Tis the season to celebrate travel agents. Wednesday was national Travel Agent Day, the sixth such occasion since the notion sparked to life in 2012.
Indeed, with each passing year, TAD is growing and gaining more prominence with the trade, both organizationally from the likes of ACTA to individual agencies that break out balloons and cake on their own, simply to celebrate their bearable flight-ness of being.
Many suppliers are also increasingly stepping up on the day with all manner of customized perks to show travel agents just how much they care. Some have even declared May to be Travel Agent Month and extend their incentives accordingly.
This country celebrates its mothers, fathers, religious beliefs, politicians (like Upper Canada's first lieutenant governor Lord Simcoe), and famous rodent weather prognosticator Wiarton Willie.
Then there’s national paper airplane day, Disneyland day, even mango appreciation day. People have set aside a day for pink (the colour, not the singer or the clothing brand), Scrabble, sunscreen, lost socks, catfish, UFOs, yo-yos and waffle irons. Today, May 5, is National Tuba Day (look it up!). And later this month, Victoria Day will commemorate a former monarch who died in 1901. We are amused.
All of which is to say, why not travel agents, who, for their tireless work at finding us places to go on holiday and then sending us there, are every bit as celebratable as Hobbits (Sept. 22 if you must know)?
So, hats off to travel agents! Unless, of course, it’s Jan. 15 – National Hat Day!
This - That
- WestJet has become the first Canadian airline to receive the International Air Transport Association (IATA) New Distribution Capability (NDC) level 2 certification. NDC is a program designed to enhance the capability of communications between airlines and travel agents. NDC paves the way for travel agents and travel management companies to add value to their customers by being able to access all relevant aspects of the WestJet experience from cabin details and baggage allowance to upgrade options, as well as book flights and ancillaries such as meals and selecting seats.
- The British Virgin Islands Tourist Board is returning to the Canadian marketplace with the appointment of Myriad International Marketing to provide PR services to both consumers and the travel trade. The BVI are located approximately 80 km east of Puerto Rico, in the northeastern region of the Caribbean Sea, and renowned as one of the world's premier sailing destinations.
- The new Silversea flagship Silver Muse was christened in Monte Carlo at a ceremony that featured the Sinfonietta Orchestra of Rome and renowned violinist Charlie Siem, and was attended by Prince Albert II of Monaco and host of other VIPs. The ship is the ninth in the ultra-luxury Silversea fleet and promises “the highest expression of excellence at sea.”
- In celebration of Travel Agent Day, Porter Airlines has launched a contest that will award bonus loyalty points and two grand prize trips to New York to agents making Porter and Porter Escapes bookings May 3-31. Agents, along with a companion, will also receive 30 per cent off their next Porter flight (before June 28). Details can be found by logging into the Porter agent portal.
- WestJet has inaugurated twice weekly service between Calgary and Nashville, adding to daily flights from Toronto that started last year.
- Air Canada has announced six new international routes for the winter season: Vancouver-Melbourne, Vancouver-Orlando, Toronto-Belize, Toronto-St. Vincent, Montreal-Phoenix and Montreal-Lima. The latter is its first South American route from Montreal.
- Travel agents and clients are now able to use MasterCard and Visa debit cards as forms of payment on all Air Canada Vacations (ACV) bookings. ACV is also offering free StormGuard protection to select destinations in the Mexico and Caribbean for bookings made by May 14.
Richard Fain, Chairman and CEO of Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd., and Philippa Lei, Malala Fund interim CEO, on Celebrity’s Cruises’ decision to name 19-year old Nobel Laureate and U.N. Messenger of Peace Malala Yousafzai as the Godmother of its forthcoming ship, Celebrity Edge, part of a two-year partnership with the Malala Fund, whose mission is to secure 12 years of safe, free quality education for every girl:
"Malala is an inspiration and a voice of hope. This young woman is on a powerful mission, and we support it 100 per cent. We are deeply honoured to name Malala the Godmother of Celebrity Edge, and we're excited to team up with her and the Malala Fund to champion the global right to education." – Fain
"We cannot get 130 million out-of-school girls into classrooms on our own. We are grateful to generous partners like Celebrity Cruises who support our work to help every girl learn and lead without fear." –