time visiting the historic centers of Lisbon or Porto, the country’s two main cities. Both have contrasts of the modern and comfortable cosmopolitan places they are, while keeping the old traces and vestiges that built their histories and are still preserved physically ans well as ingrained in the peoples’ culture.

If you are a sun lover and a holiday without beach, sun and amazing drinks isn’t a holiday for you, Portugal is also the place you want to be! From the northern point near Spain, going down to the most southern point of Europe; Sagres (in Algarve) bathed by the Atlanctic Ocean and then East towards Spain, bathed by the Mediterranean sea; with beaches, amazing fish, prize winning beers, typical dishes and bread, Portugal has it all. And, believe me, we the Portuguese love to enjoy it!

There’s so much more to tell, but I hope to have at least made you think about going to Portugal for holidays. If you would like me to assist you in creating an unforgettable Portuguese experience, please don’t hesitate to contact me by email at

Isla Mujeres, Cancun’s Hidden Paradise

May 03, 2019 | John Lelis

I must confess, being new here at the agency and when asked for a blog entry I immediately intended on writing about my vow renewal (wedding) in Isla Mujeres. Meanwhile Nicole was faster than me and wrote about her beautiful experience getting married in California and I was in doubt if it would be the right choice to write about a wedding theme again, but as both experiences are so different and the locations and ceremony types so apart, I decided to keep my original plan. As such, let’s go.


Read More >