Ethiopian Airlines is closing out 2019 by proudly pointing to the recent introduction of an Airbus A350 plane on its Toronto route and preparing to enter 2020 with high hopes for an increased presence on that route and adding another Canadian city to its network.
The A350 now used on the route has a number of pluses, including being more fuel efficient than the aircraft it replaced, and providing a quieter and more comfortable journey, says Samson Arega, Ethiopian Airlines’ country manager, Canada.
Passengers can choose between economy class and Cloud Nine service, the carrier’s business class.
Some inflight staff wear traditional Ethiopian dress and passengers can order traditional Ethiopian food and have Ethiopian wine if they choose.
More lift from Canada
The airline now has five weekly flights between Toronto and Addis Ababa, with eastbound flights being non-stop, while westbound ones have a brief Ireland stop.
Arega notes that his airline has asked Transport Canada for permission to boost Toronto service to daily flights and also add Montreal to its network. The Star Alliance airline is now awaiting Transport Canada’s decision.
These are good times for Ethiopia, which is seeing an expanding economy that’s attracting Canadian business investments, and the country’s leader won this year’s Nobel Peace Prize. The win should strengthen Ethiopia’s growing tourism trade, Arega says.
“We’re going to become a powerhouse,” he adds.
Arega says his homeland has 3,000 years of history, and is home to such cities as Lalibela, famed for its underground churches, carefully sculpted from rock and a reflection of Ethiopia’s long Christian history, and Axum, known for its ancient obelisks and a religious complex Ethiopians believe now houses the Arc of the Covenant.
Rich in history
“Ethiopia is rich in history and rich in culture,” says Arega, noting the country has dozens of languages.
Arega adds that wildlife enthusiasts can seek out creatures found only in Ethiopia, among them the black-maned lion.
Arega reports that his airline carries both business and leisure travellers to Ethiopia and serves some 23 destinations in the country.
Its network also reaches points throughout Africa, and it’s the only airline to provide a non-stop Canada-sub-Saharan Africa link.
“You can have breakfast in Canada, breakfast in Addis Ababa and then lunch elsewhere in Africa,” Arega says, noting both Ethiopian Airlines and Air Canada are Star Alliance members.
The airline also serves Europe, the Middle East and Asia.
One year old Henry is the great-grandchild number eight for Baxter Media founders Edith and the late William (Bill) Henry Baxter. Young Henry’s mom, Caitlin McClung (husband David Thornton), is the daughter of company execs Wendy and David McClung.
The annual Travel Courier Christmas cover is part of a long-standing tradition of introducing someone from the extended Baxter family to our readers. Family means everything to all of us at Baxter’s, today and everyday of the year. Merry Christmas from our family to yours!
Intrepid has announced a strategic investment that will see the company take a 40% stake in RAW Travel, a global leader in tailor-made and self-guided walking adventures.
Australian-owned RAW Travel will remain independent of the multi-brand Intrepid Group, with co-founders Dave and Mel Reynolds continuing to have complete autonomy in the day-to-day operations of the business. Intrepid co-founder Darrell Wade will join the RAW Travel board.
The investment from Intrepid recognizes the growing demand for active adventures from increasingly eco-conscious travellers.
While Intrepid’s investment was motivated by the growing market for low impact adventures, Thornton says it was shared values and history with RAW Travel that sealed the deal.
Like Intrepid, RAW travel is carbon-neutral and last month the Australian-owned company also became a certified B Corp, joining Intrepid and more than 2,800 businesses around the world that are committed to being a force for good.
Frank DeMarinis, CEO for Red Label Vacations and Board Director, has been appointed interim CEO for H.I.S – Merit Travel Inc. and Merit Group Inc.
Phil Sproul, CEO for H.I.S – Merit Travel Inc. and Merit Group Inc. is no longer with the company, which, in a statement said that it is “grateful for Phil’s contributions over the past years and wish him the very best in his future endeavours.
All of Sproul’s direct reports will now report to Frank DeMarinis.
Emily Miedema, CFO, and Dirk Baerts, COO, will continue to lead the day-to-day functions of the organization together with DeMarinis while reporting directly to the Board.
WestJet welcomed members of its Travel Agent Advisory Board (TAAB) to Marival Armony Luxury Resort & Suites in Puerto Vallarta for three days of planning and discussion about the future of WestJet.
The event was attended by 40 TAAB members from across Canada.
Attendees learned more about upcoming WestJet initiatives from speakers including Charles Crowder, vice president of sales & distribution, and Jane Clementino, director of agency sales. Alfredo Tan, chief digital & innovation officer, spoke to the airline’s digital future.
“It has been an exciting year for WestJet, but there is even more to come in 2020,” said Crowder. “The TAAB meeting in Puerto Vallarta was a great opportunity for us to share where we’re going as an airline and get some valuable insight into what our trade partners would like to see from us in the coming year.”
The TAAB members also participated in Corporate and Leisure workshops.
Uniworld Boutique River Cruise Collection has announced that it will set sail in South America for the first time with two new itineraries throughout the Peruvian Amazon aboard the Aria Amazon, set to debut in September 2020.
Ellen Bettridge, president & CEO of Uniworld, said: “We’re beyond thrilled to launch these extraordinary trips in South America, a completely new destination for us. We’ve seen great success with our exotic cruises and know these Peruvian Amazon
itineraries have the perfect combination of luxury, active adventure, and comfort that our guests appreciate. Between the four new Super Ships we’re introducing and now a brand-new destination, we’re anticipating that 2020 will be one of our most exciting years yet and that these next-level experiences will continue to elevate the overall Uniworld experience for our guests.”
The new itineraries include:
For more, sail on over to www.uniworld.com.
ACTA is renewing its partnership with ACCEL PCI to help Canadian travel agencies strengthen their security system and fight cybercrime.
Christian Richard, president of ACCEL PCI, says that: “Despite the amount of personal data handled by travel agencies – credit cards, of course, but also customer information, loyalty cards, sometime passport numbers, addresses, names, birthdays, travel plans, and so on – it is still common to see inadequate security measures to protect the personal information of customers.”
ACCEL PCI is a user-friendly portal that eases PCI DSS compliance and is a Qualified Security Assessor (QSA) for Visa and Mastercard.
It’s important that Canadian travel agencies invest in information security tools such as PCI DSS compliance as recommended by the Canadian Centre for Cybersecurity. When doing so, agencies put in place proper procedures and employee training to protect the privacy and the security of their customer’s personal data and keep their business reputation safe.
Heather Craig-Peddie, VP Advocacy and Member Relations ACTA, said that: “ACTA recognizes that travel agencies need resources to fight cyberattacks – resources that are within reach both financially and in terms of information technology security literary. ACCEL PCI’s online platform was developed with small- and medium-sized businesses in mind.”
The Travel Agent Next Door (TTAND) has been named top producer for 2019 for the Globus Family of brands. The award is presented to Globus agency partners who are recognized as top producers in each BDM territory. Seen here, from l to r, receiving the Top producer award are Shean Carmichael, director, marketing & com-munications, TTAND; Penny Martin, VP, Travel Agent Experience, TTAND; Hektor Kaczuga, BDM, Globus Family of Brands; and Flemming Friisdahl, founder, TTAND.