The decade that changed travel, and the world, forever: A look at the 2000s
Travelweek's Annie Cicvaric (front row centre) with Sears Travel colleagues, 2005

The decade that changed travel, and the world, forever: A look at the 2000s

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 the April 13, 2023 issue of Travelweek. Excerpts are also running in Travelweek Daily, starting with the 1970s on April 13,  the 1980s on April 14 and the 1990s on April 17. Here’s a look at the 2000s.

TORONTO — The travel industry, and the world, changed forever on Sept. 11, 2001.

The events of 9/11, as shocking now as they were then, brought in a wave of security measures as travel slowly recovered.



Canada 3000 pulled off a triple merger with CanJet and Royal Airlines but couldn’t make it through the turbulent months following 9/11.

With 90+ destinations and 4,500 employees, C3 abruptly ceased operations in November 2001.

Other low-cost airlines came and went in the 2000s, including Jetsgo and the very short-lived Roots Air.

The decade also saw the debut of a strong new entrant: Sunwing, founded in 2005.

Meanwhile Canadian Airlines was acquired by Air Canada in 2000, which filed for bankruptcy protection in 2003 and emerged a year later.

Canada 3000



Just as travel was finally fully recovering from the impact of 9/11, along came SARS.

While Canada’s inbound tourism was particularly impacted by the SARS epidemic in 2003, outbound travellers were jittery too. SARS was followed a few years later by H1N1 in 2009 (and later Zika in 2016). All proved to be a foreshadowing of things to come.



Despite the many challenges in the 2000s, including rapidly growing competition from OTAs, retail travel advisors pushed on, dedicated to providing knowledgeable expertise and top-level service to their clients.

Cruise bookings were stronger than ever and a new way to see the world by ship – river cruising – picked up momentum in the North American market. Viking River Cruises got its start in 1997, followed by AmaWaterways in 2002 and Avalon Waterways in 2004.

AmaWaterways’ first ship, AmaCello, debuted in 2008

More and more travel advisors were going home-based, mirroring retail travel trends in the U.S. Host agencies proliferated.

On the supplier side, there was consolidation. In 2007 Thomas Cook merged with MyTravel – formerly Airtours, which owned Sunquest. That brought Sunquest under the Thomas Cook umbrella. And after First Choice PLC merged with TUI, also in 2007, a strategic venture created by TUI and Sunwing Travel Group brought together Sunwing Vacations and Signature Vacations, starting in 2010.



Building on the decades-long success of its core product, Travelweek magazine, The Travelweek Group’s expanding portfolio in the 2000s included a new monthly e-newsletter for home-based travel agents (now called Sphere), and also, which develops and hosts specialist programs for the travel trade.

Meanwhile the Travelweek site,, started the decade primarily as little more than a company info source. But big changes were coming.


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.

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