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Week of October 17, 2016



T R AV E L T R A D E P U B L I C AT I O N S I N C E 1 9 6 8

To own or not to own, that is airports’ question TED DAVIS

Among the many factors that influence the higher cost of airfares in Canada is the ownership status of the nation’s airports. There is still no word from federal transportation authorities on what the future holds for Canadian airports in terms of ownership, but there is plenty of speculation and opinion on where this issue is heading. While some voices are advocating for full private sector ownership, other stakeholders express misgivings with this strategy, and support not-for-profit ownership model by airport authorities. One thing that everyone seems to agree on is that careful consideration of business model alternatives is necessary – and that changes are needed to address high airfares. Canada is number 70 out of 75 of the most expensive nations for airfares in terms of the average cost to fly 100 km, at US$38.71, according to . The US is number 17 on the list. Rentals paid by airport authorities to the federal government are partially reflected in these airfares, as airlines seek to recoup fees paid to airports. Airports are seeking

ways to reel these rental rates in. But “we have to look at all the airport models around the world and avoid any pitfalls that they have experienced,” says Christiane Beaulieu, VP communications and public affairs at Aéroports de Montréal. She recognizes, for instance, that fully owned, privatized airports are responsible to shareholders and must consider posting profits as a priority – potentially even ahead of customer service. fewer services, higher costs possible Mark Laroche, president and CEO of the Ottawa International Airport Authority, told the Toronto Star that the “unintended consequence” of turning airports over to for-profit enterprises would likely be higher fees. “The cost of flying in Canada See AIRPORTS page 6

For Canadians, the tulip is a symbol of friendship, witnessed, in particular, by our providing refuge to the Dutch Royal family during the Second World War. Vesey’s Bulbs of Prince Edward Island is providing bulbs for the iconic flower to 150 communities across the country to help celebrate Canada’s 150 th birthday. See Pg. 3 for the full story.

Flower power:

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Autumn fares falling faster than leaves reveals fall value destinations for Canadians If your clients missed out on 2016’s summer airfare bargains, don’t fret. There’s more to come. While summer fares were the lowest in recent years, autumn airfares are dropping even lower – a further 36% less in the case of London and more than 30% less to Copenhagen and Lisbon, two of Europe’s most appealing cities. has assembled a list of 10 value destinations for Canadian travellers to stretch their vacation season with a lineup of getaways where average airfares this fall are at least 25% less than they were in July and August. Here are some of the best bets for autumn adventures: • London, UK (average airfare down 36%) – London is one of those destinations that has something for everyone, whether travelling solo, as a couple, with small children or with teens who seem to get bored every 20 minutes. Museums and galleries abound, many of which are even free to explore, like the National Gallery and Tate Modern. London is filled with parks and gardens, including Hyde Park, known as one of the best city parks in the world, and the 410-acre Regent’s Park, with its open-air theatre and boating lake. Also ideal for foodies, London boasts a whopping 6,000-plus restaurants, 65 of which are Michelin-starred. The diverse city is also home to many historical attractions, including four World Heritage Sites.

Lovely Lisbon is a bargain this fall.

• Lisbon, Portugal (average airfare down 35%) – Eclectic Lisbon is a destination that offers historic monuments, quaint neighbourhoods, parks and beaches, lively nightlife, amazing wine and fresh seafood. Recently named the third-most hospitable city in the world by TripAdvisor and one of the coolest cities in Europe by CNN, Lisbon is piquing the interest of more and more travellers excited to get to know its many charms. • Philadelphia, Penn. (average airfare down 33%) – The City of Brotherly Love was the first World Heritage City in the US and offers a wide range of activities for the curious traveller looking for a good spot for a city break. In addition to tucking into an authentic Philly cheesesteak, visitors will want to get out for a walk, which is the easiest way to get around and the best way to get to know Philadelphia’s many neighbourhoods. From the cobblestone streets of Old City, to the world-class museums and historic houses of Logan Square, to the growing foodie scene of East Passyunk, there’s something for everyone among Philly’s many vibrant hoods. • Gander, Nfld. (average airfare down 33%) – The most easterly edge of North America, Newfoundland and Labrador is one of the most diverse destinations in Canada. And with bargain autumn fares to both Deer Lake (down 26%) and Gander, now is the time to visit. The province’s vast size leaves plenty of room for natural wonders – including

Now is the time to visit London.

three national parks, 29,000 km of coastline, 100,000-year-old icebergs and abundant wildlife, including 22 species of whale and more than 120,000 moose. Its cultural wonders – like the thriving music and performing arts scene – will round out your visit, whether you go for a weekend or a month. • Madrid, Spain (average airfare down 33%) – Madrid is a sprawling city with something interesting to see or do hiding around nearly every corner. Anyone looking for an art and culture fi x should check out the area known as Madrid’s Golden Triangle of Art, composed mainly of the Museo del Prado, Centro de Arte Reina Sofía and Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza. And, of course, travellers will need to make time to enjoy the wide selection of tapas – small local snacks served with a glass of wine or beer – found at many bars and restaurants across the city. All that delicious food can be worked off with some shopping in one of Madrid’s many retail areas, or at the city’s largest park, Casa de Campo, which is five times bigger than New York’s Central Park. The fall travel value destinations rounding out the Cheapflights is Copenhagen, Denmark (average airfare down 33%); Washington, D.C., (average airfare down 30%); Québec City (average airfare down 30%); Phoenix, Az. (average airfare down 28%); and Myrtle Beach, S.C. (average airfare down 27%). For the complete list of 10 value destinations for Canadian travellers to stretch their vacation season, visit: . [Founded in 1996, Cheapflights is a leading global flight comparison and deals publishing platform dedicated to taking the complexity out of finding the best value flights through the application of innovative, intuitive technologies. Its motto is “Smart search. Made simple.”]


