Travelweek’s incredible history spans 50 years. From the 1970s through to the 2020s, we look at all 6 decades in a special feature in this week’s April 13, 2023 issue of Travelweek. Excerpts are also running in Travelweek Daily, including the 1970s on April 13. Here’s a look at the 1980s.
Many regulations governing the Canadian airline industry finally loosened in 1987, and Air Canada and CP Air / Canadian Airlines went head to head for market share.
Meanwhile Wardair, offering holiday charter flights since 1962 and beloved for its personalized service, came into its own in the 1970s and 1980s.
The decade ended with the sale of Wardair to PWA Corp., and it was absorbed into Canadian Airlines.
‘GREATEST PRODUCT PLACEMENT EVER’
More and more travellers got their feet wet with cruising, popularized by TV’s The Love Boat.
The show, which debuted in 1977 and ran until 1986, gave millions of viewers a porthole view – true to life, or not – of cruise vacations onboard the Pacific Princess.
The show has often been called ‘the greatest product placement ever’, and it sent thousands of travellers to their travel agents for cruise bookings. Princess Cruises reaped the benefits, and so did Carnival, Royal Caribbean, NCL and more.
AN ALL-INCLUSIVE GAME CHANGER
In Jamaica, a charismatic entrepreneur named Gordon ‘Butch’ Stewart opened the very first Sandals Resorts property, Sandals Montego Bay, in 1981.
While the all-inclusive vacation was pioneered in the 1950s by Club Med, to great success, Stewart took the all-inclusive concept in a new direction, first for couples with Sandals Resorts, and later, starting in the late 1990s, for families with Beaches Resorts.
Stewart’s foray into hotels was initially just a side project, as he was already doing big business with his first venture, Appliance Traders Limited (ATL). As he told Travelweek in 2018, marking ATL’s own 50th anniversary: “I had been selling air conditioners into hotels and resorts in Jamaica, so I thought to myself, ‘Why not buy a hotel of my own?’”
Stewart purchased the old Bay Roc hotel in Montego Bay in 1981. It was history in the making. Just seven months and US$4 million in renovations later, Sandals Montego Bay opened its doors. Adam Stewart, Chairman, Sandals Resorts International, who was born in 1981, recently shared with Travelweek his memories with about growing up with Sandals in the 1980s.
TOUR OPS & RETAILERS
Sunflight Vacations and Carousel were two of the biggest names in tour operators. And ITC package holidays were selling like hotcakes.
The big threat to retailers? Not the Internet – not yet. For now it was a tour op’s toll-free 1-800 number and ‘going direct’ that raised the ire of travel agents. Consortiums thrived and so did retail chains.
TRAVELWEEK IN THE 1980s: STRONG MOMENTUM
Travelweek’s first full decade was one of growth and new direction. Jill Wykes took over as editor while founder Wayne Lahtinen remained as publisher, and she worked side by side with associate publisher and managing editor, Paul Vickers.
As Wykes told Travelweek: “We were on a mission not to miss a story. Every week I would call the regional heads of ACTA as well as leaders of major retail, wholesale and airline sectors just fishing for news. Most of the time we did uncover something. But more importantly, we rarely missed anything or got scooped.”
Wykes left Travelweek in 1988 for CATO and later, Sunquest. Patrick Dineen was named Travelweek’s editor in 1988.
Throughout 2023 watch for interviews and memories marking Travelweek’s 50th anniversary. Plus, try your luck with our contest, ‘It Happened This Week’, featuring a new headline (and a new chance to win!) every week from Travelweek’s 50 years of travel industry news coverage.