TORONTO — Goodbye 2020, and hello 2021!
2020 is a year we’d probably all like to forget. It was a catastrophic year for travel, particularly in Canada where our industry is in a deep freeze amid travel restrictions aimed at containing COVID-19 and saving lives. Air travel for 2020 is expected to be down 66% compared to 2019, according to IATA stats. Thousands of jobs have been lost and companies are fighting for solvency. Our core readership, Canadian travel agents, have lost jobs, clients and commissions, and now may be weighing the viability of their career choices going forward.
Looking ahead to 2021, we still have a long way to go in rebuilding our travel industry. But there are several things we can be thankful for and hopeful about. We have a vaccine! In fact, we have several. We have travel insurance coverage for COVID-19. We have rumours of more testing projects at Canada’s airports. We have talk of an airline industry bailout. We have many open destinations. And we have significant pent-up demand.
To celebrate the positive, Travelweek will be starting a new column and Facebook Live series called ‘Carry On’ in January 2021 dedicated to exploring some of the positive trends that will hopefully begin to emerge. It will be hosted by myself and Kathryn Folliott, Travelweek’s editor. Stay tuned for more details.
Travelweek, like everyone else, had a difficult year. But we can attest that marketing spending is slowly staring to come back, which can be seen as a bellwether for the entire industry. We know clients are eager to keep their brands top of mind for when consumers do feel comfortable travelling again, and Travelweek provides the multiple marketing channels to do so.
We at Travelweek have had to cut costs and re-prioritize, but we are proud to say that the core of our team remains strong and has been working overtime to get our readers the news and information they need.
Travelweek launched a quarterly virtual event, ‘Future of Travel’ which surpassed all expectations with incredible viewership of 15,000 for the most recent event. The next ‘Future of Travel’ virtual event, ‘A Brand New Year’ is scheduled for February 3 and will feature a lineup of key industry heavy hitters. For anyone who would like to be involved, please get in touch.
We have also had an extremely successful year in regards to traffic to our website, which doubled, and readership of Travelweek Daily, with the largest and most engaged database in the industry. We are proud to announce our new website launching this month, an initiative that attests to the deep levels of investment we continue to put into our products, despite the pandemic.
We did pause our printing efforts, partially because agents weren’t in their offices, and also due to the cost savings. But I am proud to announce that print is back! We put several issues to press in December, including editions focusing on the Caribbean and cruising, and our print and distribution efforts will continue in the new year.
We are also working closely with our sister company ENVOY Networks to optimize deliveries to storefront agencies during these times, and have mobilized our efforts to clean our delivery databases.
And finally our efforts with the YellowBird Foundation will continue helping get students in the Caribbean the supplies they need. We have a date reserved for our annual Yellowbird Charity Golf Classic, so I am optimistically hoping to see some of you on the golf course this season.
We are heartened by the camaraderie and cooperation we have seen over the last year within the travel industry, alongside the agility and innovation that agents and suppliers have shown. We will continue to dedicate all Travelweek resources to helping rebuild our beloved travel industry in any way we can in 2021. And we will continue to stay dedicated to getting our agent readers the information they need so they can plan unforgettable trips for their clients.
Cheers to 2021!