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, the 1990s on April 17, the 2000s on April 18 and the 2010s on April 19. Here’s a look at the 2020s.
For travel industry veterans who thought they’d seen it all, the start of the 2020s was the ultimate eye-opener.
The decade was just underway when passengers onboard cruise ships, notably Princess Cruises’ Diamond Princess in early February 2020, began facing coronavirus quarantine orders.
By March 11, 2020, the WHO declared COVID-19 a global pandemic, and on March 16 the ‘come home now’ order went out to Canadians, thousands of whom had just left for March Break getaways.
Over the next two years, travel advisors and the travel industry faced a cascading situation that was truly unprecedented, from travel bans and border closures, to myriad testing requirements, months of sun flight suspensions, the fight for commission protection and more. Throughout the pandemic travel advisors worked tirelessly, and faced unprecedented financial hardship.
“TODAY IS THE DAY”
When the announcement finally came in spring 2022 that the last major hurdle – the pre-arrival COVID test – was finally dropping, the news set off a demand for travel the likes of which the industry had never seen. “Today is the day many of us have been waiting for,” said Canada’s Minister of Health, Jean-Yves Duclos on March 17, 2022, when he announced the changes coming April 1.
Airlines and airports struggled to keep up, and delays and cancellations were rampant. The deal was sealed in September 2022: all remaining restrictions would be eliminated. Since then ‘revenge travel’ has surged and travel advisors are doing everything they can to manage historic levels of inquiries and bookings.
CRYSTAL’S COMEBACK, AND THE WESTJET – SUNWING DEAL
The pandemic saw the failure of one major cruise line, and ultimately its triumphant return under new owners: Crystal Cruises is back and ready to start sailing again in July 2023.
The popular cruise company’s new owner, A&K Travel Group, which also owns luxury travel operator Abercrombie & Kent, relaunched the cruise line in February 2023 under a reimagined name and vision: Crystal – Exceptional at Sea.
Another surprise announcement – WestJet acquiring Sunwing Airlines and Sunwing Vacations – came in March 2022. The deal was ultimately given the green light by the Canadian government just a few weeks ago.
TRAVELWEEK IN THE 2020s: PERSEVERANCE & NEW STRENGTH
From the very early days of the pandemic, Travelweek’s editor Kathryn Folliott and deputy editor Cindy Sosroutomo, together with digital production manager Jason Gouveia, worked around the clock to deliver the latest COVID-19 cancellations, policy changes and government updates to the travel industry, via Travelweek Daily and increasingly, ‘Special Bulletin’ breaking news e-blasts.
Meanwhile Travelweek’s publisher Devin Kinasz, along with Travelweek’s Sales team – led by VP Media & Content Strategy Annie Cicvaric and with help from BDM Sue Winiecki – jumped into action to organize the first ‘Future of Travel’ virtual conference.
The online event provided a much-needed forum during the pandemic, where travel advisors and the trade could tune in to hear up-to-the-minute updates and supportive words from suppliers and tourism boards.
That first Future of Travel took place June 3, 2020. Since then the team has organized and presented half a dozen more.
The latest edition, ‘Future of Travel: Agent Appreciation’ is scheduled for May 31, 2023.
Another popular event presented by the Travelweek Group – the Air Canada YellowBird Golf Tournament – is also back. This year’s tournament takes place May 19, 2023 at Glen Abbey Golf Club in Oakville, ON. There’s also an online silent auction, in support of orphanages in Ukraine.
In 2023, as we celebrate the return of travel and Travelweek’s 50th anniversary, the Travelweek team is as committed as ever to delivering the most complete, engaging and relevant news package to Canada’s travel industry.
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.