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TIAC, partner keen to go green The Tourism Industry Association of Canada (TIAC) and Green Tourism are partnering to help Canadian tourism companies to reduce their impact on the environment. Through complimentary webinars, white papers, how-to guides and checklists, Green Tourism will help TIAC grow and develop Canada’s tourism sector in a way that helps to meet the growing traveller demand for responsible business, while working to reduce the industry’s environmental and carbon footprint. Angela Nagy, CEO of

GreenStep Solutions, the delivery agent for the Green Tourism program in Canada, said: “Globally, tourism represents about 2% of all greenhouse gas emissions. There are huge opportunities for Canadian tourism businesses to minimize their impacts, while also reducing their costs and attracting more guests, making the industry more resilient in today’s competitive market.” Charlotte Bell, president and CEO of TIAC, observed: “TIAC is pleased to offer its members additional tools to enhance their sustainability efforts

through our partnership with Green Tourism. We hope these tools and best practices will help Canada’s tourism industry increase their sustainability programs to meet growing expectations from today’s consumers.” Green Tourism offers educational resources for tourism businesses, helping them to understand the top- and bottomline benefits of integrating sustainability practices into their operations, marketing, and other areas. These resources are designed to provide valuable and relevant

information to tourism business operators in bitesized, easy-to-implement chunks in order to help them improve operational efficiencies, reduce their environmental impacts, and enhance their ability to tell a credible and authentic green story, as part of their marketing efforts. Lauren Douglas, managing director of Green Tourism Bronze Member Orca Spirit Adventures, noted that “Green Tour-

ism Canada has given our business a better focus on where we need to monitor and has provided excellent mentorship towards becoming a greener company. Customers are looking for green companies, and we want to exceed their expectations.” In Canada, Green Tourism is by sustainability consulting firm, GreenStep Solutions. For more, go to http:// .

Anniversary inspires Cdn. flower power Thanks to the Canadian Garden Council and a donation from Vesey’s Bulbs of PEI, 150 communities and organizations from coast to coast have been selected to receive a 150th Celebration Garden. Each garden will consist of 1,000 red and white tulip bulbs to be planted this fall and bloom next spring just in time to say “Happy Birthday to Our Home and Native Land.” Alexander Reford, president of the Canadian Garden Council said. He added, “Selecting successful applicants was a difficult task for our jury, as we received more than 400 applications for these special gardens, more than we ever expected. Gardens play a significant role in Canadian culture and heritage, and we are delighted that these 150th Celebration Gardens commemorate who we are as Canadians and how recipient communities have played a role in defining, developing and

growing Canada’s international reputation as a nation of friends.” The Niagara Parks Commission will receive 25,000 red and white tulip bulbs to be planted

in Queen Victoria Park adjacent to Niagara Falls, one of Canada’s most significant gateways and iconic destinations. The Niagara 150th Celebration Garden Promenade will

be a symbolic link to the 150 Celebration Gardens across the country. The 150th Celebration Gardens will be featured on the Canada’s Garden Route website www.can . A list of all 150 winning communities and organizations can be found at www.canadas php/anniversary .

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Vol. 49, No. 5, Published October 17, 2016


Edith Baxter, Editor-in-Chief

How would you describe Points? In short, we are a

loyalty to keep members active and engaged, both earning and redeeming their points and miles. Another challenge is dormant miles. In fact, there are an estimated 20 trillion points and miles in accounts around the world, ready to be used. This is a big liability on the books for loyalty programs, so they are looking to technology companies, like ours, to make it easier for members

technology company working in the loyalty industry. We create and innovate to bring platforms and products to life for our global network of loyalty program partners engaged in loyalty currency transactions. We’ve built technology solutions that enhance the management and monetization of loyalty currencies for more than 50 of the world’s top brands, from frequent flyer miles and hotel points to retailers and credit card rewards. We operate the leadChristopher Barnard ing global e-comPresident & co-founder, merce transaction Points platform that links loyalty programs, consumers and third party brands. to access and use their rewards... What are the biggest One key strategy loyalty programs changes affecting loyalty are using is offering members rewards programs and the flexibility to buy, gift and travel? While loyalty program exchange points and miles. memberships continue to climb, Can these transformaone of the biggest challenges tions positively impact the industry faces is keeping rewards and loyalty members both engaged and balances? We’ve seen that the active. We know that the average more flexible a loyalty program is, household belongs to 29 differmeaning the more ways members ent loyalty programs, but is only can use its currency, the more active in 12. That’s a big gap. Programs are looking for ways to use valuable it is. One of the best



ways to keep members engaged is to meet them where they are at – offer redemption options that interest them, in the channels they are using.


ing especially among Millennials is that they’re looking for experiential redemption options. For example, instead of exchanging points for physical goods, they’re looking to redeem their points for VIP passes to concerts, spa treatments or to see their favourite sports team. Last year, we worked with Southwest Airlines to enable their Rapid Rewards members to redeem their points for charitable donations.

Angie Matthews, Cruise Holidays/ Luxury Travel Boutique, Mississauga, Ont.

Israel and Egypt! Prague extension and a river cruise.

Tamela Bennett,, Mississauga, Ont.

Robert Mowat, Executive Editor

Michael Baginski, Managing Editor

Greg Coates, Assistant Editor

Ian Stalker, Senior Writer

Ann Ruppenstein, Staff Writer

Ted Davis, Western Editor

Heifetz, Crozier, Law Legal Affairs

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Unit 904, 207 W. Hastings St., Vancouver, BC V6B 1H7 Tel: (604) 685-2588 Fax: (604) 734-9743

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310 Dupont St., Toronto, Ont., M5R 1V9 Tel: (416) 968-7252 Fax: (416) 968-2377 (Editorial) (Advertising)

Michael Baginski, Publisher

How important are loyalty reward programs to Canadians? Canadians love

loyalty. Studies show that as many as 90% of Canadians are members of at least one loyalty program. And, as a result, we’re seeing many companies who focus on loyalty (like LoyaltyOne, Bond and Aimia) thriving here.

