Home Editorial Profiles Mike Dunbar

Mike started his journalism career on regional newspapers in the UK before joining Travel Trade Gazette International, working out of the London, Brussels and Stockholm offices. Hired by Canadian Travel Courier as Montreal editor, he immigrated to Canada in 1972. Has been in Montreal ever since, except for a brief period in Toronto where he edited Meetings and Incentive Travel. Joined Baxter Publications in 1990 when Bill Baxter acquired Travel Courier.
Mike is married to retired Air Canada flight attendant Donna and, together, they have two children – Laura and Michael – along with grandsons Jaxson and Brodie. He’s also the designated walker of Winnie the rescued English bulldog, when he’s not on the road that is.
Overall country count: About 75.
Best travel memories: Flying roundtrip from London to Beirut on a Concorde proving flight captained by legendary British Aerospace chief test pilot Brian Trubshaw, who announced on the return leg, “Ladies and gentleman, we just booted it out of Beirut and have set a new world record for a civil aircraft going from zero to mach one.”
Was also very fortunate to be invited by Elan Holidays to serve as a tour escort on a three week People’s Republic of China itinerary in 1979, when tourism there was in its infancy. Was responsible for herding 23 people and 29 bags from Tokyo to Hong Kong via Beijing, Shanghai, Hangzhou, Shaoxing and Guangzhou and am pleased to report that I didn’t lose a single one of either.
Bucket list: This career has been such a slice and so full of wonderful memories that I can’t think of anything specific, except perhaps for more of the same.


Quebec is flying high with Air Canada

In February 2016, when Air Canada opted to purchase 45 C-Series – now Airbus A-220 – aircraft with options on 30 more, it gave a significant $6 billion list-price boost to the Quebec economy… Read >>

Agencies moving from commodity to value selling

The world of airline retailing is changing, and the transformation the industry is going through in distribution and finance is being impacted by broader long-term global trends… Read >>

Breaking the invisible ceiling
IATA on course to bridge the gender gap

IATA has launched a new initiative designed to result in more women piloting airplanes, more men serving in the passenger cabin and more women making key decisions at the executive level… Read >>

Sustainable growth the path to a secure future for tourism
Forecast 2020

Worldwide travel and tourism GDP has outpaced overall global GDP for the past eight years, and the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) is predicting that the trend will continue for the next decade or so. That was the upbeat message delivered recently to Tourism Industry Association of Canada (TIAC) annual congress delegates by WTTC chief executive Gloria Guevara… Read >>

Welcome to The Bahamas, thank you for not cancelling

A mere two months after hurricane Dorian devastated Grand Bahama Island and the Abacos, causing dire collateral damage to the nation’s number-one industry, tourism to the Bahamas was at 80% of pre-storm numbers… Read >>

Doing the right thing
IATA taking aim at making air travel more accessible

Making air travel accessible to every person is simply the right thing to do, according to IATA senior VP Paul Steele. But there’s also a business consideration since a US study into the spending power of adults with disabilities has shown that the travel and tourism industry is losing out on a significant chunk of business by not making air travel accessible… Read >>

Still standing and ready to welcome visitors

The Bahamian tourism industry enjoyed a historic year in 2018, posting a record 6.6 million arrivals tally, and was maintaining momentum right up to the arrival of category five Hurricane Dorian. International arrivals in August were up 13%, including a 2.1% growth rate from Canada, while Canadian-originating air capacity was up 7% and fall bookings from here were looking strong… Read >>

Critical mass
Air Canada, key North American carriers taking the initiative on NDC

AIR Canada is playing a leading role in the ongoing development of IATA’s New Distribution Capability (NDC) initiative. Along with fellow North America carriers United, jetBlue and American, as well as 17 other members from around the globe, AC has been designated a “Leaderboard” airline, tasked with steering the NDC journey to critical mass by the end of 2020… Read >>

Sustainability takes centre stage for airlines
Time to turn things around

Airline bosses attending IATA’s AGM in Seoul got a rough ride from Violeta Bulc, the European Union’s commissioner for transport, when she got onto the subject of sustainability. Bulc started out by declaring, “I could stand here all day and talk about the negative externalities of transport in general and the impacts of emissions on our
climate and, therefore, our planet.”.. Read >>

