Any time a country or region imposes any sort of visa stipulation - even if it’s a waiver - the travel industry sighs a collective groan, knowing the obstacles and headaches to come.
CALGARY — Cue the tears and consider our heartstrings tugged – WestJet has released its fifth annual Christmas video, arguably its most heartwarming and emotional edition yet.
Following the devastating wildfires in Fort McMurray earlier this year, ‘Christmas Miracle: Fort McMurray Strong’ tells the story of how the airline salvaged the holidays for residents whose homes were affected. In the video, nearly 1,000 locals are shown at a Snowflake Soiree at Fort McMurray’s MacDonald Island Park on Nov. 26 where they enjoyed crafting activities, food and a surprise performance by Canadian singer Johnny Reid.
But the biggest thrill of all was the dropping of hundreds of gift boxes via parachutes from the sky, each containing personalized family portraits packaged by WestJetters as well as free flight vouchers for every member of each family in attendance. All this happened under the watchful eye of WestJet’s ‘Blue Santa’.
“This year, we wanted Christmas to mean just a little bit more for the residents of Fort McMurray,” said Richard Bartrem, WestJet Vice-President, Marketing Communications. “WestJet is deeply connected to the community, which is why we wanted to show them how much we care. We were at the airport the day the fire hit town, and several WestJetters also lost their homes. This year’s Christmas miracle was an opportunity for WestJet to do what we do best – help connect a community, celebrate the season and bring a smile to peoples’ faces.”
WestJet’s Christmas Miracle videos have been viewed more than 54 million times since the first one was released in 2012. The airline operates 16 weekly flights to Fort McMurray from Vancouver, Edmonton, Calgary and Toronto, and has supported the Fort McMurray Boys and Girls Club, and Big Brothers and Big Sisters for nearly 10 years through the WestJet Cares for Kids Charities.