What’s still on your travel bucket list? An African safari is on my bucket list. I want to go to different regions and spend some time in each area. The biggest attraction for me is open jeep safari and a horseback riding safari.

Wendy McClung, Executive VP, Operations

Mike Dunbar, Assistant Editor

Are you noticing any interesting trends or changes in how people are redeeming their points? One trend we’re see-


David McClung, President

My No. 1 bucket list item for the fall was travelling to Japan. I was on one of Topdeck’s inaugural Asia itinerary’s last month – Japan Highlights, a 12-day tour from Tokyo to Osaka.

Vietnam/Cambodia. I hear [they are] beautiful countries with very nice people. [The area] is intriguing and the cuisine seems amazing.

Laura Hopkins, Flight Centre Adventure Annex, Toronto

Shy Alarakhia, Expedia CruiseShipCenters, Ajax, Ont.

Earl Lince,

Director of International Marketing

Rodney Tugwell, Sales Manager

Mitchell McClung,

Account Executive

Daniel McDonald,


Advertising Offices Western Canada Terry Ohman Tel: (604) 657-2100 Alberta Greg Ohman Tel: (403) 804-3497 Southern Florida Dino Torres Tel: (305) 775-8734 Fax: (305) 477-6607 Northern Florida Gillian Harper Tel: (954) 933-2786 Hawaii Laurie Doerschlen, Media Links Tel: 808-737-4621 Fax: 808-737-2695 Brazil Claudio Dasilva Tel: 1-954-647-6464 Mexico Paloma Martinez, Towmar Inc. Tel: 52 55 2122-3900 Fax: 52 55 5395-4985 Central & South America Lillian Martinez Travel Representations & Marketing Tel: 305-476-1130 Subscriptions: $80 - 1 year (Canada), $140 - 2 year (Canada), plus applicable taxes. $120 US funds - 1 year (Foreign). Airmail rates on request. Price per single copy $3.00 (plus applicable taxes). HST #R120906425.Canadian Publications Mail Product Sales Agreement No. 40063078. Return undeliverable Canadian addresses to: Circulation Dept., 310 Dupont St., Toronto, Ont., M5R 1V9 email: ISSN 1994-3133.

Published 47 times per year Copyright 2016 PRINTED IN CANADA

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Agents’ Choice Awards PART 3 This year’s Agents’ Choice Awards – as voted on by readers of Canadian Travel Press, Travel Courier and PressToday – were revealed on June 20. Following is a sampling of some of the category winners receiving their trophies. Stay tuned for more winners in upcoming editions and check out online.



AIRLINE – Traditional / Full Service & Executive Class – Air Canada’s vicepresident global sales, Duncan Bureau (c) celebrates with the carrier’s sales team as he accepts two Agents’ Choice Awards. In the 2016 poll, AC was voted the Favourite Airline – Traditional / Full Service and the Favourite Airline – Executive Service by Canadian travel agents.

ATTRACTION – Toronto’s CN Tower was the favourite attraction of Canadian travel agents in the 2016 Agents’ Choice Awards poll. Seen here, from l to r, accepting the award are CN Tower’s Alexandrea Macchione, sales and marketing representative, and its chief operating officer, Neil Jones.

CAR RENTAL – The Budget team in Canada celebrates its status as favourite car rental company in the 2016 Agents’ Choice Awards. Left to right are Leslie Lorette, Diane Zeppieri, Derek Schofield, Adelina Gregoriou, and Tanya Sciarra.

CITY/TOWN – US – New York scored a pair of Agents’ Choice Awards this year: Favourite City or Town in the US, and favourite shopping destination (wherever). Accepting on behalf of the destination are New York & Company’s representatives, Charmaine Singh and Javier Fernandez.

HOTEL BRAND – NON ALL-INCLUSIVE – Canadian travel agents picked Fairmont Hotels as their Favourite Hotel Brand – Non All-Inclusive in the 2016 Agents’ Choice Awards poll. During a recent visit to Toronto, Kevin Frid, the chief operating officer for North & Central America for Accor Hotels (which recently acquired Fairmont Hotels) accepts the ACA 2016 award for Fairmont.


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Airports Continued from page 1