One ID: A step closer to reality

End-to-end seamless travel across borders came a step closer to reality when IATA member airlines meeting in Seoul for this year’s AGM unanimously resolved to accelerate the global implementation of the One ID initiative, which will be based on a single biometric identifier to move passengers through airports without the need for paper travel documents… Read >>

Air Canada, Transat AT deal a win-win for everyone

Air Canada chief exec Calin Rovinescu has reiterated his pledge to keep the brands distinct and maintain separate head offices, if Air Canada gets the nod from shareholders to proceed with the purchase of Transat AT when they vote on the proposed deal later this month… Read >>

Say Good-Bye to PNRs, Say Hello to ONE Order

Air travel retailers and their clients can say goodbye to passenger name records (PNRs), e-tickets and electronic miscellaneous document (EMDs) – but not just yet. They’ll have to wait until IATA’s groundbreaking ONE Order initiative is up and running across the global airline industry… Read >>

It’s all about giving customers what they want

Is disintermediation heading for the mainline aviation industry, cutting the retail travel trade out of the relationship between the world’s major carriers and their customers? That was the question that lurked in the background of a recent press presentation on “changing the passenger experience via digital change” delivered by Eric Leopold, IATA’s director of financial and distribution services transformation… Read >>

Aviation is not a ‘cash cow’ IATA reminds governments
A taxing situation

“Far too many governments in Latin America and the Caribbean see aviation and air travel as a target for heavy taxes and fees, and, in doing so, they are killing the golden goose. The value of aviation is not in the tax receipts that can be squeezed out of it, but rather in the economic growth and job creation it supports.”.. Read >>

IATA intent on unlocking security solutions

“Does it make sense that our most trusted employees and people with high-level security clearances are screened in the same way as our least-known passengers?” That was just one question IATA director general Alexandre de Juniac put to aviation security experts at the organization’s recent AVSEC World conference in Miami… Read >>

Canadians continue to flock to the USA

Canadians continue to flock south of the border in ever-increasing numbers despite a static 75-cent dollar, according to the latest data compiled by Statistics Canada. Last year’s overnight visitor volume to the US rose 6.2% over the 2017 total to hit 21.5 million the agency reported… Read >>

Don’t start the party until you get to your destination

Those one, two or more for-the-road drinks consumed at a British airport bar could wind up getting a tipsy traveller into a world of grief. That’s because a UK air navigation order deems it illegal to board an aircraft when drunk or to be drunk on board, with penalties ranging from a five-thousand pound fine ($8,740) to a two-year prison sentence… Read >>

IATA report spells out ‘hard Brexit’ concerns

A Brexit study commissioned by IATA paints a depressing picture for aviation if, as now seems increasingly likely, Britain leaves the European Union with no deal on the table. The study, which was unveiled to journalists recently in Geneva, warns that “in the case of no deal, there will be no time to negotiate a comprehensive air services agreement between the EU and the UK,.. Read >>

Core carriers embracing NDC

IATA has charted the upcoming journey to New Distribution Capability (NDC) adoption by a majority of member airlines by highlighting the experience thus far of a core group of carriers – including Air Canada – which have already embraced the program… Read >>

TIAC lobbying efforts paying off

On the bright side, Canada has been setting new international visitation records of late. On the not-so-bright side, we’re still mired in 17th place on the UN World Tourism Organization’s (WTO) most-visited list, but the Tourism Industry Association of Canada (TIAC) reckons a top ten placing is in the cards with the support of the entire federal government… Read >>

Consumers finding themselves in a digital catch-22

Vacationers are increasingly finding themselves in a digital catch-22 situation. They expect to be connected wherever they go, yet they also have a desire to switch off from tech.
That was just one of the conclusions drawn from a new Mintel research survey into worldwide consumer trends unveiled at the recent World Travel Market in London… Read >>

IATA warns against protectionist policies

It’s probably just as well that Donald Trump is out of the airline business because his protectionist policies are in danger of putting the global brakes on an unprecedented period of growth for carriers still flying – resulting in a year-to-date 6.8% growth rate and an all-time high 85.3% load factor in August… Read >>

