Flight Centre Celebrates 20 Years In Canada


In this week’s digital edition of Canadian Travel Press, executive editor, Bob Mowat reports that it’s been 20 years since Australian-founded Flight Centre opened its first travel shop in Canada. It was brash, aggressive and it certainly ruffled a few feathers in the retail travel business here at the time.

In fact, when you ask Gavin Miller, the newly minted vice-president leisure for Flight Centre Canada, whether that’s still the Flight Centre style 20 years on, he smiles, observing that that style is still there although it’s probably a bit more understated.

“We do like to disrupt the market,” Miller told Canadian Travel Press. “We do like to find ways to give our customers product and offerings that you can’t get anywhere else and in doing so, that does create a bit of uneasiness for [the] competition from time to time.”

But, he added: “We’ve matured as a business and we’ve matured as a brand and the next 20 years are going to be a very different 20 years than the first 20 years in Canada.”

That next 20 began at the end of May when Flight Centre Canada officially marked its anniversary, but the company has a lot more planned for the coming year.

Miller explained: “Although officially we celebrate[d] our anniversary at the end of May, there will be a celebration that continues throughout the month of June with a big culmination on Canada Day, which we thought was quite symbolic after 20 years of being in the country.”

Along with some nifty deals and promotions that will be part of those festivities, Flight Centre will use its anniversary year to reveal the new path that it plans to follow into its next 20 years.

“Throughout the month of July and onward,” Miller said, “we want to speak to the Canadian public and show them the different personality that we now have. As we evolve our brand this year, it’s going to be more about what our brand can offer our customers and the Canadian traveller that’s different to what they’ve seen from us historically.”

Now before anyone jumps to any conclusions, Miller made it clear that Flight Centre Canada is “never going to abandon the fact that we are very much a price-competitive business and brand,” but he did indicate that the company “will be embracing a new part of our brand which is what we’re calling this journey of ours from a traditional travel agent to a world-class travel retailer.”

For the full story, check out this week’s digital edition of Canadian Travel Press by clicking here.