COVID-19 Update: Transat, Brand USA, CTO And More

Transat A.T. Inc. says it intends to use the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) to propose that its 4,000 employees who are currently temporarily laid off return to employment.

On March 23, Transat announced the temporary layoff of 70% of its staff when it was forced by the COVID-19 pandemic to temporarily suspend its flights. Other layoffs followed, eventually totalling 80% of its workforce.

Employees who are recalled will receive 75% of their baseline remuneration as defined in Bill 14: A Second Act Respecting Certain Measures in Response to COVID-19, to a maximum of $847 per week.

They will not be required to work as part of their recall.

This measure will both improve Transat employees’ compensation conditions and better position the company to more easily resume its regular operations following the crisis.

Transat president and chief executive officer, Jean-Marc Eustache said: “Temporarily laying off a large majority of our employees was a necessary but heartbreaking decision. We are very pleased today to be able to offer them this opportunity. Our employees are Transat’s greatest asset and I hope this will bring them some comfort in the face of a situation that is so distressing for all of us.”

Tune In TO GoUSA TV on April 23

Thomas Garzilli, chief marketing officer for Brand USA, is reaching out to the organization’s partners to get them to encourage people to tune into GoUSATV on April 23, 2020 at 12 noon EDT.

Writes Garzilli:

“Travel isn’t just an industry, it’s part of the human condition. Whether to find oneself, experience another culture or just relax and unwind, the desire to discover the world is hardwired into our DNA. As times have changed, the ways travelers form perceptions of a place have changed too – from stone tablets to books to movies to tablets again. Yet one thing has remained the same – our need to share experiences via storytelling.”

He points out that:

“Now that the coronavirus has paused most face-to-face interactions the world over, people are engaging with each other via social media and streaming more video content than ever before. In fact, Nielsen reports a 60% increase in global content consumption. GoUSA TV, Brand USA’s streaming video network, provides us the opportunity to tap into the power of entertainment to ensure our USA destinations will be top of mind when people are ready to book again.”

And Garzilli continues:

“Importantly, the phenomenon of binge-watching TV and movies is a global one; as true in the United States as it is all over the world. Organic views of GoUSA TV in the USA have already reached almost 1MM with a session duration of more than seven minutes, which means the channel is as relevant to domestic vacation planning as it is to international trip inspiration.”

He also said that:

“This platform is perfectly suited to the times we live in, and it provides a unique opportunity to immerse global audiences in everything the USA has to offer: the great outdoors, urban adventure, road trips and a wide diversity of cultures and experiences.”

As for how to get involved, Brand USA’s chief marketing officer explains:

“We want you to help us encourage downloads of the channel – domestically and internationally – by sharing a post containing download information with your constituents, families and friends on Thursday, April 23, 2020. Simply cut and paste the post, video link and hashtags below to your destination social channels (personal, if you’d like, too.) on Thursday, April 23, 2020 at 12:00 PM EDT, to invite your colleagues, friends, fans and followers to download and watch. It’s easy. It’s free. And there’s never been a better time to share the amazing travel stories to be found in the USA.”

And Garzilli asks:

“Travel planning on hold? We’ve got a quick fix! GoUSA TV features travel stories from across the United States with no subscription, no fees and no logins required. Watch full episodes, documentaries and films, told from the diverse perspectives of real people across America. Download. Escape. Explore. Get it for free on Apple iOS and Android; also available on Roku, Apple TV and Amazon Fire.” 


Garzilli also offers some fast facts about GoUSA TV for those you aren’t familiar with it.

  • The programs offered on the channel feature narrative-based storytelling and best-in-class production quality.
  • The content on the channel is a mix of original, partner-provided and licensed videos.
  • GoUSA TV is free of charge and is available on OTT (over-the-top) platforms Roku, Apple TV, and Amazon Fire; as a smartphone app on iOS and Android; and via YouTube.

And he adds:

“While you’re on the channel, notice that we’re focused on mid-form content. If you have video storytelling 4-12 minutes in length that you’d like us to consider for the TV network, please send a link to [email protected] .

For those who need more information, go to

And he concludes:

“Thank you for your help getting the world to engage with GoUSA TV.”

And if you want to check out the trailer video, go to Link to Brand USA trailer —

CTO Launches Podcast Series

The Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) has released the first of a series of podcasts that it has been working on.

The episode looks at the issue of coping with the stress of working from home during the crisis – an issue raised at recent CTO meetings.

To listen, just go to or it’s also on Facebook at

In the first of CTO’s podcasts, Dr. Katija Khan, a clinical psychologist at the University of the West Indies St. Augustine, and a member of the UWI COVID-19 task force, shares some helpful recommendations on hope to cope.

Khan touches on issues that connect work, mental health and the coronavirus crisis.

And she linked this to stress — the leading pathway to mental health problems at work — boundaries, mental flexibility, substance use, communication , support from supervisors, exercise and more.

So, sit back, relax and take a listen to the CTO’s new podcast series

A Message From Tourcan Vacations

Phillip Solomon, general manager of Tourcan Vacations, in a message to agents and their clients that:

“Together, we are facing a truly unprecedented time in our lives. The Covid-19 pandemic is having an impact on our families, our businesses, our communities and our daily life.”

He continues: “Our thoughts and prayers are with those who have been impacted by the virus. To those who are ill, we extend our wishes for a full recovery. We are truly grateful and very much inspired by the ongoing efforts of all healthcare and front line workers.”

And Solomon says that: “Tourcan Vacations’ employees are working from home where they are set up to support and assist you. Despite the challenges that we are all going through right now, we will continue to provide you with the high level of service that we have delivered for the past 33 years. Both our Tours and Air Departments have been working diligently to assist you and your clients, and will continue to do so.  We are there for you.”

Solomon says: “We wish to thank you, our clients in the travel industry, for your patience, encouragement and ongoing support.”

And Tourcan’s general manger concludes: “As we navigate our way through these uncertain times it is great to know that we are part of a community that always supports each other.  This support and the feeling of community will help us make it through this Pandemic to better times.  Tourcan Vacations will be there for you.”

Go to for more.