2019: The year of ultra-personalization for upscale travellers

In its Luxe Report for 2019, Virtuoso makes it clear that travel in the coming year will be highly personalized and inspired by a desire to experience new destinations in unusual ways. Virtuoso gathered responses to the new survey from its agencies and advisors in 50 countries, including from 185 locations in Canada, in order to forecast what the coming year will bring… Read >>

WTM report: Brexit has Brits pondering vacation plans

Holiday traffic from Britain to Europe could be decimated next year, if the UK exits the EU without a deal, come March 29. As many as 20 million Brits could opt to vacation elsewhere unless a Brexit deal can be agreed, according to research released at this year’s World Travel Market (WTM) in London… Read >>

WTM 2018 Report: Shift in British travellers’ booking patterns bodes well for USA

The Brits love to travel! So much so that the UK’s share of worldwide seating capacity on international flights last year was 6.8%. Not bad for a population of some 67 million and exactly the same share enjoyed by the United States with almost five times as many residents… Read >>

Air Canada wins big at WTM

Air Canada scored a major victory at this year’s World Travel Market, picking up two major awards in one day at the London event. AC senior director of commercial strategy Tim Liu was presented with a World Travel Leaders Award in the afternoon on Nov. 6 and that same evening two of his colleagues raised the grand prize at the first awards ceremony recognizing outstanding contribution to the global industry… Read >>

UP in the air
IATA issues dire warning over possible UK ‘hard’ Brexit from EU

“The fact that we’re selling tickets six months in advance that we can’t honour is slightly worrying for us.” That might have sounded like an offhand remark from IATA director general Alexandre de Juniac recently, but it came with a deadly serious warning that hundreds of thousands of passengers could be grounded or rerouted next April 1, should the UK ‘hard’ Brexit from the EU with no contingency plan for the continuation of air services… Read >>

Travel managers still struggling to understand NDC

It’s been more than five years since IATA launched its New Distribution Capability (NDC) project, but one of the airline industry’s top-tier buying segments is woefully lacking in its understanding of the concept… Read >>

Silversea pushing the boundaries of ultra luxury

Royal Caribbean’s June acquisition of some 70% of ultra-luxury Silversea Cruises is already paying dividends for the Italian line, with the recent announcement that three fleet additions are in the works – two Evolution Class ships and a 100-passenger expedition vessel, with delivery to begin in 2022… Read >>

IATA program giving destinations just what they need

Destination Canada recently bought into IATA’s Global Agency Pro initiative, and the initial results have been so positive that our national tourism marketer will be sharing its experience with some 3,000 delegates attending the airline body’s World Routes Development Forum in Guangzhou, China, later this week… Read >>

IATA teaching agents how to deliver the right services
Special needs, special care

Assisting travellers with special needs is a business imperative whose time has come, particularly given the demographics of an aging, but still active boomer generation. And IATA has developed a learning module to allow travel agents and their suppliers to serve customers with physical disabilities and mobility issues, as well as those with hidden special needs such as sleep apnea and autism… Read >>

IATA going global with new paperless ID card
Beyond the AD75

Canada is one of only two testing grounds for IATA’s brand-new digital Travel Professional ID Card, which went mobile via the AgentExperience app last week. If all goes without a hitch here and in Australia, the paperless card is expected to go global in a couple of months… Read >>

Nexion Canada growing into a bright future

Host agency Nexion Canada is celebrating its first five years in business, lauding a half-decade of “extraordinary growth,” but that’s just the beginning, according to chief exec Mike Foster, who’s predicting another half-decade of membership expansion down the road… Read >>

IATA searching for airport capacity solution

For the past four decades, the Worldwide Slot Guidelines (WSG) system has been used to allocate capacity at airports that are at or near capacity. Each year, some 1.5 billion passengers fly from 195 slot coordinated airports and, while the guidelines are “great” at managing scarce capacity, they are not an alternative for building more airports, according to IATA director general Alexandre de Juniac… Read >>

IATA gets warm welcome in Australia

Australia is now the world’s 10th largest international tourist destination, and, according to World Tourism Organization data, enjoys the number one slot in terms of visitor spend per trip.
That was the good news shared by the nation’s Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure and Transport Michael McCormack during IATA’s 74th annual general meeting in Sydney… Read >>

