Agents' Choice 2018

Bob Mowat

Executive Editor

Travel Editor

Bob Mowat

Graduate – University of Toronto with Bachelor of Arts (English)

Graduate – Ryerson Polytechnical Institute with Bachelor of Applied Arts (Journalism)

Joined Baxter Publishing in 1980 as a staff writer and has spent the last 37 years covering all aspects of Canada’s travel and tourism.

In 1987, he was named managing editor of Canadian Travel Press

In 2005, he was named executive editor for Baxter Travel Media

Specialties include: travel industry technology; distribution issues; the travel agency marketplace; Canadian domestic tourism, the impact of the environment on travel and tourism, etc.

Born and raised in Toronto

Currently resides in Leslieville with his wife, Dianne, two children, Ezra and Noah, a Bassett Hound named Ivy, a rescued beagle-basset cross called Ollie and an adopted gray cat, named Mog.

It’s Bob’s turn to answer your questions:

How many countries have you been to?
Somewhere between 40 and 50 … they wouldn’t let me include the countries I’ve visited multiple times … and I still argue that a theme park should count as a country … shout out to my friends at Disney, Universal, SeaWorld and others … help me out here … I’d probably be well over 100 …well at least 75 …

What are some of your favourite travel experiences to date?
Have always wondered with travel whether it’s the things you do or the people that you meet that make the experience … I tend to favour the latter … have met a lot of exceptional people over the years … and everyone of them has added to my understanding of the world we live in …

What’s still on your bucket list?
Haven’t made one … so nothing … although I might put one together after I win the jackpot in the lottery – any lottery … Seriously, though, I’d like to do the Turner Classic Movie Film Festival in Hollywood one of these days … love old movies … simpler times … I mean, somebody gets shot … you give ’em a brandy and a cigarette and they’re good to go … if it’s a kid, they don’t get the brandy, they get a glass of water instead … but they still get the cigarette … those were the days

What’s your favourite part of the job?
Sitting down and talking to somebody about something that they’re passionate about …

What’s your favourite saying?
At the risk of sounding like a Luddite – as I do have an iPad – my favourite saying is: “I don’t have a smartphone … I like the quiet”

VisitBritain rolls out new campaign in Canada
‘I Travel For …’

“Why do you travel?”
That’s a question that everybody is asking….Read >>

Vision Travel
Cutting through the clutter in search of the big surprise

For those out there who believe that Vision Travel is only about corporate travel, you may want to have a bit of a chat with Lynda Sinclair, vice-president, leisure travel for Vision, who admits that this is a pretty common misconception about the company…Read >>

Canada making postive vibrations for Jamaica
Security measures have no impact on tourists

Jamaica’s Minister of Tourism, Edmund Bartlett arrived in Toronto during the bitterly cold first week of February with a message that was all about growth and reassurance. Bartlett told Travel Courier that, “I’m here to strengthen [our] marketing efforts and to build new and exciting partnerships to keep the growth momentum …Read >>

Travel with a purpose

If you accept the fact that all travel has a purpose – from simply flying and flopping on a beach to heading to a business meeting or conference in another city – then you’ll also recognize that there are a number (some would say growing number) of your clients who are looking for something more than that…Read >>

The Right Recipe
Transat has a taste for growth in Europe

It became pretty clear, pretty quickly that Transat Tours Canada is set on growing its business in Europe – during both the upcoming winter season and on into the summer of 2018.
In fact, Transat’s vice-president, national sales and commercial, Denise Heffron was quick to point out that in 2018,..Read >>

Ready for the bricks & mortar evolution

For the past 15 years, people have been telling Nathalie Boyer that traditional bricks & mortar travel agencies are simply not relevant and will soon disappear.
Well, it hasn’t happened and although Boyer, general manager of Transat Distribution Canada (TDC), is certainly keenly aware of the challenges the retail travel business faces these days …Read >>

Speak out… speak up
There are men who will listen… and support you…

Sexual harassment has been a topic of discussion in the travel trade media, at cocktail receptions and at other industry events of late. While the conversation has focused on the travel industry specifically, this is a behaviour that crosses all boundaries and, sadly, is one of the darker characteristics of the human condition. In this week’s issue of CTP, executive editor, Bob Mowat offers his personal comments on the issue…Read >>