is high enough. You cannot ask travellers to pay more,” Laroche said. Similar sentiments were expressed by Craig Richmond, the CEO of the Vancouver Airport Authority. “If you went to this model, my experience tells me in five years, you would not recognize Canadian airports,” said Richmond. “You would see cutbacks on maintenance and cleaning, and you would see them become much more crowded because of the pressures on the management to deliver that return,” he told the Star in an interview. On the other hand, the sale of Canadian airports to private interests has the potential to raise billions of dollars for investment in other government infrastructure Opinions vary on whether Canada’s airports should be privately or publicly owned, or a combination of the two. projects. This would be in line with promises by the Liberal government to spend more on such projects. in the final report of the Canada Transportation Act Review, says the Airport ownership models vary around the world, with some 51% in Canadian Airports Council. private hands (e.g. Asian airports are largely privately owned) and 49% The NAS airports, which are already private, but operate on a not-for owned by governments, she said. profit basis as non-share capital corporations, have a variety of views on (Most airports in the United States are operated locally through some the recommendations, says the CAC. And they share concerns about form of municipal or regional government structure.) Montreal was some of the assertions being made in the discussion about the manageamong the first in the world to adopt a not-for-profit ownership model, ment of Canada’s airports today and are in agreement that the governjust after London Heathrow. ment of Canada should proceed cautiously and review the matter in full “Changing the ownership structure is a complex matter that requires consultation with airports and their stakeholders. careful consideration by all affected stakeholders,” says Erin Kennedy, “Airport authorities today are complex organizations, with existing manager of external communications for the Greater Toronto Airports employee groups and financial stakeholders with billions of dollars in Authority. “Together with our board of directors, we are taking the airport infrastructure-related debt. Any moves to change the ownertime to review and consider all of the implications a change in ownership or governance of airports must take this into account, as well as ship could bring,” she said. the full spectre of community, cost and other considerations involved in strong opposition to dissolve long-term arrangements: yyc changing the ownership model of airports,” says the CAC. “This is why The Calgary Airport Authority has been more forthright in its review of airports are encouraging government to proceed cautiously.” suggested proposals for more private sector participation in Canadian Canada’s National Airports System airports are independent organiairport ownership, as described in the Emerson report “Pathways: zations, with boards of directors appointed from local business, variConnecting Canada’s Transportation System to the World.” Specifically, ous levels of government and other community stakeholders. They are the authority responded to recommendation 3(b) of this report, which responsible for operation and capital investment at 22 major airports suggests moving to a share capital structure for Canada’s larger airports around the country. within three years. All operating surpluses are reinvested back into the airport under “In summary, we believe recommendation 3(b) is a solution in search this model. NAS airports also contributed $323 million to the federal of a problem that does not exist and, as a matter of good public policy, government last year in “rent” – nearly $5 billion total since transfer, should not be pursued for any Canadian airports,” says the Calgary while investing more than $21 billion in infrastructure without taxAirport Authority. payer support. “The benefits and successes of the Canadian non-share capital, notThe 50 members of the CAC represent more than 100 airports, infor-profit model are well-documented, and this model will continue to cluding all of the privately operated National Airports System (NAS) provide the most cost-effective corporate governance structure in the airports and many municipal airports across Canada. years ahead, one that is able to combine the positive attributes of comThe view by Transport Canada on the matter walks a non-committal mercialized airports with a continuing orientation towards local control line. “The government continues to review all the recommendations put and local business development. The Calgary Airport Authority would forward in the Canada Transportation Act (CTA) Review. We recognize strongly oppose any attempt to dissolve the long-term arrangements the need for a collaborative approach in addressing the CTA Review that are in place for Calgary International Airport.” and developing Canada’s future transportation system,” says a stateproceeding with caution on the ownership question ment by Transport Canada. Canada’s National Airports System (NAS) airport authorities are “Any decisions that are made will be based on the best interests of actively engaging with their boards of directors and the government Canadian travellers,” says Natasha Gauthier, senior media relations of Canada in considering the airport ownership recommendations advisor for Transport Canada. 6 • CANADIAN TRAVEL PRESS • OCTOBER 17, 2016

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The time is right for the Azores IAN STALKER

Luis Nunes is inviting Canadians to experience both Portuguese culture and impressive displays of nature without making the lengthy trip across the Atlantic Ocean. Nunes runs the Azores-based Azores Getaways, which offers tours in the Portuguese-speaking archipelago of nine islands halfway between this country and mainland Europe, an archipelago he says isn’t overrun with tourists. “I truly believe the Azores is a great destination – off the beaten path,” he says. “It’s a good time to go there, before it gets too popular, and see a very quiet, unspoiled destination.” Azores Getaways can put together packages that feature hotels, tours and air travel, with Portuguese carrier SATA linking Toronto with the Azores yearround and offering summertime Montreal service. Much of the Azores’ tourist trade revolves around the island of Sao Miguel, home to some 130,000 people and which has the most developed infrastructure of any of the islands. Unusual Sao Miguel features include Europe’s only tea plantation. But Nunes says all of the islands have distinct features, with Pico Island being home to Pico Mountain, the tallest peak in the Azores, which Azores Getaways clients can climb. “Everyone can do it, but it’s seven to eight hours going up. It’s a tall mountain in the middle of nowhere,” he says of Pico Mountain, which features a

volcanic cone. Some whale species are found in local waters Whale-watching is a popular pastime in the Azores, which prides itself on its nature. throughout the year, meaning tourists can always its 10 degrees outside, he adds. platform that allows travel agents go whale-watching, Nunes says. New Azores hotels are being in Canada to “easily sell vacation Other species are seasonal, with built, with Sao Miguel seeing packages to the Azores, with as many as 20 whale species being two five-star properties open commissions of up to 15%.” found in some areas in May, June, this year. More information can be found September and October. Affiliated Inovtravel has a B2B at . “People who go to the Azores can see the giants of the ocean,” Nunes continues, adding harmless whale sharks, which are the world’s largest fish, can be found throughout the year, and manta rays are among other local marine creatures. As well, certified scuba divers can safely go free diving among blue sharks, which Nunes acknowledges some people may be uncomfortable with. Corvo – the smallest of the islands – has built a following with birdwatchers, who can see migrating seabirds. Corvo is home to birds that aren’t found elsewhere. Energetic visitors can opt for the likes of canyoning, hiking and biking. Nunes says the Azores and mainland Portugal are “culturally similar,” but the Azores has its own traditions and summer sees many ocean-related festivities. Nunes says summertime weather enables visitors to swim in the ocean, and December and January will likely see highs of around 14 or 15 degrees. “You won’t be going to the beach, but you’ll do everything else.” Hot springs can be used when

photo courtesy/ AZORES GETAWAYS



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Exterior view


Harrah’s tower freshens trip to the Strip Harrah’s Las Vegas is inviting guests to have “an unforgettable experience without having to spend a fortune.” Touting the newest renovated hotel tower on the Strip, guests have the option to retreat to one of 600 standard guest rooms and 72 suites. Part of an ongoing resort transformation of the Caesars Entertainment casino brand, the Valley Tower features sleek décor with tones of gray and purple accents. A modern vanity with backlighting can be found in every room. Standard and premium rooms also come with one king bed or two queen beds, a table with two chairs and a desk. Guests who upgrade to one of the newly renovated suites, including the Executive and Vice Presidential Suites, will enjoy the luxuries of the Anthology Collection. Each suite offers a separate bedroom, living room and dining area with the luxuries of at-home amenities. Bathrooms have a whirlpool tub. The suite can also expand

