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”
Value-based, low cost and a whole lot more
Air Canada rouge
If you want to understand what Air Canada rouge is all about – including how it has changed in the six years since its launch – it would be well worth the time to corner the carrier’s president, Duncan Bureau, and have a chat…Read >>
Delivering the right message to the right people at the right time
A great global team. A wealth of air access that continues to increase. Consistent and 0ngoing investment in its tourism products and programs. And the solid long-term relationship that it has built with the travel trade around the world…Read >>
Making changes for the better
Flight Centre Canada
Ask Gavin Miller whether a world that is digitally transforming itself is going to change Flight Centre’s strategy, and he’ll tell you: “The retail strategy is evolving and it changes, but, in essence, it’s a very similar one that we’ve had for years which is that we really value and we believe strongly in the human, person-to-person expertise in that relationship…Read >>
Tollman talks about TTC’s commitment to agents
Late last year, Canadian Travel Press had a chance to sit down with the Travel Corporation’s (TTC) chief executive, Brett Tollman and talk about the role of travel agents and where they fit in the scheme of things today and into the future…Read >>
Barbados: Doing tourism differently
It’s a bit of an understatement to say that there’s a lot going on in Barbados’ tourism industry these days. The election of a new government in May of 2018 has certainly signalled that change is blowing across the island, and, by and large, it’s good news insofar as it reflects a commitment to do tourism differently…Read >>
Jamaica has big plans for Canada in 2019
The Jamaica Tourist Board’s director of tourism, Donovan White was in Canada in mid-January to meet with the Canadian travel trade, explaining: “We always do these check-ins with our partners that look after business for us here – the airlines, the tour operators – to ensure that we’re doing the right things and they’re seeing the results; and that we continue to do the things we do in terms of creating a great destination for vacationers.”..Read >>
The Flight Centre Way
In the first part of a two-part interview with Flight Centre Canada’s Gavin Miller, the talk focuses on digital transformation and what that means for Flight Centre’s business in particular and the retail travel business in general…Read >>
Canada a favourite with Dan Hotels
Top officials from Dan Hotels were in Canada recently to meet with the travel trade and to get a sense of where the market was headed from the people on the ground here. Asked about the significance of the Canadian market for Dan Hotels, the hotel company’s director of international marketing, Rafi Baeri told Canadian Travel Press: “Well, first of all, I have to say the Canadian market is important for Israel because if we are talking about a market the size of Canada..”,..Read >>
The new WestJet – it’s all about choice
You might say that Christmas came early at WestJet this year, as the Calgary-based carrier showcased the interiors of its new 787-9 Dreamliner and offered a detailed update on what to expect from the airline in 2019 during its second Investors Day event in Toronto earlier this month…Read >>
Lufthansa is committed to agents
Canada, travel agents and a whole lot more were topics of the first of a two-part conversation when Canadian Travel Press sat down with the Lufthansa Group’s senior vice-president sales for Lufthansa Hub Airlines and chief commercial officer (CCO) Hub Frankfurt, Heike Birlenbach…Read >>
The new WestJet loves where it’s going
Richard Bartrem loves where WestJet is going these days. Which is a good thing, considering that as the Calgary-based carrier’s vice-president, marketing communications, he leads the team that’s responsible for “how we’re going to start defining WestJet going forward” – a process that’s already well underway with a host of initiatives already rolled out and its new “Love Where You’re Going” campaign now in the market…Read >>
The TreadRight Foundation: Driven to make travel better
“We’ve learned many lessons,” said Brett Tollman, chief executive of The Travel Corporation (TTC), when asked about TTC’s TreadRight Foundation’s first decade, explaining: “We keep learning, which I think is part of any successful process.”..Read >>
Using the power of indigenous craft and art to reach people
Ask Sarain Fox what the Manitobah Mukluks Storyboot Project is all about, and she’ll tell you the following: “It’s really all about people. Indigenous people and the commitment to ensuring that indigenous craftsmanship and the art of mukluk making and moccasin making continues long into the future.”..Read >>
Vacations beyond belief
Israel Finds Success Selling Urban Experiences And A Whole Lot More
These are definitely good times for the tourism industry in Israel, but top officials aren’t prepared to sit on their laurels, as they clearly know just how competitive this business is.
In fact, the director general of the Israel Ministry of Tourism (IMOT), Amir Halevi, and its acting director of the overseas department, marketing administration, Eyal Carlin, were in Canada this week to meet with airlines, tour operators and OTAs here…Read >>
Transat Distribution Canada: Welcome to the evolution of retail travel
In the second part of CTP’s exclusive interview with TDC’s Nathalie Boyer and Susan Bowman, the conversation focuses on challenges, growth and a whole lot more…Read >>
It’s not as scary as you may think
Welcome to the future
If the truth be told, the future may not be as scary as you may think. Consider, for example, a story that Transat Distribution Canada’s (TDC) general manager Nathalie Boyer tells about taking her 13-year-old son Samuel to her office recently and asking him to put together a report for her on robots and new technologies that she could use for a presentation…Read >>
Jamaica make it new
Jamaica’s Minister of Tourism, Edmund Bartlett arrived in Toronto in early September, and, while he’s always a good interview, his mission this time around was to introduce the Jamaica Tourist Board’s director of tourism, Donovan White to some of the key players in the Canadian travel trade…Read >>
WestJet realigns fares, sets course for the future
Summer is over and it’s time to get back to work. And that’s exactly what WestJet and its travel agency partners will be doing as the Calgary-based carrier realigns its fare class structure and moves to a multi-cabin configuration on all of its aircraft on Sept. 15…Read >>
Make it authentic. Make it Jamaica.