Visit US Coalition takes tourism’s message to the White House
Stopping the drop

The US Travel Association has banded together with 14 other major business groups in Washington to launch the Visit US Coalition in order to address a disturbing market share drop that’s costing America jobs and income… Read >>

A ‘good step’ in the ‘right direction’

It’s not all negativity on the worldwide aviation security front. IATA SVP Nick Careen said his trade association has welcomed the establishment of the first Global Aviation Security Plan (GASeP) by the council of ICAO, as a “good step in the right direction.”.. Read >>

Coalition pushing a plan with benefits

Canada is missing out on a golden opportunity to enhance the nation’s travel experience by offering a duty-free buying option to arriving passengers at its international airports. The move would not only improve the passenger experience, it would also provide a significant boost to the Canadian economy, while creating new jobs, according to a coalition of airports… Read >>

Collaboration is the only way
Aviation security:

[This is the eighth part of a multi-part series on the International Air Transport Association (IATA) by CTP’s Quebec editor, Mike Dunbar. This week, Dunbar takes a look at what IATA is doing in the area of aviation security.].. Read >>

A ‘good step’ in the ‘right direction’

It’s not all negativity on the worldwide aviation security front. IATA SVP Nick Careen said his trade association has welcomed the establishment of the first Global Aviation Security Plan (GASeP) by the council of ICAO, as a “good step in the right direction.”.. Read >>

IATA lauches #Eyesopen to fight human trafficking

In the four minutes it takes to boil an egg, 200 people around the world will have become victims of human trafficking. Furthermore, it’s estimated that a staggering 25 million people – or the entire population of Australia… Read >>

IATA takes the initiative with NEXTT

When one looks at the world’s top 100 airports, in terms of passenger volume, nearly all will need some sort of major infrastructure project with the next decade, but can that infrastructure be built fast enough to meet demand, given the issues related to planning approval, plus the costs and complexity of building ever-larger facilities?.. Read >>

A worrying trend
IATA takes aim at airport privatization, infrastructure costs

As expected, IATA CEO Alexandre de Juniac took aim at infrastructure shortcomings on this side of the Atlantic when he recently keynoted at Aviation Day USA in New York. Pulling no punches, de Juniac stated, “I believe that we are headed for an infrastructure crisis – and that includes in the US – where we expect passenger numbers to rise 57% over the next 20 years to 1.1 billion.”.. Read >>

Bent, but not broken Florida Keys, Key West get back to business

The Florida Keys & Key West ad, bearing the tagline “Bent, but not broken” speaks volumes about the can-do attitude in southernmost North America’s island chain. And the body copy backs it up: “Here in the Florida Keys, we’re always in awe of the power and beauty of Mother Nature, but Hurricane Irma truly tested what we were made of… Read >>

Get ready for the meltdown
IATA boss warns of infrastructure crisis

It’s probably just a matter of time before IATA director general Alexandre de Juniac zeroes in on the Americas for air traffic control and airport infrastructure shortcomings; not to mention out-of-control cost escalations as airport operators exploit their monopoly status… Read >>

Making it simple
ONE Order modernizing the airline reservation ecosystem

Now that IATA’s New Distribution Capability (NDC) initiative is well under way, the association is turning its attention to the unduly complex and outdated paper-based airline order management process… Read >>

NDC: the next phase

IATA’s New Distribution Capability (NDC) initiative took a “critical” leap forward last October when all three global distribution system (GDS) providers – Amadeus, Sabre and Travelport – confirmed that they will achieve the highest level of certification as aggregators by the end of this year… Read >>

Visit Florida ramps up Canadian efforts
Picks Pulse Travel marketing as its new representative

Visit Florida’s brand-new Canadian representative – Pulse Travel Marketing – hit the ground running at the state’s premier international travel show just a scant three days after the contract was inked… Read >>

Time to get ready for the future

The travel trade has just a couple of months to get used to the idea of the New Generation IATA Settlement Systems (NewGen ISS) because a progressive wave roll-out is slated to start on March 1, with worldwide implementation scheduled for the end of 2019… Read >>