Agents' Choice 2018

Mike Dunbar

Quebec Editor

Mike started his journalism career on regional newspapers in the UK before joining Travel Trade Gazette International, working out of the London, Brussels and Stockholm offices. Hired by Canadian Travel Courier as Montreal editor, he immigrated to Canada in 1972. Has been in Montreal ever since, except for a brief period in Toronto where he edited Meetings and Incentive Travel. Joined Baxter Publications in 1990 when Bill Baxter acquired Travel Courier.
Mike is married to retired Air Canada flight attendant Donna and, together, they have two children – Laura and Michael – along with grandsons Jaxson and Brodie. He’s also the designated walker of Winnie the rescued English bulldog, when he’s not on the road that is.
Overall country count: About 75.
Best travel memories: Flying roundtrip from London to Beirut on a Concorde proving flight captained by legendary British Aerospace chief test pilot Brian Trubshaw, who announced on the return leg, “Ladies and gentleman, we just booted it out of Beirut and have set a new world record for a civil aircraft going from zero to mach one.”
Was also very fortunate to be invited by Elan Holidays to serve as a tour escort on a three week People’s Republic of China itinerary in 1979, when tourism there was in its infancy. Was responsible for herding 23 people and 29 bags from Tokyo to Hong Kong via Beijing, Shanghai, Hangzhou, Shaoxing and Guangzhou and am pleased to report that I didn’t lose a single one of either.
Bucket list: This career has been such a slice and so full of wonderful memories that I can’t think of anything specific, except perhaps for more of the same.


Bent, but not broken Florida Keys, Key West get back to business

The Florida Keys & Key West ad, bearing the tagline “Bent, but not broken” speaks volumes about the can-do attitude in southernmost North America’s island chain. And the body copy backs it up: “Here in the Florida Keys, we’re always in awe of the power and beauty of Mother Nature, but Hurricane Irma truly tested what we were made of… Read >>

Get ready for the meltdown
IATA boss warns of infrastructure crisis

It’s probably just a matter of time before IATA director general Alexandre de Juniac zeroes in on the Americas for air traffic control and airport infrastructure shortcomings; not to mention out-of-control cost escalations as airport operators exploit their monopoly status… Read >>

Making it simple
ONE Order modernizing the airline reservation ecosystem

Now that IATA’s New Distribution Capability (NDC) initiative is well under way, the association is turning its attention to the unduly complex and outdated paper-based airline order management process… Read >>

NDC: the next phase

IATA’s New Distribution Capability (NDC) initiative took a “critical” leap forward last October when all three global distribution system (GDS) providers – Amadeus, Sabre and Travelport – confirmed that they will achieve the highest level of certification as aggregators by the end of this year… Read >>

Visit Florida ramps up Canadian efforts
Picks Pulse Travel marketing as its new representative

Visit Florida’s brand-new Canadian representative – Pulse Travel Marketing – hit the ground running at the state’s premier international travel show just a scant three days after the contract was inked… Read >>

Time to get ready for the future

The travel trade has just a couple of months to get used to the idea of the New Generation IATA Settlement Systems (NewGen ISS) because a progressive wave roll-out is slated to start on March 1, with worldwide implementation scheduled for the end of 2019… Read >>

The Big Picture

“Aviation makes the extraordinary normal. Safely crossing continents and oceans in a matter of hours are amazing technical accomplishments that were unthinkable less than a century ago, and they happen reliably many thousand times a day.” – That was the upside comment by IATA director general Alexandre de Juniac in Geneva recently… Read >>

Get Ready for the revolution
IATA ready to transform agency settlement system

Almost a fortnight ago, IATA member airlines adopted resolutions for the full implementation of the New Generation of IATA Settlement Systems (NewGen ISS, for short) that is destined to completely transform the back-office processes between carriers and travel agents beginning next March… Read >>

