RETAIL ROUND-UP: Costa Rica, Flight Centre, Ensemble and TTAND
Making news this week is a Costa Rican FAM for Quebec agents, Ensemble teaming up with Jamaica, Flight Centre helping wishes come true, and top marks for The Travel Agent Next Door from Air Canada Vacations.
Eighteen travel advisors from Quebec recently experienced an all-encompassing Costa Rica FAM trip, highlighting the country’s Central Valley and Caribbean Coast. Escorting the trip was Gustavo Inciarte from VoX International, the Costa Rica Tourism Board’s Canadian representative, and French speaking local guides.
To kick off the seven-night FAM, agents were invited to meet with tourism industry partners at a destination trade show, followed by a guided tour of the capital, San José, including the National Theatre, Plaza de la Cultura, Templo de la Música, and Edificio Metalico.
Two groups split to explore different areas of the country. The first to the cloud forests of Monteverde where they had a tour of a local coffee farm before moving on to Rio Celeste and Tamarindo. In the former, the group took part in a hike to the famous azul-coloured waterfall and Cacao farm tour, while in the latter, they got the chance to kayak on the ocean before spending time on the beach atmosphere.
The second group of agents took a riverboat tour through the narrow canals, lush vegetation and diverse wildlife habitats into the heart of the Tortuguero National Park and their accommodation at Mwamba Lodge. Next up was the seaside villages of Cahuita and Puerto Viejo to experience the area’s vibrant Afro-Caribbean culture, diverse cuisines, tropical beaches and lush national parks, home to monkeys and sloths.
All agents on the FAM had completed the Costa Rica agent specialist program.
The Jamaica Tourist Board (JTB) and Ensemble (JTB) have joined forces on a strategic partnership to spotlight Jamaica’s luxury tourism products within the North American retail market. Jamaica’s Minister of Tourism, Hon. Edmund Bartlett, announced the launch of the destination’s ‘Come Back to Luxurious’ campaign with Ensemble during an official launch event in Toronto on Sept. 21.
The strategic promotional partnership will feature a series of educational activities and engagement initiatives designed to help empower Ensemble travel advisors to sell Jamaica’s premium offerings. The JTB has engaged a group of elite on-island hotel and tour operator partners to collaborate on the initiative, including Round Hill, Half Moon, Island Routes, Club MoBay/Club Kingston VIP Attractions, among others.
As part of the campaign, Ensemble’s agent members in Canada and the US will have access to exclusive training programs and comprehensive marketing materials on Jamaica’s various luxury offerings. Ensemble members will also have the opportunity to participate in exclusive curated FAM trips to explore Jamaica’s upscale hotels, attractions, and concierge services.
“We are thrilled to launch this exclusive partnership with the Jamaica Tourist Board as it is not only one of the top selling destinations for our members, but also reflects the kind of selective opportunities and luxury partnership opportunities we seek to offer exclusively to Ensemble advisors,” said Michael Johnson, President of Ensemble. “We are confident that this will deliver enhanced sales for our partners and members alike – which is always our priority.”
The Travel Agent Next Door was awarded the top Home-Based Network Agency Partner award at the Air Canada Vacations Dream Bigger Launch in Toronto last week (photo below). The award was accepted by Penny Martin, VP Agent Experience at TTAND from Anna Paula de Souza, ACV Director of Sales; Nino Montagnese, ACV Managing Director; Erminia Nigro, GM Sales, Ontario; and Krista Rothfuchs, Area Sales Manager for Independent Advisors, ACV@Home.
“We are extremely proud to receive this award on behalf of our travel agent partners and all the hard effort they have put into earning this award,” said Flemming Friisdahl, Founder and CEO TTAND. “When you look at the huge number of home-based agents now in Canada, for us to be picked as number one is something we’re very proud of.”
Flight Centre Travel Group has donated of $20,000 to Make-A-Wish Canada, bringing the company’s total to $750,000 over the past 20 years. The contribution, says FCTG reflects the group’s commitment to making a positive impact in the communities it serves and its dedication to “opening up the world for those who want to experience the excitement of travel.”
Chris Lynes, Managing Director for Flight Centre Travel Group Canada, says, “We believe in the power of dreams and their ability to inspire and uplift. We’re proud to contribute to Make-A-Wish’s mission of granting transformational wishes for children and families who have had their worlds turned upside down by critical illness.”
“Seventy percent of the wishes that we grant involve travel, so gifts like this are vital to our organization,” says Meaghan Stovel McKnight, CEO, Make-A-Wish Canada. “For 20 years Flight Centre has helped make wishes come true for kids like Avaree whose wish to find the best chocolate in Paris came true in 2017. We look forward to granting more wishes with Flight Centre Travel Group in the coming year.”
First published at Travel Industry Today