Ask Donovan White what his brief is, and he’ll tell you that it’s “to take what is a fantastic product and make it even more fantastic.” The Jamaica Tourist Board’s (JTB) director of tourism was in Toronto along with the island’s Minister of Tourism, Edmund Bartlett, and the JTB’s regional director Canada, Philip Rose, talking to the Canadian travel trade about not only what Jamaica will have on offer during the upcoming winter 2018-2019 season, but also how the destination is adapting to a changing tourism marketplace…Read >>
Virginia ramping up Canadian initiatives
The Virginia Tourism Corporation (VTC) has taken its Canadian marketing activities in-house, picking Brigitte “Bri” Belanger-Warner as its new Canadian marketing representative.
In fact, Belanger-Warner has already been in Canada to meet with some of the state’s key travel agent and supplier partners…Read >>
It’s all about authenticity
Who are you?
In the third and final part of this three-part series, Meliá Hotels International’s vice-president of global brand strategy, Tony Cortizas talks with CTP about the company’s brand, what makes it stand out and how it is working to help travel agents…Read >>
It’s time to make it about the destination
In the second part of a three-part series, the conversation continues with Melia Hotels International’s vice-president of global brand strategy, Tony Cortizas. This week, he talks with Canadian Travel Press about the all-inclusive space; the Group’s plans for its Paradisus brand in the Asia Pacific region; and some of the trends driving the company’s strategy in this area…Read >>
Changing attitudes with a sustainable strategy
Meliá Hotels International
Talking to Tony Cortizas is always an experience and considering that he’s in the experience business that shouldn’t come as a surprise. Certainly the wide-ranging conversation that Canadian Travel Press had with Cortizas, the vice-president of global brand strategy for Melia Hotels International (MHI), during a recent visit he made to Canada, didn’t disappoint…Read >>
A perfect place to meet
Okay, when you think of Myrtle Beach, you think of the beach – right? Well, Julie Ellis of the Myrtle Beach Area Chamber of Commerce will enlighten you to the fact that for groups, meetings and incentives there are a whole lot of other options available in the destination to meet their needs. Plus, there is still the beach to enjoy…Read >>
Virginia is for lovers… and Canadians definitely love it
If you’ve got clients looking for arts, culture, history, food, wine, beer and outdoor adventure to name just a few of its many attractions, then the northern area of Virginia may be just what they’re looking for…Read >>
Canada is hot
Rocking it at the Best Western Leisure Travel Summit
According to three top travel industry executives, there’s no doubt that Canada is a hot – and getting hotter – destination these days. That was the clear message from Dorothy Dowling, chief marketing officer and senior vice-president from Best Western Hotels & Resorts, Suzie Grynol, president of the Hotel Association of Canada, and Brad Payea, head of industry relations for TripAdvisor during the 13th annual Best Western Leisure Travel Summit in Toronto last week…Read >>
Sunwing: With agents, every step of the way
In the travel business – as most know – timing is everything. So, it seems only fitting that the Sunwing Travel Group picked May to roll out its Winter 2018/2019 product line – a month when suppliers now celebrate the passion, hard work and dedication of their travel agency partners…Read >>
Transat: It’s all about building sustainable profitability
Exciting times, indeed, as the company embarks on its new five-year plan – “Building Sustainable Profitability” – and sets a course towards creating the Transat of tomorrow. Guiding the company along the way will be its new chief operating officer, Annick Guérard, who, in a conversation with Canadian Travel Press, explained that two of the key areas of Transat’s plan involve building and developing its hotel division and delivering operational efficiencies in its leisure travel business model…Read >>
We’ve still got a door!
The Travel Agent Next Door
It’s never easy starting a new business, and Flemming Friisdahl admits that he’s “very happy” that he still has a “door to walk through,” but clearly the planning that The Travel Agent Next Door’s founder and team did upfront has paid dividends…Read >>
Committed to taking care of agents and their customers
Allianz Global Assistance
One of the first things that travel agents need to know about Allianz Global Assistance is that the company is committed to taking care of its partners and their customers.
“There are two main things that travel agents need to know about Allianz Global Assistance,” …Read >>
The Travel Agent Next Door’s model for success
W i n . W i n . W i n .
A headline on a June 2017 Forbes article – “Why Win-Win-Win propositions are the future of business” – made me wonder whether or not Flemming Friisdahl could predict the future?
You see, four years earlier – as he was gearing up for the launch of The Travel Agent Next Door (TTAND) – Friisdahl told me much the same thing…Read >>
WestJet: Taking care of agents from coast to coast
Not to put too fine a point on it, there is a heck of a lot going on at WestJet these days. So, it seemed like a good idea to reach out to Jane Clementino, Director of Agency Sales and let her tell you the latest in the ongoing WestJet story…Read >>
Disney taking agents to Infinity And Beyond!
One of the first things that Claire Bilby, senior vice-president, sales & service for Walt Disney World, told a group of about 300 travel agents and tour operators in Toronto recently was “my team and I are your advocates – you’ve got a friend in us.”..Read >>
Air Canada: Making it simple and seamless
“It’s the best it has ever been,” responded Virgilio Russi when he was asked about Air Canada’s relationship with travel agents. “I think there has been a conscious effort from our side to improve that relationship and to set different parameters to the relationship – the focus has really been on partnership.”..Read >>
CATO: Taking care of business in its own, quiet way
Despite the cliché to the contrary, perception in not always the reality. Consider, for example, the Canadian Association of Tour Operators (CATO). It hasn’t had a very high profile – certainly not in the trade media – but it has been busy working closely with the Travel Industry Council of Ontario (TICO), ACTA and others on the changes that are being made to the province’s travel industry act…Read >>
VisitBritain rolls out new campaign in Canada
‘I Travel For …’
“Why do you travel?”
That’s a question that everybody is asking…Read >>
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 >>