Guest room

by purchasing a connecting room with two queen beds. For easier and quicker arrival and departure experiences, guests have the option of using the new self check-in and check-out kiosks in the main hotel lobby, available starting at the end of October. The kiosks can also be found at other Caesars Entertainment Las Vegas properties, including The LINQ Hotel & Casino, Flamingo Las Vegas, Caesars Palace and Paris Las Caesars Entertainment is represented by Discover the World in Canada Vegas. Guests will find a modernized Valley Tower, a sports book and the renovated Toby Keith’s I Love This Bar & Grill. Toby Keith’s I Love This Bar & Grill’s recent renovation brings new televisions, dance floor, furnishings, sound system and private dining space. This football season, sports fans can indulge in a build your-own Bloody Mary bar, available Sundays from 11:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. They can choose from unlimited Bloody

Mary’s, domestic draft beer and mimosas for $25. Fans can place their picks with a betting kiosk, which opens at 9 a.m. on Sundays. Harrah’s Race & Sports Book now includes more than 40 new HDTVs, new bar stools and lounge chairs throughout the book, along with built-in USB chargers. Fans will also cheer over football season drink specials and giveaways, and find a football menu from the chef-driven Fulton Street Food Hall without having to leave the sports book. Also awaiting guests is the Signature Bar: Open 24 hours, the bar offers 16 cold draft beers on tap and specialty beer cocktails known as Hop’tales. They include the Winnie Lé Melon, made with Grey Goose Le Melon vodka, Strongbow Cider, Vittone Bianco vermouth, simple syrup and fresh lemon juice, as well as the Harrah’s House Cocktail made with Stolichnaya vodka, Chambord Black Raspberry liqueur, Triple Sec, sweet & sour and lime soda.

Executive suite


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New Zealand

Many reasons to recommend NZ GREG COATES

A delegation of tourism officials from New Zealand made a stop in Toronto Oct. 4 in the midst of a 15-city road show to update travel industry personnel on all that’s new in the land made famous by the Lord of the Rings trilogy. Hosted by Tourism New Zealand, Air New Zealand and a number of partners up from New Zealand, the event also included Honorary Consul Phillip Crawley who noted that tourism is a $30-billion business in New Zealand, which has seen a 17% increase in international visitors over the past year. From Canada, the numbers as (l-r) at the Toronto event are Renata West, Tourism New Zealand; Sabrina Bernacchia, Air New Zealand; Gabrielle of August are up about 9%, Pictured Boyd, Tourism New Zealand; Maureen Kim, Air New Zealand; and Brian Jobling, Air New Zealand. totalling about 56,000. Crawley encouraged agents and their clients to take their time when advised: beautiful landscapes, culture, food and wine, the warm and visiting the southwestern Pacific Ocean destination, which consists of welcoming people, and wildlife. two main – and very different – islands, North and South. Tourism New Zealand has a special website for the trade at http:// “New Zealand is much more than Auckland. Take the time, don’t, as well as a 100% Pure New Zealand just spend three or four days,” he said, adding there are beaches, forests, Specialist Program. penguins and lots of wildlife. “It’s really remarkable.” It was also noted that there are many options for getting to New ZeaWhy sell New Zealand? The reasons are numerous, agents were land, including direct service from Vancouver (daily during peak season).

New Zealand a ‘hot ticket,’ Goway tells trade IAN STALKER

Those who have been Hobbit-ually dreaming of visiting New Zealand shouldn’t wait until the last minute when it comes to arranging their trip, says Goway Travel. Goway’s Shirley Rourke told Canadian Travel Press at a recent trade gathering in Toronto that, “New Zealand is a hot ticket. Booking in advance is 100% necessary, so as not to be disappointed.” Goway’s Steve Martin in turn told an audience that New Zealand has some 4.4 million people, a sharp contrast with Japan, which is a similar size, but is home to 126 million residents, and Britain, also similar in size to New Zealand, but home

to 64 million people. Those visiting New Zealand can count on finding a “lot of really open and beautiful landscapes,” he said. Auckland serves as a gateway to the country, and Martin said the “city of sails” is home to many marinas and yachts, and tourists can see much of the city from an “Americas Cup retired sailing boat.” The city’s waterfront has been completely redone and is home to lots of cafés, restaurants and family activities, he continued. Those touring the North Island can also visit Hobbiton, used for The Lord of Rings trilogy, and one of the five most-visited movie sets in the world, Martin reported. Christchurch has rebounded from an

earthquake and is often referred to “as the most English city outside of England,” he added. Martin said Queenstown has a “really alpine feel to it” and is often viewed as a “thrill city,” being the home of bungee jumping, and visitors can also go jetboating, hitting 80 km/h on river excursions he said have a great safety record. Non-adrenalin types can watch “other crazy people” go bungee jumping, he joked. Martin added that the region around the South Island’s Milford Sound is often called “Little Norway” because of its many fiords. Those who appreciate wine will also be in their element, with “wines everywhere in New Zealand,” Martin added.


