Award Winning


For 16 years, members of the Canadian travel trade have been voting for their favourites in the annual Baxter Travel Media Agents’ Choice Awards.

Indeed, more than 5,200 ballots were completed last year, ensuring that the readership survey continues to be largest of its kind in the country.

All together there are 28 categories in which to choose “favourites,” ranging from favourite Adventure Operator to favourite Winter Sunspot.

This year, it might be noted, the Environmentally Friendly Co., category has been renamed Sustainable Travel Co. to reflect the wider notion of both social and environmental activities.

The Agents’ Choice Awards is conducted by Canadian Travel Press, Travel Courier and In Quebec the survey is promoted by Tourisme Plus.

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Even the shocking decline of the Canadian dollar has done little to dampen the enthusiasm of Florida’s tourist industry, which is poised to announce a fourth straight year of record visitations in 2014, reports managing editor, Michael Baginski in this week’s digital edition of Canadian Travel Press.

The economy of Canada, the state’s largest international market – providing close to a quarter of all non-U.S. visitors (3.7 million in 2013) — is obviously of keen interest in the Sunshine state, but officials are quick to point out that previous currency stumbles have had negligible effect on Canadians’ travelling intentions to Florida.

“The Canadian dollar has always been more of an emotional issue than a financial planning issue,” VISIT FLORIDA VP Alfredo Gonzalez told Canadian Travel Press last week at the Florida Huddle tourism trade show in Fort Lauderdale, citing state tourism studies in the past.

And as gas prices have been similarly plummeting, those savings would help offset any losses due to the exchange rate.

“Someone taking a 26-hour trip [from Canada to Florida] in a Winnebago is going to benefit immensely,” he said.

VISIT FLORIDA president and CEO Will Seccombe revealed at Huddle that the state had posted a record first, second and third quarter in 2014 and expected Q4 to follow suit. Those numbers would see Florida exceed the 93.7-million visitors it had in 2013 and put the state well on its way to achieving its goal of being “the number one tourism destination in the world.”

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With it’s 20th anniversary in 2014 still puffing its sails, Travel Professionals International (TPI) is looking ahead with optimism in 2015 and beyond.

“We’re growing the business… We see a lot of opportunity in front of us,” Morris Chia, president and CEO of the network of independent home-based travel advisors, told Canadian Travel Press.

Leading the way is investment in technology, but also human resources, with three more senior positions being added and increasing engagement with agents from its Winnipeg headquarters.

“With 20 years behind us, we’re investing in the next three to five years,” Chia said, adding that TPI continues to add agents, now topping 800.

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