Travel Courier
Issue Date: Jun 20, 2019

Agents’ Choice Gala celebrates industry favourites, Raptors’ victory

A night to remember


(Photo above: All smiles as they pose for the camera (l-r) are Terry Mundell, president and CEO of the Greater Toronto Hotel Association; the 2019 recipient of the W.H. Baxter Lifetime Achievement Award, Josef Ebner; and Baxter Media’s president, David McClung.)

The second annual Agents’ Choice Gala certainly lived up to its reputation as being the Canadian travel industry’s equivalent to Hollywood’s Oscars.

It was glitz and glamour at Toronto’s Arcadian Court, as close to 400 travel industry stars sparkled during an evening that celebrated Canadian travel agents’ supplier favourites in 43 categories in the 20th anniversary issue of Agents’ Choice Awards Readership Survey.

And in 2019, 6,512 travel agents from coast to coast cast ballots in Canada’s only national travel agent readership survey.

Highlights of the evening – and there were no end of them – included:

• The presentation of 43 awards to supplier favourites in 43 categories.

• 10 new favourites in six different categories.

• The presentation of the 2019 W.H. Baxter Award to Josef Ebner, RVP-Canada & managing director at Langham Hospitality Group – Chelsea Hotel Toronto.

• The presentation of the Favourite Supplier Reps awards to 35 of this country’s favourite business development managers.

• Our presenting sponsors – Air Canada & Air Canada rouge, Trafalgar and Sandals.

• Our feature sponsors – WestJet, TravelBrands, the Jamaica Tourist Board,
Tourism Ireland and Royal Irish Tours.

• Our twitter feed – – was on fire, thanks to the help of our friends at Bannikin; our own editiorial staff; and, naturally, the tweets and posts from those attending.

• And it was THE evening that close to 400 of Canada’s top travel industry professionals were all together to witness the Toronto Raptors win their first National Basketball Association championship, making history by becoming the first Canadian professional basketball team to achieve this.

In her welcome remarks at this year’s Gala, Baxter Media’s executive vice-president, Wendy McClung told
the audience that, “Travel agents have been our constant and have always played a vital role. They are the front line sellers, the face of your company to their clients. There are no better advocates
for the professionalism of this industry than our hard-working travel agents.”

Baxter Media’s executive editor, Bob Mowat, pointed out that, “Over the course of 20 years, one of the things that we’ve discovered is that suppliers who build their businesses in ways that make things better for travel agents are the ones who’ve become the perennial favourites of the agency community.”

And he continued, “I believe that speaks to how this industry has changed and matured since the late 1990s [when Agents’ Choice was launched]. Agents and suppliers have found common ground. They have recognized that they are stronger together than apart, and while disagreements may arise from time to time, working as partners will always be the better way.”

Stay tuned … there will be more stories and photos on the second annual Agents’ Choice Awards Gala in upcoming issues of Travel Courier and Canadian Travel Press.