It’s all about choice
Air Canada sets a course to the future with launch of Branded Fares

One of the first things that Virgilio Russi will tell you about Air Canada’s launch of Branded Fares is that it’s a “good news story” that’s “going to have a big impact” for Air Canada, for its distribution partners and for their customers…Read >>

Discover Portugal’s secrets
Culture, nature, gastronomy, wine and its people

If you ask Ana Mendes Godinho why Portugal is such a hot destination, she’ll smile and politely tell you the following:
“I would say that [Portugal] is a warm destination – not hot. It’s warm because of the climate. It’s warm because of the people. It’s warm because of the offer…Read >>

Virginia takes it to a new level
‘Canadians love what we have’

At certain times of the year, Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe says, you’ll see more Canadian licence plates on the state’s highways than Virginia licence plates.
Considering that right now, Canadians represent 51% of the state’s international visi-
tors that shouldn’t really come as a surprise…Read >>

Are You Being Served?
Air Canada gives agents new options with Liaison, GSU

In a move designed to provide better and faster support to home-based and smaller, independent agencies, Air Canada has rolled out Air Canada Liaison.
The self-service platform was launched earlier this year and is presently being used by over 100 agencies, and company officials are confident that its use by the agency community will continue to grow…Read >>

ACTA at 40
The industry’s voice – past, present and future

For those of you old enough to cast your mind back 40 years, you’ll remember that the Association of Canadian Travel Agencies (ACTA) was born at a time when the Canadian travel industry was looking to establish its own identity…Read >>

Taking care of business by taking care of agents

If there’s one thing that you’ll take away from a conversation with Denise Heffron and Nicole Bursey (pictured above) it’s that the company they work for is all about retail travel agents.
Heffron, vice-president, national sales and commercial and Bursey, commercial director for Transat sat down with Canadian Travel Press recently to talk about how the company has retained that agent-centric focus, while evolving into the business it is today…Read >>

Welcome to the Travel Universe
Lufthansa Group exploring new ways to create experiences

Since he took over as vice-president of sales, The Americas for the Lufthansa Group in January of this year, Tamur Goudarzi-Pour (pictured above left, with Lufthansa Group Canada’s Hans DeHaan) has been living in rather interesting times, having had to deal with the Trump Administration’s travel bans and its new rules for bringing electronics on board aircraft…
Read >>

Gary gets the whole pie

Many years ago, I sat down to interview Gary Sadler for the first time … and toward the end of the conversation, he delivered a line that just begged to go into a headline.
We were talking about all the things that Sandals was doing to help agents make more money…Read >>

Avalon charts active course for 2017
Luxury line sees double-digit rebound over 2016

These are busy days for Avalon Waterways.
Terri Burke, the river cruise line’s managing director (pictured above with Globus’ Patrice Geske (l) and Stephanie Bishop (r) at the Globus family of brands’ offices in Toronto), was in Toronto recently to update the trade on all of the new happenings on the company’s itinerary as it sails into the future… Read >>

There’s more to Florida than meets the eye

Ken Lawson (pictured above) isn’t shy about telling you that Canada is Florida’s No. 1 international market and that the Sunshine State is about to double-down on its activities here.
Lawson, who took over as president & CEO of Visit Florida in January of this year, was in Toronto this month to meet with key suppliers and let them know exactly how committed Florida is to the Canadian market… Read >>

Everything’s coming together for Portuguese carrier
TAP takes off

David Neeleman agrees that his involvement with TAP Portugal is something a little different for him. Neeleman has a track record of founding or being part of group’s launching low-cost carriers like WestJet, JetBlue (which he founded), Morris Air (which was sold to Southwest) and today, is the CEO of Brazil’s Azul Airlines… Read >>

Practicing the art of the possible in unsettled times

In unsettled times, whether it’s in business or on a personal level, sometimes the best way to calm things down is to reach out to your colleagues and friends for some reassurance.
And that’s exactly what a late spring visit to Toronto by a staggeringly large and impressively high-powered group of senior California tourism executives was all about… Read >>

