Ahead of launching twice-weekly service to Daytona Beach, Sunwing Travel Group held a one-day FAM trip to the destination yesterday (Nov. 20), where 120 travel agents and 20 media were met with much fanfare.
Although the route doesn’t officially take flight until Jan. 28, a ribbon cutting ceremony took place to mark the festive occasion: the return of international service to the Florida locale.
“We’d love to bring Canadians here to get some Florida weather this winter, it has an absolutely gorgeous beach and it’s a destination that’s really come back,” Sunwing’s chief operating officer Andrew Dawson told PressToday. “We’re at the Hard Rock Hotel, which is the quality of anything you’d see in the best places in the Caribbean so I think it’s a destination that’s really on the up and up.”
According to Dawson, the trade remains integral to the company’s success.
“Travel agents are our main source of business still, by a long, long way,” he said. “That’s why we brought everybody today, so they can see Daytona for themselves.”
Flights will operate on Mondays and Thursdays, representing the only Canadian carrier to fly direct to Daytona Beach International Airport.
“We’re very proud to bring the ‘international’ back into the International Airport,” Dawson said ahead of the ribbon-cutting ceremony.
According to Kate Holcomb of the Daytona Beach Convention and Visitors Bureau, Canadians are the top international market for the area.
“We’re so excited about Sunwing being here, when I was at the airport this morning when it landed I was actually getting emotional,” she said. “It’s so much fun and I’m so happy they’re here. The Canadians are absolutely important. They are our major international market. Of all the international visitors that we have, Canada is number one.”
Dave Wright, director of sales for Ontario and Atlantic Canada at Sunwing Travel Group, also announced those who participated in the FAM are eligible for a booking incentive and have the opportunity to win a three-night return stay in Daytona.
“The purpose of this FAM is to see and familiarize yourself with the destination, to come back and hopefully sell a lot,” he said.
Stay tuned for more on Sunwing Travel Group and Daytona Beach in an upcoming edition of Canadian Travel Press.
Pictured (top) at Hard Rock Hotel Daytona Beach are Sunwing Travel Group’s Maureen Meheu, Billy Wheeler of the Volusia County Council, Sunwing Travel Group’s Marissa Maheu-Mendes and Reg Mendes, Kate Holcomb of the Daytona Beach Convention and Visitors Bureau and Georgia Carter Turner, West Volusia Tourism Advertising Authority. Middle: the ribbon cutting ceremony at Daytona Beach International Airport. Below: a snippet from the day in Daytona.