Transat takes fight to competition

Transat may be facing fierce competition on several fronts, but the company is fighting back with a series of initiatives to boost efficiency, simplify operations and reduce costs… Read >>

Transat at 30
Bigger, better and on course to a bright future

In its 30th anniversary year, the Transat group has hearkened back to its origins as a small travel agency by recommitting itself to the retail travel trade. And the group is about to get bigger with the announcement that the development of a hotel chain is in the works… Read >>

Last-minute bookings hurting SMBs

Canada’s companies are spending too much on business travel because they’re chronically booking too late to take advantage of lower air fares. And the hardest hit are the companies that can least afford it. Those are the expensive conclusions drawn from a multi-year fare analysis conducted by Concur Canada… Read >>

Canada benefiting from Trump Slump

Almost a year to the day since the US public voted for Donald Trump to become their next leader, there are signs travellers are turning to alternative destinations, with Canada in particular benefiting from a ‘Trump Slump.’.. Read >>

It’s all about education

Nexion Canada has expanded its coaching and business development educational support as a key element in its commitment to helping members develop profitable businesses, according to the host agency’s London, Ont.-based president Mike Foster… Read >>

Why you should charge service fees

Quesnel, BC, travel agent Bernadette Parrott has a way with words. And she demonstrated as much at the recent CoNexion annual conference during a break-out session on the subject of service fees… Read >>

VisitBritain says Canada is GREAT!

Canada is set to play a key role in Britain’s drive to spread the inbound tourism load more equitably throughout a nation where the capital city currently accounts for 53% of all inbound spend; leaving 35% for the rest of England, 8% for Scot-land and 2% for Wales… Read >>

What’s next for Nexion Canada?

Host agency Nexion Canada is looking for significant membership expansion, including a possible move into Quebec, over the next couple of years and is banking on its brand-new technology platform to pique the interest of home-based retailers… Read >>

They did the right thing

A new study has shown conclusively that Florida state legislators made the correct choice when they overturned an attempt to axe public sector funding of Visit Florida. The Direct Influencer Study proved that money spent on tourism marketing is money well spent… Read >>

Florida governor Scott receives leadership award
A well-deserved honour

Florida’s governor has been honoured by the US Travel Association for his ongoing commitment to tourism, but largely for his protracted and ultimately successful legislative battle to maintain full funding for the state’s destination marketing organization… Read >>

Visit Florida ready to take back Canada

Visit Florida was “asleep at the wheel” while Canadian visitation submarined over 15 consecutive quarters, but a “major initiative” is in the works to kick-start a rebound after “taking the market for granted.”.. Read >>

What slump?
Canada–USA traffic continues to rise

So much for the Trump Slump!
The anticipated transborder visitor fall-off, fueled by opposition to the new president, has failed to materialize. To the contrary, the Canada–USA traffic count has risen for six of the first eight months since Donald Trump was elected last November… Read >>

Air Canada taking off to Tokyo from Montreal
B-787 Dreamliner service begins June 1, 2018

Air Canada’s $200-million investment in launching an upcoming direct flight from Montreal to Tokyo Narita next summer, along with the huge amount already spent since 2016 on 16 new routes to five continents, will almost certainly be mirrored with significant investment in terminal expansion at Trudeau Airport sooner than originally planned… Read >>

Canadian travel buying trends captured
Sorry, but we’re different

“Canadians are not Americans.”
That might seem blindingly obvious to readers of CTP but it was the key takeaway from a study of Canadian travel-buying habits outlined to a predominantly American audience of travel marketers at the recent Destinations International annual congress in Montreal… Read >>

Transborder contradictions

The bad news: Transborder travel in both directions declined in May. The good news: Both the north and southbound high-value air travel segments remained in growth mode… Read >>

Air Canada declaring victory
Evolving into a global champion

Air Canada chief executive Calin Rovinescu is declaring “victory” in the carrier’s long-running cost-cutting campaign and says the new battle for the airline will be fought on the earnings front… Read >>