Hong Kong, Taiwan taking it to the next level

If there’s a secret to success, it’s probably to be found in the way that Hong Kong is continually coming to market with something new.
Consider, for example, the fact that for many years now, the Hong Kong Tourism Board (HKTB) – along with promoting the wonders of Hong Kong – has been regularly developing a multi-destinational Asia travel strategy… Read >>

Irish tourism telling a brand new story
Changing the narrative

If you’re wondering why the people at Tourism Ireland are all smiles these days, stop wondering, the answer is simple: Ireland’s tourism industry has just turned in its fourth consecutive record year in terms of both visitors and revenues… Read >>

Virginia: all about quality of life and you’ve got to love that

Virginia has always been for lovers, but over the past two decades or so it has also given Canadians – and their travel agents – a whole bunch of very particular reasons to fall in love with its many and varied tourism offerings… Read >>

WestJet 2022
Taking its caring culture global

One of the things that Jane Clementino (pictured above far left, with (left to right): Kim Barbisan, Melissa Wallace, Matthew Djorsev, Christian Roussin, Joshua Knox, Shannon Cunningham,
Emily Spadafora, Denise Saunders ) is telling travel agents these days is that as WestJet follows its Vision 2022 plan to become a global airline in the next five years, its “culture of caring” won’t be changing… Read >>

Is this retail travel’s Airbnb?
Exclusive to Canadian Travel Press

In late March of this year, San Francisco start-up, FlyEx rolled out a personalized, on-demand, peer-to-peer travel booking and messaging platform (called Travel Chat) at SXSW (South By Southwest) in Austin, Texas… Read >>

It’s all about travel consultants
And just maybe, finding the Next Big Thing

If you ask Jason Merrithew what travel consultants need to do to be successful going forward, he’ll tell you the following:
“The travel consultants of tomorrow need to understand that they’re dealing with consumers that have never ever been more informed than they are today… Read >>

Growth and acquisition
It’s all about shared values

Company founder, Michael Merrithew is quick to answer: “We’re interested in talking with people in Canada or the US – that’s going to be our primary focus… Read >>

Trust in the sharing economy
Industry panel takes deep-dive look at emerging travel trends

Top industry executives were on hand in Toronto last week for a panel discussion on some of the key trends that will be shaping the travel marketplace both in Canada and globally for some time to come… Read >>

Merit goes global
Deal with H.I.S. Co. paves way for investment in growth

Welcome to the future!
While there’s no sign with that message actually hanging outside Merit Travel’s offices these days, there probably should be, as the mood emanating from the company’s Toronto headquarters – following its blockbuster deal with Japan’s H.I.S. Co. Ltd. – is on the turbo-charged side of upbeat… Read >>

Who’s keeping the Merrithews up at night?

Donald Trump.
That’s who’s keeping Michael and Jason Merrithew up at nights these days.
Now, Mike Merrithew, founder of the Merit Travel Group, can certainly point to a number of other factors, observing:… Read >>

Talking about the next generation
Tripxpertz launches new approach to online travel selling

“Content,” observes Brad Miron, “is the new travel currency.”
Miron, the founder and CEO of TripXpertz, sat down with Canadian Travel Press during the last week of January to talk about the launch of TripXpertz, which he described as a virtual agency website network of “destinational-focused sites that have high engaging content to address the gap between utility-based sites and where consumers really want to go.”.. Read >>

Keep your eye on the ball, there’s money on the table

So the question arose during CTP’s conversation with Lindsay Pearlman as to whether Ensemble Travel’s members are “change adverse” or “change embracing.”
It was another question that made Pearlman smile, before he responded with a cryptic: “Yes.”.. Read >>

Always ready for the next evolution
Ensemble Travel at 50

Cast your mind back to 1968.
If you’re a student of travel industry history, you might just recollect a group of 10 travel agents in Brooklyn, New York – led by Warren Buckner – who banded together to launch the Greater Independent Association of Travel Services or GIANTS… Read >>

The secret to a good night’s sleep
And how 140 characters is shaping the marketplace

If you ask Lindsay Pearlman (pictured above) what keeps him up at night as he looks ahead in 2017, you’ll probably be greeted by a big smile and a good deal of laughter.
“The question,” says Ensemble’s co-president, should really be: “Are there things that let me sleep when I look at 2017. You know, the biggest thing right now is [Donald] Trump.”.. Read >>