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New look for Grupo Posadas hotels Former Fiesta Americana now known as La Colección Grupo Posadas, the largest hotel operator in Mexico, has unveiled La Colección, a brand that embodies a portfolio of the group’s resorts set in Mexico’s most sought-after beach destinations. Previously known as Fiesta Americana Resort Collection, La Colección currently includes 12 resorts spread throughout Cancun, Riviera Maya, Los Cabos, Acapulco, Puerto Vallarta, Playa del Carmen, Cozumel and Kohunlich in Chetumal. The first campaign for the brand showcases Mexican beautiful and authentic experiences, while also highlighting the culture and hospitality of the hotels’ staff. The campaign also features digital and print imagery that melds lifestyle photos accented with iconic, Mexicaninspired background patterns, reminiscent of a Mexican mandala – a perfect reflection of the offering at each property. Travel partners and consumers can explore La Colección further via the website . La Colección, which means the collection in English, distinguishes Grupo Posadas’ beach resorts apart from their other 200 properties set throughout Mexico. Under the subcategories of Luxury, Bonding, Lifestyle and Active this portfolio allows travellers to easily select a dream vacation based on their unique preferences. La Colección features a variety

of vacation options ranging from family-friendly and adult-only all-inclusive to exclusive European plans. Each one of the 12 properties have a unique offering and are designed to appeal to different needs, whether guests are looking for luxury experiences, a time to bond with their loved ones, an active experience to expand their horizons or a lifestyle vacation that offers a sensory experience. Properties under La ColecciĂłn include: Live Aqua Cancun All Inclusive Adults Only; Lat20 by Live Aqua Playa del Carmen All Inclusive Adults Only; Grand Fiesta Americana Puerto Vallarta All Inclu-

sive Adults Only; Grand Fiesta Americana Coral Beach Cancun; Grand Fiesta Americana Los Cabos All Inclusive Golf & Spa; Fiesta Americana Cozumel All Inclusive; Fiesta Americana Condesa CancĂşn All The former Fiesta Americana Resort Collection now has a new image Inclusive; Fiesta as La ColecciĂłn. Americana Puerto Vallarta All Inclusive & abroad in the next couple brand, Live Aqua, will Spa; Fiesta Americana Vilof years with the inauexpand internationally las Cancun; Fiesta Ameriguration of Grand Fiesta with the development of cana Villas Acapulco; The Americana Acapulco DiaLive Aqua properties in Explorean Cozumel; and, mante, and the rebrandthe United States, specifiThe Explorean Kohunlich. ing of the new Live Aqua cally Chicago, Los AngeLa ColecciĂłn will conBoutique Resort in Playa les, Miami, Houston, and tinue to grow Mexico and del Carmen. Its lifestyle Washington D.C.

Ever get high-fived by a dolphin? Five, then six sleek, silver wave riders danced alongside us. The dolphins sidled up the moment we motored away from the ship. Splashing, they leaped through our wake nearly close enough to touch us. Brief glimpses as they dove and frolicked revealed faces that seemed to smile ear-to-ear—mirroring our own beaming grins.

Agent only client savings!



Inclusive 7-night adventure cruise Mexico’s Sea of CortÊs | 84 guests | Nov–Mar




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Best Western introduces new brand ‘White label’ franchise targets disillusioned franchisees

delivering high quality and outstanding service,” said Kong. “There is no PIP for SureStay hotels. Rather, we are working to create consumer relevance and confidence through unprecedented quality and care. We believe this will really resonate with consumers in these segments.” The first 100 hotels to join SureStay will receive an array of incentives, including waived royalty fees for five years, a regional manager to kick-start sales and marketing efforts, and hotel-level training support. Additionally, 100% of the marketing and technology fee (5%) will be reinvested to help hotels succeed. louisiana Meanwhile, Best Western® Hotels & Resorts announced today the addition of the BW Premier Collection Cypress Bend Resort Golf & Conference Center. The property – located on the pristine Toledo Bend Lake in Many, Louisiana – is home to an 18-hole championship golf course, spa and indoor/ outdoor heated swimming pool. BW Premier Collection is Best Western’s soft brand, consisting of carefully selected upscale, high-quality independent hotels and resorts in key markets that deliver exceptional and unique travel experiences, while retaining their design, name and orientation. BW Premier Collection properties are a fit for discerning travellers seeking a one-ofa-kind experience with the benefits of a global hotel brand. BW Premier Collection Cypress Bend Resort Golf & Conference Center is a lakefront resort that provides a serene lodging experience for business and leisure travellers, with 95 guest rooms and 14 two-bedroom suites overlooking the golf course. Additional amenities include a fitness centre, scenic nature hiking trails and three on-site dining options – serving an array of fresh-cut steaks, seafood and authentic Louisiana cuisine. The property also provides fishing reports and guided fishing excursions for those that seek expertise as they navigate the largest man-made lake in the American South. Reservations can be booked by calling the hotel directly at 318-5901500 or by calling Best Western’s 24-hour, toll-free reservations number 1-800-WESTERN, or at

We are working to create consumer relevance and confidence through unprecedented quality and care...

