Pictured above: Collette’s Ron Lonsdale, vice-president of Canada; Alisia Apostolou, marketing manager, Canada; and George Christakis, head of sales, Canada.
Collette is gearing up for its 102nd travel season in 2020 with over 20 new tours being offered including Russia, Patagonia, the Azores, the Galapagos, and a combo tour to Egypt and Jordan.
“It may be our 102nd season, but we’re just getting started. We’re continuing to redefine what guided travel is and continuing to evolve, innovate and be creative to the guest experience and really listening to our customers to make the best possible experiences across the globe,” said Jaclyn Leibl-Cote, president of Collette.
In 2020, the Explorations program, which was the focus of last year’s season launch event, will be 100% carbon offset, and most tours will feature impact moments, which are designed to connect travellers to a destination in a deeper way. For example, on the Mysteries of India itinerary, travellers visit Sheroes Hangout, a pay-what-you-can café run by women survivors of acid attacks.
“We continue to expand Choice On Tour which creates that flexibility within tour programs, we’ve been doing it for over five years, and it just keeps growing; we have that on over 75% of our tour programs,” she added. “Definitely, what we’re seeing more of is the want for experiences, a little more off the beaten path. Explorations, that small group tour product line, continues to be a key driver for us.”
In total, there are 160 tours across five travel styles in all continents.
While the tour operator is part of an exclusive club to make it past its centennial anniversary in the travel business, she told Travel Courier that the travel trade can have confidence in the 102-year-old operation and that they aren’t resting on their laurels.
“Thankfully, we’re debt-free, we have zero debt, we have a high ranking on Dun & Bradstreet, and to our travellers, to our partners, that should provide peace of mind when travelling with Collette. You have a lot of companies that own planes, buses, ships and all that kind of stuff and that forces debt. We’re really smart with the way we reinvest in ourselves and invest in the company without putting ourselves in financial difficulty. You always have to try to stay on top of that and be as risk-free as possible,” she said. “It’s a competitive landscape. Never get complacent, never think that you are always going to be in existence, you gotta keep moving forward and really trying to stay at the top of our game because anything can happen.”
What’s hot for 2020?
As for what’s coming in strong for 2020, some of the destinations include the Galapagos, Portugal, Costa Rica, the Christmas markets of Europe, Ireland, Scotland, Australia, Finland, Japan, especially with the Olympics, and the Oberammergau Passion Play in Germany.
“We’re seeing Morocco go through the roof right now. Egypt and Jordan are booming. Russia is back,” she said. “We’ve really expanded much more in Europe, but still continue in exotics and all those destinations with Explorations, so it’s been a busy, but good 2020.”
A popular tour in the USA is the Bluegrass Country & the Smoky Mountains tour, which agents can experience first-hand on the upcoming fam tour on Aug. 6-14, 2020. The trip visits a private horse farm in Lexington, Kentucky, takes in the vibrant and artistic downtown of Asheville, North Carolina during a walking tour, the mecca of horse racing
in Louisville, Kentucky, and the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Agents can apply for the opportunity at www.collette.com/agentfam.
Back to Canada, she said the market is looking strong. In addition to the launch event in Toronto, a similar event will take place next month in New York City.
“We’re seeing steady and consistent growth from Canada, which is great, and the projections for 2020 are looking good,” she said.
TL Network Canada continues to expand benefits for member agencies by entering into an enhanced partnership with the Association of Canadian Travel Agents (ACTA).
The partnership will support collaboration on initiatives to enhance the certification, education and professional development of TLN members, along with other benefits including preferred rates on newly activated Certified Travel Counsellor (CTC) or Certified Travel Manager (CTM) registrations. It further demonstrates TL Network Canada’s commitment to advancing a strong Canadian travel agent community.
Christine James, TL Network’s vice-president who oversees the organization’s operations in Canada, says this commitment is another action to help foster the success of the company’s members.
“On behalf of TL Network Canada and our entire membership, I’m thrilled to enter into this enhanced partnership with ACTA,” said James. “I look forward to working closely with the ACTA leadership team to positively and proactively support the overall objectives of Canada’s retail travel industry, in addition to addressing the needs of our membership. This will help grow our membership’s collective voice and the ability to contribute input to the lobbying efforts of ACTA.”
TL Network is the largest seller of luxury travel, cruises, river cruises and tours in North America.
More than 12,000 Canadian advisors work in ACTA member agencies, representing more than 80% of the travel business booked through agencies Canada.
The Travel Industry Council of Ontario (TICO) has charged Moose Travel Company Ltd. with one count of operating as a travel agent without being registered.
TICO has also charged Megan Lalancette with one count of operating as a travel agent without being registered, and one count of being an Officer and Director of a Corporation and failing to take reasonable care to prevent the Corporation from committing an offence, in this case, for operating without TICO registration.
It is alleged that Lalancette operated Moose Travel Company Ltd. as a travel agency and sold outdoor and adventure tours across Canada, which included both transportation and accommodations. It is alleged that the company ceased operations and consumers did not receive their tours. Some customers were only partially refunded.
Charges were laid on Sept. 3. Lalancette will appear in court in Toronto on Oct. 10.
Flight Centre Canada has launched a new brand campaign encouraging travellers to escape the monotony of routine travel.
The integrated marketing campaign, “Be Unbordered” is a first for the company in Canada and will serve to build consumer awareness about Flight Centre’s specialty in working with clients to create unique travel experiences.
“We’ve found that the mentality of travellers is changing – people are seeking more unique and authentic experiences instead of the traditional bucket list but are reluctant to trust booking to anyone but themselves,” says VP of Leisure, Gavin Miller. “We understand that holidays are the most important weeks of the year and our Flighties bring vast personal experience which is sorely lacking in a market dominated by algorithms and self-serve booking.”
Flight Centre’s commercial is directed by Oscar-winner Joachim Back and will be featured on TV and cinema screens, compelling viewers to consider something “Unbordered” for their next getaway. Canadians will also notice many playful out-of-home advertisements such as street car wraps in Toronto, and key billboard placements in Toronto, Vancouver and Calgary.
Disney Cruise Line has announced that the first of three new ships coming to the line will be called the Disney Wish.
The beloved Disney princess Rapunzel will grace the stern of the vessel, which will be delivered in late 2021 and will set sail in January 2022.
Additionally, Disney Cruise Line guests can also look forward to a signature island experience that celebrates nature and the spirit and culture of The Bahamas at a new Disney port of call located on the island of Eleuthera at a place called Lighthouse Point.