Agents' Choice 2018

Ann Ruppenstein

Assistant Editor/Photographer

When she got the call to come in for a job interview at Baxter Travel Media, Ann Ruppenstein had to push it back a week as she was out of the country trekking for mountain gorillas and chimpanzees in Rwanda and Uganda.
Armed with a journalism degree from Ryerson University, where she also studied photography, and several years of experience working for community newspapers in Toronto, she started working for Travel Courier and Canadian Travel Press in 2015.
The Emo-born and Thunder Bay-raised writer got a taste for travel at a young age, spending her summers in Germany growing up, and now calls Toronto home.
Specialties include: destination features, trade profiles, adventure travel, luxury travel, weddings/romance.
Favourite part of the job: Aside from the travel, getting to profile some of the most influential people in the industry. A memorable highlight was flying in a private jet with Sandals Resorts’ CEO and deputy chairman Adam Stewart.
Overall country count: 26 and counting.
Best travel memory: visiting with mountain gorillas in Rwanda, trekking Machu Picchu and taking in the FIFA World Cup in Brazil.
What’s still on your bucket list: Antarctica, Patagonia, Ecuador/Galapagos, South Africa, Iceland, Laos, Croatia, Vietnam and the list goes on.

Saint Lucia seeks to inspire

Saint Lucia’s tourism minister Dominic Fedee references American rapper Ludacris when describing the unique experiences that await travellers in the Caribbean island. “Saint Lucia is easily the most exciting destination in the Caribbean,” he tells Canadian Travel Press. “There’s nowhere else in the Caribbean where you can interface with a volcano the way you can with our sulphur springs… Read >>

Call it a comeback
Travel to France is blooming

After facing some tumultuous times for tourism – leading to a global decrease in arrivals in 2016, Mélanie Paul-Hus, director for Canada at Atout France, was in Toronto recently to share the good news that travel to France is back in full bloom… Read >>

Canadians discover Ireland is a whole new experience

As tourism to Ireland continues to boom, with the island nation reporting record-breaking results for the seventh straight year, the Canadian market is doing its part to contribute to the growth, joining the ranks as a top 10 feeder market for the destination… Read >>

Feeling the vibe in Jamaica
It’s more than an island in the sun

If the essence of a destination could be captured by an artist, it just may be Jamaica and the reggae, ska and rocksteady sounds of singer-songwriter Bob Marley. Laid-back lyrics like “Don’t worry about a thing, cause every little thing’s gonna be all right,” make for an ideal soundtrack, as vacationers bask in the sun from one of the Caribbean island’s many white-sand beaches, … Read >>

Ulla Hefel Böhler: Putting her stamp on an ‘amazing opportunity’

They’re movers and shakers. Their contributions have changed and continue to change the nature of travel, both in Canada and around the world. In this week’s issue, Canadian Travel Press’ series of profiles on Women in Travel continues with Ulla Hefel Böhler, the global CEO of Insight Vacations and Luxury Gold… Read >>

Puerto Vallarta is booming

With a new cruise terminal slated to open this year, centennial festivities set for May, a record number of overnights and international arrivals in 2017, and ongoing improvements to much of the existing hotel stock, tourism officials are projecting another positive year for travel to Puerto Vallarta… Read >>

Travel agents say: MoBay is okay!

Although the state of public emergency in St. James Parish of Jamaica, which includes the popular resort destination of Montego Bay, has been extended until May 2, many top-selling Jamaican specialists across Canada are reporting that it’s very much business as usual… Read >>

Lively Lisbon
Portugal’s postcard-perfect capital

In the wise words of our local guide Bruno Jorge, the best way to experience Alfama — one of the only neighbourhoods in Lisbon to withstand the earthquake, fire and tsunami of 1755 — is to get lost strolling through its picturesque streets… Read >>

Savouring Switzerland
There’s much to see, do and taste

In the beginning, there was Thomas Cook — so to say. Switzerland’s roots as a tourist destination can be traced back to 1863, when a documented tour led by the international travel company brought a group to the Central European country for a holiday… Read >>

Travel transformation
Contiki research reveals seeing the world makes people better

“It’s something that we all think, that travel just makes us all better people. People who are well-travelled are always so open-minded,” Gabrielle Nydam, president of Contiki Canada tells Travel Courier. “At Contiki, we were like we can’t start saying these things anecdotally — we need to figure out why, and what are those aspects that really drive change, and is it true?”… Read >>

Is it the destination or is it the journey?
With Insight Vacations & Luxury Gold, it may just be both

Sometimes how you travel can be just as important as where you actually go.
Such was the case for Insight Vacations & Luxury Gold president Brad Ford, who embarked on Luxury Gold’s Ultimate Italy journey and saw the popular European destination in a new light… Read >>

Finding the balance on the road to success
Ingrid Jarrett

To illustrate the impact of immersive travel, Ingrid Jarrett tells the tale of arriving in Fiji at 4 a.m. with her daughters in tow. “There were three gorgeous Fijian men in sarongs playing guitars and singing a Fijian ballad to us, and we got off on the tarmac and everyone was so tired and so cranky, and all of a sudden we were on vacation,” she recalls… Read >>

Re-imagined relaxation
at Hyatt Ziva Puerto Vallarta

It’s been said that Puerto Vallarta was truly put on the map after the 1964 movie release of The Night of the Iguana, which showcased the natural beauty of the destination. The fact that celebrities like Richard Burton, Ava Gardner and Elizabeth Taylor spent time in the scenic Mexican area on the Bay of Banderas … Read >>

And the award goes to…
Canadian agents shine with Karisma

The Canadian contingency on hand for Karisma Hotels & Resorts’ recent 10th Annual Gourmet Inclusive Vacation Consultant (GIVC) Awards – a four day event in Riviera Maya, Mexico celebrating top performing travel professionals from across North America – walked away with notable recognition… Read >>