Best Western Hotels & Resorts has introduced SureStay Hotels – “a revolutionary new ‘white label’ franchise model in the hotel industry.” SureStay will operate as a separate subsidiary, while plugging hotel owners into the company’s infrastructure and distribution channels. With three distinctive brands – SureStay Hotel (Premium Economy), SureStay Plus Hotel (Lower Midscale) and SureStay Signature Collection (Midscale Soft Brand) – Best Western aims to provide options in the marketplace for franchisees who are disillusioned by one-sided contracts that do not deliver. “In North America, there are currently 17,000 branded hotels, and another 12,000 unbranded, in the economy and midscale segments. The white label approach allows Best Western to tap into this tremendous potential without compromising its brand image,” said Best Western president David Kong. “Currently, many of these hotels have little to no consumer relevance. Their brands have very little potential to drive superior revenue, and the owners are incurring high franchise fees from brands that don’t provide the necessary support, service or value.” SureStay was developed under the AAHOA Fair Franchising Principles, granting owners fair and reasonable early termination provisions with no liquidated damages, allowing them to have a voice through advisory committees, and allowing procurement outside of brand channels. All three brands will be marketed under the SureStay umbrella, with no consumer reference to Best Western Hotels & Resorts. According to officials, this will allow Best Western to leverage its existing infrastructure, while creating a new revenue stream, tapping into the vast opportunities that exist today in the economy space, without compromising the company’s already established position in its current segments. To qualify for SureStay, hotels will need to achieve and maintain a TripAdvisor score of 3.5 or higher. They will also need to adhere to the SureStay Service Promise, which will be a key point of emphasis. “With SureStay, we are seeking to create a core group of hotels that will differentiate themselves from others in the market, focusing on

The following identified the Sept. 26 “Where In The World” as The Oculus, World Trade Center, New York: Marilyn Lentz, Bytown Travel; Timothy Edgecombe, Rosewood Hotel Georgia; Janet McKelvie, Marlin Travel; Irene Rivard, CAA; Shirley Hulleman, BOB’S cruises & tours; Marianne Bradshaw, TierOne Travel; Denise Banks, Southland Travel; Ineke Brinkman, Brinkman Travel; Juliet DiGennaro, Ranalli Travel; Katherine Hirtzel, Carlson Wagonlit; Anthony Bento, Allianz Global Assistance;

Susan Hopkins, Advantage Intravel; Shamim Lila, Skyway Tours; Celine Moskovitz, House of Travel; Katherine Poon, Fun In Paradise Travel; Barb Hricina, CWT Concierge; Veronika Andrasofszky, New Wave Travel; Steve Torok, Avianet; Madeline Oldford, Expedia CruiseShipCenters; William Andrews, New Wave Travel; Lana Black, CAA; Ana Pinilla, Maritime Travel; Marie-Claude Di Bello, Voyage Regence; and Dave Wright, Sunwing/Signature Vacations; Kristina Telles; and Trevor Frantik.


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Site has Royal Caribbean taking care of business Royal Caribbean International is taking planning of corporate meetings, incentives and events at sea to a new level with a major overhaul of Royal With its recent soft launch, the RoyalCarib website delivers an interactive, customized experience that includes a fresh dynamic look, enhanced search functionality, streamlined site navigation, rich content and exclusive planning tools. The event and meeting planner hub now delivers a fully integrated process, including:

• Dynamic design: Leading with rich imagery, video and a bold, easy-tonavigate layout, the entirely new site allows planners to quickly pinpoint where they want to start, whether searching by destinations, ships and event venues or just browsing. • Search widget: The new feature provides the ability to identify the ultimate event destination options based on a planner’s group size, for a customized experience. • Responsive functionality: Planners can explore and use the website from a variety of mobile and

tablet devices, as well as desktop computers and laptops. • Customization: Personalized and simplified searches and newly added content, including the Royal Caribbean “Event Customization Guide,” allow event planners to easily pull up the rich lineup of customizable options at their fingertips. • Request a Proposal Form: Travel professionals have the ability to request

Royal Caribbean has soft-launched a new version of its incentives web site.

a proposal from the cruise line based on their specific group criteria. Lori Cassidy, AVP, global corporate, incentive and charter sales for Royal Caribbean International, said: “Planning an unforgettable event at sea with us – no matter how intimate or grand – just became as intuitive and

seamless as the world-class service we deliver to guests onboard our 25 ships 365 days of the year.” Cassidy pointed out that: “With our reimagined website, we are thrilled to launch our latest investment in building new and stronger relationships with meeting and event professionals.”

Travel Management and Distribution Systems

Agents offered free trial of online tool Travel agents are invited to take advantage of a free 30-day trial of – a new online tool designed to help agents increase their commission revenue. According to officials, provides agents with: • A personalized travel website offering more than 20,000 curated tour itineraries from well-established tour operators in 160 countries. “Clients won’t stray... they can browse the agent’s site and then contact them to book or customize their travel plans.” • Every week, a new travel article from Anthony Bourdain’s “Roads and Kingdoms” is posted to the agent’s new private

website. provides marketing tools to attract existing and prospective clients to the agent’s valuable travel site. • Every week agents receive an newsletter containing the Travelogue photo and headline along with promotional copy that can be sent to existing clients and posted to the agent’s social media. Officials say frequent connectivity will cause clients to think of the agent first and social media posts will help produce leads. Following the free 30day trial, there is a special introductory fee of $19.95 per month. (




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“You can come by car. It’s not necessary to use the Ferrari; you can use a Bentley, Aston Martin... — Guy Antognelli, director deputy general of the Monaco Government Tourist and Convention Authority, joking about the principality’s high-end image.

Please send your answer to: “Where in the World?” at

The building may not be a dead giveaway, but, ahem, check out the cars parked in front, especially the centre one. A rough jewel, often said to be in need of a good bucket of plaster and a coat of paint, this famed city is under assault by tourists, especially Americans, who are discovering it again after some 50 years away... Where in the world is it?

