Global Travel and Lifestyle News Network


In this week’s round-up, Ensemble was jamming with Jamaica, Marlin welcomed new agencies, Amex GBT lent a helping hand, TTAND went coast to coast, and TRAVELSAVERS was dining and dashing.


The Jamaica Tourist Board (JTB) was voted the Tourism Board ‘Partner of the Year’ by Ensemble at the travel consortium’s annual Horizons conference in Las Vegas earlier this month.

“We have been shining the spotlight on luxury in Jamaica over the last year, and the JTB’s strategic partnership with Ensemble has played a significant role in our efforts to elevate the island’s high-end tourism products,” said Donovan White, Director of Tourism, JTB. “We are honoured to receive this recognition from our partners at Ensemble and look forward to continuing this special collaboration in 2024.”

Destination Jamaica representatives accepted the award on stage during a Moulin Rouge themed gala dinner and award show hosted at Paris Las Vegas (banner photo). The glamorous event was attended by more than 800 Ensemble travel agency owners, managers and advisors, along with tour operators, airline partners and other tourism industry stakeholders.


Transat Distribution Canada (TDC) has welcomed three agencies to the Marlin Travel banner. Anita Spier transitioned from her long-standing banner in Fonthill, Ont. to the Marlin Travel brand, with the 35-year travel industry stating, “The Marlin Travel brand is etched in people’s minds; it’s a brand they recognize and, most importantly, trust, as it has been a steadfast presence for many years.”

Also joining the fold was Yogesh Anand, who owns four travel agencies in Ontario and expanded his portfolio by opening a fourth Marlin Travel agency last spring in Mississauga, Ont. Meanwhile, John Fraser, proprietor of 11 Marlin Travel agencies primarily in British Columbia, recently inaugurated his 12th agency in St-Albert, Alberta, just outside Edmonton.

Dianne Jackson, the recently appointed Director of Franchisees and Affiliate Members for English Canada at TDC, underscores that “as a franchisor, TDC is committed to providing unwavering support to its Marlin Travel agency owners on both B2B and B2C fronts. This includes exclusive and lucrative programs, as well as a multitude of impactful marketing initiatives, such as our recent campaign highlighting our 5-star advisors, all designed to ensure agency owners are well-equipped to run their businesses effectively and to maintain high consumer awareness.”


Flemming Friisdahl (top right) and TTAND colleagues

The Travel Agent Next Door recently concluded its largest ever series of roadshows across Canada from Halifax to Victoria during October with over 600 attending. The roadshows featured TTAND Founder Flemming Friisdahl and VP Agent Experience, Penny Martin, as well as other executives from the TTAND leadership team.

Friisdahl’s presentation included details on the enhanced website that is launching with technical improvements for responsive design; TTAND’s investment in increased search engine optimization and enhanced navigation for a better user experience.

TTAND also recently launched its fully bilingual website and TTAND now has a growing number of agents joining in Quebec.

Supplier partners that joined the shows this year were: Manulife, Globus Family of Brands, G Adventures, Collette and Oceania.

Amex GBT

American Express Global Business Travel (Amex GBT) has joined Air Canada and other airline partners to help transport relief workers and emergency supplies to disaster areas around the globe. Through a new partnership with humanitarian relief organization Airlink, critical non-governmental organizations (NGOs) will be able to respond to emergencies more quickly and efficiently.

Airlink provides free transport for a vetted network of hundreds of NGOs and charities around the world, assisting communities in the aftermath of disasters. Going forward, many of the complex travel bookings will be managed by Amex GBT travel counsellor volunteers supporting the company’s social impact travel desk. The partnership is expected to be operational in early 2024.

“We believe that travel powers progress, and one of the best examples is moving people when it matters most,” says Evan Konwiser, Amex GBT’s Chief Strategy & Marketing Officer. “We’re backing our beliefs with actions and partnerships and are excited to launch this new initiative with Airlink to support communities in times of crisis.”

The company joins Air Canada, a platinum Airlink partner, in its response to disasters and other humanitarian crises here at home and abroad. The airline recently worked with Airlink to respond to British Columbia’s devastating wildfires, as well as the transportation of relief workers providing medical care, food, clean water, and other essentials to Ukrainian refugees.


TRAVELSAVERS Canada recently wrapped up its Dine & Discover event series in Toronto, spotlighting new partners to showcase its growth. Held at Parkview Manor, more than 100 people attended the event, with over 30 local agencies represented and 18 preferred partners, including new partners Air Transat, Expedia TAAP, and Club Med.

Jane Clementino, SVP and General Manager of TRAVELSAVERS, kicked off the evening with an update on TRAVELSAVERS, speaking to the expansion of its team, the double-digit increases in all segments in 2023 and sales goals for 2024. Additionally, Clementino highlighted the growth of the Affluent Traveler Collection, OnLocation Program and the VIP Cruise Program, and the consortium’s expanding roster of preferred suppliers.

During the dinner, presenters from TravelBrands, Holland America Line, Air Transat and Collette provided updates on their newest products and upcoming offers.

“We are thrilled with the record-breaking agency support at the Dine & Discover events,” said

Clare Burke, Marketing Manager at TRAVELSAVERS. “Our networking events offer our affiliates the opportunity to reconnect with other TRAVELSAVERS members and learn more about our new preferred partners. We would like to thank our preferred partners for their commitment.”

Attendees also heard that KORE, a comprehensive online travel training program, will be launched in Canada in December.

In total, over 200 advisors attended the fall Dine & Discover event series in Toronto, Burnaby, BC, and Quebec City, representing over 70 agencies.

In 2024, TRAVELSAVERS will expand on its training and events program with Dine & Discover events across the country.

First published at Travel Industry Today

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