Pictured above: Stéphanie Bishop and Chris Jones of the Globus family of brands gave an update on Globus brands and their response to coronavirus. The event was held at Toronto’s Hockey Hall of Fame, where Bishop and Jones posed with the Residence Stanley Cup.
The Canadian managing director for the Globus family of brands is calling on those in the travel industry to remain calm as the coronavirus continues to cut an often chaotic swathe through much of the international travel scene.
Stéphanie Bishop told a Toronto gathering last week that “we can’t take anything lightly” but noted the travel industry has had to contend with many crises in the past few decades.
“We’ve been through many challenging times (that put a damper on international travel)…,” she said, citing the likes of the Gulf War, Sept. 11 attacks and SARS.
“Let calm prevail.”
Bishop’s plea comes as ACTA released a members survey that showed agents in this country report many jittery travellers wonder if they should stay home because of coronavirus.
“The results show that consumers are concerned not just about Asia but in particular about cruising and about travel in general,” ACTA reported. 56% of surveyed agents reported clients that are already booked for future travel were looking for reassurance about whether to travel, while 27% reported clients wanted to cancel, and about 17% reported clients wanted to postpone their travel or change the date or destination. Asia cruises and Asia river cruises topped the list of what people were wanting to cancel or change, followed by Caribbean cruises, with Europe bookings close behind. There were a large number of requests to change or cancel Caribbean and Mexico trips as well. Smaller numbers of requests to cancel or change US destinations were also reported. 87% said Asian cruises are slower than normal and 85% said the same holds true of Asian river cruises. 58% of agents reported
Europe cruise sales have slowed and 47% said that’s also true of Caribbean future cruise sales. On the flip side, over 50% said that future bookings were normal for the Caribbean, Mexico, the US, Central and South America, and non-cruise Europe holidays.
The survey had 401 respondents from across Canada.
Coronavirus’ rapid spread from China to many other parts of the world has led to airlines cancelling some routes, some cruise passengers being quarantined on idled ships in Asia, while another cruise ship was denied docking rights in some Caribbean ports over concerns that passengers may have had the virus, the long-running ITB travel show in Berlin being cancelled and some governments restricting travel, with the World Health Organization stating the latter move will do little to stop the spread of the virus.
Bishop said the travel industry tends to quickly feel the impact when international crises surface but also tends to rebound faster than most industries,.
The Globus brands have suspended their programs to China through April, after which they will be reassessed.
Bishop said her company is continually monitoring the situation and safety of its passengers remains paramount.
Among countries now having to grapple with coronavirus is Italy, one of Globus’ top-selling destinations.
Bishop said her company isn’t seeing a “huge amount of cancellations” but recognizes that new bookings might slow because of coronavirus.
But Chris Jones, the Globus Family of Brands’ director of marketing, said those wary about visiting a country that has the virus can opt for a part of the world that hasn’t seen it surface, such as Central America, which is seeing “some really good traction.”
Globus “sells the world,” Jones noted.
Meanwhile, Intrepid Travel spokeswoman Nicole Powell said that coronavirus has put a dent in the company’s Asia bookings and “as the crisis continues it will continue to affect sales.”
Intrepid has suspended its China program through March, after which it will be reassessed.
However, Powell said Intrepid is seeing more South America and Europe bookings.
With the newest member of the WestJet fleet – a 787 Dreamliner – as the backdrop, the airline recently celebrated its top travel partners at its YYZ Hangar.
“We would like to congratulate this year’s Travel Partner Awards winners and thank all our agency partners for their ongoing support,” said Chuck Crowder, WestJet Vice-President, Sales, Distribution and Contact Centres. “We’re proud to recognize their hard work and dedication, as we work together in support of WestJet’s global growth.”
Taking home the hardware for Top Revenue Growth, WestJet Airlines 2019, were: Platinum partner: BCD Travel; Gold partner: Egencia; Silver partner: YYZ Travel Group; Teal Plus partner: Costco Travel Canada; Specialty Sales partner: Agencia Global; and OTA partner: Hopper.
The Top Revenue Growth, WestJet Vacations 2019 went to: Platinum partner: Red Label Vacations; Gold partner: Alberta Motor Association; Silver partner: The Travel Agent Next Door; and Teal Plus partner: TravelOnly.
Finally, Top Premium Air Sales, WestJet Airlines 2019 were awarded to: Platinum partner: American Express Global Business Travel; Gold partner: Merit Travel Group; Silver partner: TierOne Travel; Teal Plus partner: Elite Travel Management; Specialty Sales partner: TravelBrands; and OTA partner: Expedia.
Following the awards presentation, the 300 attendees were invited on board to discover the new aircraft, the fourth 787 Dreamliner in the fleet, firsthand.