Melissa Reiter – G Adventures

Making travel during COVID-19 safe and sustainable

During this daunting time of a world-wide pandemic, the idea of traveling to Japan to sleep in a Buddhist temple, surfing in Cosa Rica or taking a river tour in France to snack on wine and cheese may feel like a hallucination of the pre-COVID-19 days.

Melissa Reiter – G Adventures

Melissa Reiter | Director, Legal and Privacy Officer | G Adventures

But while travel is still possible—albeit restricted in certain circumstances—those types of trips will return and may even be improved, says Melissa Reiter, the director of legal affairs and privacy officer for Toronto -based G Adventures.

To resuscitate the industry and alleviate traveler worries, G Adventures created two new initiatives—its Travel with Confidence Program and its new Retravel campaign—to benefit both tourists and to help businesses reliant on tourists rebound economically in a safe, supportive and sustainable manner.

Although Reiter says its challenging to evaluate travel regulations that change daily, she notes that G Adventures is fine-tuning its operations and employing safety protocols, including masks and social distancing, among others.

“There are many ways travel can change your life,” says Reiter. “We’re helping people tap into that transformative power by creating safe, meaningful connections to guide them as they explore the world.”

A different type of experience

G Adventures started in 1990. The goal: helping people explore and engage in the world by creating meaningful experiences.

Through G Adventures, travelers can be connected to communities far off the beaten path in more than 100 countries. They can experience anything from its popular Gorilla Adventure tour developed in partnership with the Jane Goodall Foundation, to a private “bubble” group sailing experience in Greece or Croatia.

Melissa Reiter – G Adventures

Uganda Gorilla | © G Adventures Inc.

With all, Reiter says there’s a concerted effort to be environmentally sustainable and ethical—to protect the welfare of wildlife, children and even the environment with the reduced use of plastics. Also, she notes, the business strives to support local economies through business generated through tourism—specifically having the lion’s share of those dollars remain in the communities.

One way the company does this is through its established partnerships with organizations like Planeterra, a nonprofit which seeks to reduce poverty through community tourism.

“We want to create meaningful small group experiences that help our partners keep tourist dollars in their communities to positively impact the local economies,” she says

Safety first

If you’ve been under a stay-at-home order in your country, the idea of venturing out into the world can be unnerving—one of the reasons why G Adventures responded quickly to a changing world and adapted its programming and policies, Reiter notes.

Melissa Reiter – G Adventures

© G Adventures Inc.

In its Travel with Confidence Program, she says physical distancing and cleaning protocols have been instated. G Adventures was also awarded the World Travel and Tourism Council’s Safe Travels Stamp, which provides travelers with assurance it’s implemented the latest health and hygiene protocols.

“We want to protect people and make them feel safe without taking away the opportunity for them to have the time of their life,” she says.

As a lawyer, Reiter says her legal team has been “amazing” during these challenging times by monitoring rapidly evolving travel guidelines in multiple countries.

Melissa Reiter – G Adventures

Antarctica Danco Island | © G Adventures Inc.

“They have done a remarkable job of responding to the ever-changing demands of the business during a pandemic,” says Reiter, “I’m proud of the strong relationships our team has built—they’ve established themselves as advisors and strategic partners across the global business which has been even more valuable during these challenging times.”

Right at home

G Adventure tourists are not the only ones having a good time. Reiter admits she found her dream job here when she was hired in 2015. A world traveler in her own right, she says it was hard to beat the perk of immersing herself in Japanese culture during her first company trip. After all, she says, the company wanted her to experience its tours first-hand.

Equipped with a degree in English earned from McGill University in 2006 and a JD from Queen’s University earned in 2009, Reiter gained experience working in-house at a private equity firm and at large firms in New York and Toronto.

Melissa Reiter – G Adventures

Tanzania Kilimanjaro Barranco | © G Adventures Inc.

Her areas of practice included corporate and commercial law; securities; mergers and acquisitions; and handling licensing rights in entertainment, fashion, technology, hospitality and sports. Her duties included licensing matters for a brand development, marketing and entertainment company which owns a global portfolio of media, entertainment, sports and lifestyle brands.

Given her love of travel, when she saw the position at G Adventures advertised, she didn’t hesitate to apply.

“I thought it would be a great opportunity to put it all together,” she says. “Now almost six years later I still love every minute of it, despite the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic.”

Once hired, she assessed the company’s risk tolerance profile and developed a risk management program; fine-tuned internal operations; built a legal team from the ground up, leveraged technology to improve internal processes and helped G Adventures grow its brand through acquisitions including TruTravels, Just You and Travelsphere.

Melissa Reiter – G Adventures

Himeji Castle, Japan | © G Adventures Inc.

“There was a lot of opportunity to define my role in organization and I did that by talking to people to see where the needs were and how a legal executive could make a positive impact,” she says.

That legal guidance and re-evaluation of best practices is needed now more than ever, she says, but the future looks bright.

“I’m working on so many projects that will in the long-term help us return to travel better than before,” Reiter says. “We just have to weather this storm.”

Published on: January 27, 2021



Showcase your feature on your website with a custom “As Featured in Vanguard” badge that links directly to your article!

Copy and paste this script into your page coding (ideally right before the closing tag) where you want to display our review banner.


As promised in advance, my feature in Vanguard has increased my visibility within the profession and prompted more than a few people I have not communicated with recently to reconnect. One of the Italian law firms I have used in the past is now in the process of interviewing me for an article on their website and tweeting out the feature story. Activity and the number of people connecting with me on LinkedIn has soared, which is great. The Vanguard writers and editorial staff were great to work with—highly professional and made the effort to make the experience both fun and rewarding (they were also respectful of the time pressures and demands all lawyers face). I was very pleased with the experience and the final outcome. Needless to say, I have been very pleased. All in all working with Vanguard has been a very positive experience which generated good publicity for both Shawcor and myself. My sincere thanks.
– Tim Hutzul, General Counsel, ShawCor Ltd.
I was honored to be the subject of an article. I enjoy reading Vanguard articles and seeing how other attorneys got to their positions and see their jobs. It's also interesting to see how different law firms partner with the subjects of the articles.
– Henry Marquard, in-house counsel, Stanley Consultants Inc.
The piece highlighting my company, Bob Baker Enterprises, Inc., came out fabulous. Our company is in the new and used car sales and service industry. Everyone was great to work with and extremely professional. They produced a high-quality product and have provided expert assistance and guidance post-production of the article.
– Wade Poulson, General Counsel, Bob Baker Enterprises Inc.
It was a great honor to be featured in Vanguard Law. Working with every member of the team, from the initial interview with Erin Clark, through production with Victor Martins, writing the article with Taryn Plumb and creating the final content with Dave Gushee, was a true pleasure. Everyone was very professional, enthusiastic and supportive, and their creative approach and positive attitude clearly came through in the final product.
– Kevin C. Rakowski, Senior Vice President, Deputy General Counsel, Compliance with Radian Group Inc.


Spring I 2024



  • * We’ll never share your email or info with anyone.
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.