The Canadian travel industry is fuelled year after year by huge volumes of ITC package sales to sun and sand destinations. So does that mean we’re immune to 2019’s travel trends? Not at all.
TORONTO — The sudden passing of much-loved industry veteran Mary Ogaki has prompted an outpouring of emotion from the many, many colleagues and friends who worked alongside Mary in this industry over the course of more than 30 years.
Tributes and condolences have flooded Mary’s Facebook account, with stories and anecdotes from industry friendships that span more than three decades.
Mary’s work on both the retail and supplier side of this industry, most recently as National Account Manager for Royal Caribbean, brought her in touch with thousands of travel industry colleagues across the country.
Vicki Freed, Senior Vice President, Sales, Trade Support and Service, Royal Caribbean International, said Mary was one of the very best.
“We are deeply saddened by Mary Ogaki’s sudden passing. Part of our Royal Caribbean International family for five years, Mary was an incredible woman, daughter and professional, touching everyone she met along the way,” said Freed.
“She was a special and dedicated National Accounts Manager, one of the very best, with a passion and commitment that is so rare.
“Together with many travel partners, branches and our team in Canada who worked with Mary, we’ll continue to admire and honour her with the heartwarming memories we have of her.
“Our thoughts are with Mary’s family and friends during this difficult time.”
Mary began her travel industry career in 1987 Meetings & Incentives at American Express, a position she held for 11 years.
She made the move to Red Seal Tours as Regional Sales Manager, then headed to Encore Cruises as a DSM.
In 2000 she landed at Sears Travel as Product Manager, Cruise and Tour. Four years later she took on the same role for Transat Distribution Canada and in 2008 she was appointed Manager, Groups & Special Programs for TDC.
She returned to Encore Cruises in 2012 as Director of Sales and then in 2013 she took on her most recent position, as National Account Manager for Royal Caribbean.
Mary was active in the industry at large as well. In 2005 she represented Canada as the first woman to sit on CLIA’s travel agent advisory board.
“Mary had great passion for what she did and was a true force to be reckoned with when she combined that passion with her innate logic and genuine willingness to help travel partners,” said Tim Morgan, most recently with TPI and now Managing Director of nigelkane. “I very much always appreciated her honesty and commitment to building the cruise business in Canada.”
Travel Time – TPI Owner Lois Barbour added: “Mary had a unique ability to make everyone feel equally important both personally and professionally. She was knowledgeable and showed a genuine interest in helping agents succeed. Her warm smile and kind spirit will be missed in the travel industry, and I am sure also by anyone else who had the pleasure of knowing her.”
The funeral will be a private service, for family only.