Agents' Choice 2018

Ann Ruppenstein

Assistant Editor/Photographer

When she got the call to come in for a job interview at Baxter Travel Media, Ann Ruppenstein had to push it back a week as she was out of the country trekking for mountain gorillas and chimpanzees in Rwanda and Uganda.
Armed with a journalism degree from Ryerson University, where she also studied photography, and several years of experience working for community newspapers in Toronto, she started working for Travel Courier and Canadian Travel Press in 2015.
The Emo-born and Thunder Bay-raised writer got a taste for travel at a young age, spending her summers in Germany growing up, and now calls Toronto home.
Specialties include: destination features, trade profiles, adventure travel, luxury travel, weddings/romance.
Favourite part of the job: Aside from the travel, getting to profile some of the most influential people in the industry. A memorable highlight was flying in a private jet with Sandals Resorts’ CEO and deputy chairman Adam Stewart.
Overall country count: 26 and counting.
Best travel memory: visiting with mountain gorillas in Rwanda, trekking Machu Picchu and taking in the FIFA World Cup in Brazil.
What’s still on your bucket list: Antarctica, Patagonia, Ecuador/Galapagos, South Africa, Iceland, Laos, Croatia, Vietnam and the list goes on.

Savouring Switzerland
There’s much to see, do and taste

In the beginning, there was Thomas Cook — so to say. Switzerland’s roots as a tourist destination can be traced back to 1863, when a documented tour led by the international travel company brought a group to the Central European country for a holiday… Read >>

Travel transformation
Contiki research reveals seeing the world makes people better

“It’s something that we all think, that travel just makes us all better people. People who are well-travelled are always so open-minded,” Gabrielle Nydam, president of Contiki Canada tells Travel Courier. “At Contiki, we were like we can’t start saying these things anecdotally — we need to figure out why, and what are those aspects that really drive change, and is it true?”… Read >>

Is it the destination or is it the journey?
With Insight Vacations & Luxury Gold, it may just be both

Sometimes how you travel can be just as important as where you actually go.
Such was the case for Insight Vacations & Luxury Gold president Brad Ford, who embarked on Luxury Gold’s Ultimate Italy journey and saw the popular European destination in a new light… Read >>

Finding the balance on the road to success
Ingrid Jarrett

To illustrate the impact of immersive travel, Ingrid Jarrett tells the tale of arriving in Fiji at 4 a.m. with her daughters in tow. “There were three gorgeous Fijian men in sarongs playing guitars and singing a Fijian ballad to us, and we got off on the tarmac and everyone was so tired and so cranky, and all of a sudden we were on vacation,” she recalls… Read >>

Re-imagined relaxation
at Hyatt Ziva Puerto Vallarta

It’s been said that Puerto Vallarta was truly put on the map after the 1964 movie release of The Night of the Iguana, which showcased the natural beauty of the destination. The fact that celebrities like Richard Burton, Ava Gardner and Elizabeth Taylor spent time in the scenic Mexican area on the Bay of Banderas … Read >>

And the award goes to…
Canadian agents shine with Karisma

The Canadian contingency on hand for Karisma Hotels & Resorts’ recent 10th Annual Gourmet Inclusive Vacation Consultant (GIVC) Awards – a four day event in Riviera Maya, Mexico celebrating top performing travel professionals from across North America – walked away with notable recognition… Read >>

Growing, growing, growing
Karisma set to double its portfolio with global expansion

Karisma Hotels & Resorts’ Daniel Scheiman took the recent marketing forum at the 10th annual Gourmet Inclusive Vacation Consultants conference as a platform to let travel agents – the company’s No. 1 partner – know there’s plenty of developments in the works… Read >>

The adventure advantage
Special Agent G takes education to new heights

Put on by G Adventures at the adventure operator’s Base Camp over the course of a weekend, the interactive Special Agent G (SAG) program goes far beyond educating the trade about the company, says Denise Harper, director of sales, Canada for G Adventures… Read >>

Women In Travel
Taking the risk is worth the reward

They’re movers and shakers. Their contributions have changed and continue to change the nature of travel, both in Canada and around the world. In this week’s issue, Canadian Travel Press’ series of profiles on Women in Travel continues for the last instalment of 2017, featuring’s CEO Gillian Tans… Read >>

Looking back, moving forward
Tour operators talk about the year that was and what’s to come

From the Trump Slump or the Trump Bump to travel bans and natural disasters, the past year was full of surprising moments that impacted the travel industry. Here we sat down with Canadian and international tour operators to get the lowdown on what was unexpected in 2017 and what to expect in 2018… Read >>

Enjoy the ride
Sandals kicks into Overdrive

From approved plans to build simultaneous Sandals and Beaches branded resorts in Trinidad and Tobago to the unique features set for Sandals Royal Barbados – the all-suite property slated to open on Dec. 20 complete with a rooftop pool and bar, and a four-lane bowling alley… Read >>

Rejuvenating influence
Agents a driving force as Canadian visits to Caribbean grow

The Caribbean Tourism Organization’s secretary general Hugh Riley believes travel agents are a growing force in booking travel to the region. “Travel agents are major influencers in booking travel to the Caribbean and getting more so than before,” he tells Canadian Travel Press… Read >>

Discovering Ireland
It’s wild, it’s ancient and so much more

Between increased air access, the ease of getting around and visitor arrivals from Canada growing to 203,000 last year, there are many reasons for agents to sell Ireland, but Debbie Moran, trade engagement advisor for Failte Ireland can add to the list… Read >>