Pictured above: Sarain Fox; Nadine Sykora; Patricia Schultz; Ami Vitale; Roxanne Joyal.
Moving beyond International Women’s Day, The Travel Corporation (TTC) held two events in Toronto last week with a lineup of five female travel industry trailblazers in celebration of International Women’s Week.
Although the Toronto event marked the first time the organization staged a panel discussion coinciding with the annual celebration, women have long been at the forefront of its business across brands like Contiki, Trafalgar and Insight Vacations.
In fact, Marie Anne MacRae, Global VP, Strategic Partnerships, announced that 71% of TTC staff are female and 50% are at the executive level, including Beatrice Tollman, president and founder of the Red Carnation Hotel Collection.
Featuring an impressive roster of local and international talent, the panellists were honourary Contiki ambassador and Canadian travel vlogger Nadine Sykora, who has embarked on 18 Contiki trips to date; Roxanne Joyal, the CEO of ME to WE; National Geographic Photographer Ami Vitale, who recently came on board as the “Wildlife” Ambassador for The TreadRight Foundation; the author of the #1 New York Times bestselling book, 1,000 Places To See Before You Die, Patricia Schultz, Global Brand Ambassador for Trafalgar; and Sarain Fox, TreadRight’s “People” Ambassador and Storyteller and star of its recently released Make Travel Matter video.
Despite the current situation surrounding COVID-19, Trafalgar and Schultz are moving ahead with a one-off 12-day Italy and Sicily journey in July.
“This is very unprecedented, and no one has a crystal ball, but I also know that as travellers there’s not much that holds us back,” said Schultz. “There’s a constant realization that things change, and everything passes, and usually for the better. Maybe we’ll have a better appreciation for what we can visit, and how much we can travel, and sooner rather than later.”
Citing civil wars, mudslides, fires, unexpected developments, and people’s health, the author’s key message was on creating a sense of urgency for people not to postpone their travel plans.
“Who would have ever thought that Notre Dame would no longer be some place you could go in and light a candle the next time you were in Paris?” she asked. “There’s no guarantee ever, the only guarantee we have is that travel should be part of our lives.”
Meanwhile, Vitale, who has travelled to more than 100 countries and her photograph of the last male northern white rhinoceros on earth was voted by National Geographic readers as the top photograph of the decade, will soon be travelling with the TreadRight team to capture the wildlife conservation work being done at Bushman’s Kloof Wilderness Reserve in South Africa and the Xigera Safari Lodge in Botswana’s Okavango Delta, set to open June.
“I am thrilled to be TreadRight’s new “Wildlife” Ambassador, as their conservation projects are aligned with my personal values, and I am delighted to be able to share some of these upcoming inspirational TreadRight stories to further generate awareness and understanding,” she said. “We really are in a race to save the planet, and in understanding, we can enjoy its extraordinary beauty, but we are also responsible for taking care of it.”
In order to offer travellers more flexibility and allow them to book their next trip with peace of mind, Transat is offering their travellers the possibility of changing their travel dates, destination or hotel at no charge.
This policy applies to new bookings for flights on all routes offered by Air Transat and for South packages made between March 4-31 for travel between now and Oct. 31.
As a result, it will be possible for travellers to change their booking up to 24 hours before departure. Note that travel must be completed within 12 months of the original travel date and that if the price for the new booking is higher, customers must pay the difference.
The policy excludes group bookings. Cancellation requests are subject to the terms and conditions.
To learn more, visit: www.transat.com/peaceofmind.
Air Canada is extending the suspension of its flights between Canada and Beijing and Shanghai until April 10.
Services to Beijing and Shanghai were initially suspended for the month of February following the Government of Canada’s Jan. 29 advisory discouraging non-essential travel to China.
Air Canada says it will continue to monitor this evolving situation closely in consultation with the Public Health Agency of Canada, Transport Canada and Global Affairs and will adjust its schedule as appropriate.
Air Canada operates direct flights to Beijing and Shanghai from Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver.
The airline is also extending the suspension of its daily non-stop Toronto-Hong Kong flights until April 30, reflecting reduced market demand. The airline’s daily, non-stop Vancouver-Hong Kong flights will accommodate customers originally booked on its Toronto-Hong Kong flights.
Air Canada normally operates 14 weekly flights to Hong Kong, seven from Toronto and seven from Vancouver.
Flights to and from Taipei remain unaffected.
Air Canada Vacations (ACV) is offering its CareFlex travel protection free of charge for the month of March, giving agents’ clients more freedom to travel.
According to ACV officials, travellers can book with confidence knowing that its comprehensive travel protection plan allows them to change their booking, transfer their package, and cancel with an in-house travel credit and/or a partial refund up to three days before departure.
Free CareFlex travel protection is available for select destinations and resorts in Las Vegas, Mexico and the Caribbean, Hawaii, and Europe between March 5-31 for travel between now and April 30. When making bookings online, travel agents will need to “select” CareFlex at $0 during the booking flow.
When booking groups with Air Canada Vacations travellers can also take advantage of a reduced deposit of only $50 per person between March 5-31.
TravelBrands is making cruise bookings a little more worry-free with its new price match policy. Now, TravelBrands will price match any Canadian tour operator.
“Our goal is to provide the best travel options possible for both agents and their clients,” says Nathalie Tanious, COO, TravelBrands. “By offering this new automatic price match policy, it is just another way to get the best deals possible for a cruise getaway. The steps to claim the price match are so simple, and our team will automatically adjust the booking.”
To take advantage of this policy, agents can reserve their clients’ cruise bookings with TravelBrands and send the price match request along with their details. Requests must be made within the same day. The price match will be based on cruise fare only and excludes any added values or amenity offers.
TravelBrands Cruises, by Encore Cruises offers products and services that help travel agents complete the ultimate cruise vacation for their clients. With a dedicated team of cruise specialists, TravelBrands enjoys close partnerships with almost all of the major cruise lines.
Agents can make bookings at www.travelbrandsaccess.com.
Agents can claim their clients’ cruise price match by e-mailing [email protected].