Gear To Go A guide to some of the amazing devices that make travel a little bit easier, or more fun Rayovac Portable Power Charger Smartphones and tablets have allowed everyone to do more on the go, but users playing a game, commuting or on a long road trip are limited by the distance to the nearest electrical outlet. While there are several ways to try to reduce the amount of battery power a smartphone or device is using, such as dimming the screen or turning off sound and vibration, Rayovac’s Portable Power chargers provide a way to keep you going without interruption. “In addition to giving you extra power to extend the life of your battery, the Portable Power chargers let users continue using their devices on the move because they’re not tied to an electrical socket,” says Namita Gupta, senior marketing manager for Rayovac at

Spectrum Brands. “The small and lightweight chargers are perfect for kids to pop in their backpacks or for business travellers to include in their luggage for when they need a recharge. When you eventually find yourself at an electrical outlet, you can quickly recharge the Portable Power, so it’s ready to go next time you need it.” With different Rayovac Portable Power chargers available in Canada there are many choices, including a Portable Power option that can recharge multiple devices at once. “The chargers can hold their charge for up to six months, so they’re incredibly handy as an emergency back-up for when the power is out, or to keep in your car or purse, so you’re never stranded with a dead battery,” says Gupta. Rayovac Portable Power chargers are available at Lowe’s locations across Canada. (


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Hotel Association of Canada The Hotel Association of Canada (HAC) has named Susie Grynol as its new president. Grynol was previously with the Retail Council of Canada, where she served as its vice-president, federal government relations since 2013. Fully bilingual, Grynol has more than 10 years of experience managing political affairs and public relations and has a proven track record in overseeing complex industry issues and delivering successful outcomes. She takes over the post from Tony Pollard who served as HAC’s president for the past 25 years and retired this past September. Philippe Gadbois, chair of the HAC Board, said: “We are delighted Grynol that Ms. Grynol will be joining the HAC as President and are fortunate to have someone with Susie’s talents, experience and breadth of knowledge join our industry. I look forward to working with Susie to ensure the industry’s needs and goals continue to be reached.” Grynol takes over her new role effective Oct. 17, 2016.

Barcelo Hotel Group The Barcelo Hotel Group has named Brad Richards as its regional district sales manager for the MICE market in this country. Richards has 16 years in travel and has extensive

Led by DT Minich (second from right), president and CEO of Experience Kissimmee, a delegation of Florida tourism offi cials hosted an industry dinner in Toronto recently to thank trade partners for all their support this past year. As a gateway to Walt Disney World, Minich said business has been good with visitor numbers on the rise, led by Canadians. On the horizon for the Central Florida destination is a US$750-million MargaritaVillage resort which will feature a hotel, vacation homes and condos, retail and beach area. Pictured at the Toronto event are (l-r) Shari Bailey of Visit Florida; Denise Graham of VoX International (Canadian rep for Kissimmee); Marc Reicher of Experience Kissimmee; Sue Webb of VoX International; Minich; and Danielle Dunn, Experience Kissimmee.

Kissimmee says thanks:

experience in the meetings and incentive markets. He is a specialist in destination marketing, having worked with hotels and DMCs. Richards Richards has also worked in real estate and telecommunications. He is versed with various approaches in securing and building industry relationships. Richards can be reached by e-mailing or by calling 647-869-8217.

Los Cabos Tourism Board The Los Cabos Tourism Board has a new managing director whose name is familiar to travel agents in Canada. Rodrigo Esponda Cascajares, who oversaw the Mexico Esponda Tourism Board’s Canadian operation for several years, will now be promoting Los Cabos to North Americans. Esponda officially took charge of the

Los Cabos Tourism Board on Oct. 3. He last served as the regional director of the Mexico Tourism Board for Canada and the United States as part of a career spanning 16 years with the organization.

Air Canada Vacations Air Canada Vacations (ACV) has introduced its new Travel Advisory Board, comprised of 28 travel professionals specializing in groups, cruises, international and sun products – from independent agencies to chains from coast to coast. TAB was created to give agents a voice within Air Canada Vacations, allowing representatives to directly speak to and work with senior management on issues that matter most. Members will have the opportunity to influence key strategies; share needs and challenges; help ACV understand what it needs to do to propel its relationship with the trade; and collaborate on existing and new initiatives that will increase sales for all travel agents. The group will

meet monthly for the first six months and then move into quarterly sessions. Meetings will take place at ACV’s Mississauga and Montreal offices, as well as through conference calls. There may even be an in-destination conference. The first meeting is set for Oct. 18. Members include: Annie Desjardins, Voyages Synergia Inc.; Caroline Klassen, Transat Travel; Filomena Punzo, Travelmasters; Irene Neustaedter, Around the World in 80 Days; Jason Mills,; JeanMichel Gendron, Voyages Gendron; Linda Sharp, TravelPoint; Margaret Barrie, UNIGLOBE Adventure House Travel; Marilyn Shalma, New Wave Travel; Nathalie Duplessis, Voyages Cap Evasion; Patrick Giguere, Voyages Constellation; Robert Townshend, Total Advantage Travel & Tours Inc.; Sarah Griffiths, Flight Centre; Shelley Parry, Tier One Travel; Sonia Gioffre, Voyages Reid; Sue Urie,; Todd Goguen, Maritime Travel Inc.; Tim Morgan, Travel Professionals

International; Vikas Malhotra, itravel2000; Joannie Letourneau, Club Voyages Excellence; Greg Currie, Bytowntravel; Rob Blowes, CWT Blowes Travel; Barb McLean, Maritime Travel; Fiona Barclay, Carlson Wagonlit Travel; Christine Latremoille, UNIGLOBE Le Centre De Voyages Dorval; Lou Anne Fradsham, UNIGLOBE Bon Voyage travel; Christina Hlusko, CAA Travel; and Danielle Sotera, WINNERS

Hola Sun John Borges of MarinaSol Travel in Toronto is Cuba-bound after winning a contest. Borges will spend a week at the Blau Cost Verde Plus, enjoying an all-inBorges clusive stay at the property courtesy of Hola Sun Holidays and Blau Hotels. Hola Sun is reminding travel agents to stay tuned for future contests.


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Canadian Travel Press - October 17, 2016