Deana Murphy with Rachel Goldrick, Corporate Communications Manager
Sunwing Travel Group’s Sales Admin Manager Joy Jackson; Corporate Manager/Preferred Partners Lorraine Brisbois and Anna Tarkowski, Director of Marketing Production
Exhibitors included Nieves Ricardo of the Cuba Tourist Board
A great turnout – and a popular dinner
The venue was Woodbine Race Track, but there was nary a horse in sight. Instead, an enthusiastic sales team from Sunwing, showed their colours as the favourite of 1.5 million Canadian vacationers at their annual launch in Toronto.
Almost 600 agents and over 60 suppliers joined Team Orange at the 2nd of a whopping 34 launches which will finally wrap up in St. John’s on 12MAY. In all, the company expects to host some 5,000 agents at these events.
Despite an untypically mild winter in much of Canada (“We’re really hoping for a good old-fashioned Canadian winter next time!” Sales V.P. Deana Murphy told me), the company is still very bullish, and pleased to see that the loonie is slowly rising.
There’s certainly no shortage of sunny selection, with 35 destinations highlighted in the company’s 380 page Sunwing and 196 page Signature Vacations brochures. What’s new?
St. Lucia and Manzanillo are back, and Juan Dolio in the D.R. has been added;
New routes include Grand Bahamas from Regina, Punta Cana from Kitchener, Montego Bay from London and St. Lucia from Toronto;
The addition of a whopping 130 hotels;
The organizing of Signature product into 6 “Collections” for the eco-conscious client (Emerald Collection by Krystal Hotels), the foodie (Culinary Collection with Karisma), the rock fan (Celebrity Collection with Hard Rock), the value loving (Crown Collection with Palace Resorts), luxury lover (Divine Collection with Velas) and just for the Riu Fan, the RIU-topic Collection.
This summer is already shaping up well for the tour operators, with sales strong in its family-friendly all-inclusives (“Cheaper than renting a cottage – and no cooking required!”) year-round cruises and air-only product between Toronto and Vancouver or St. John’s.
Murphy was careful to point out the importance of groups to the company, which has just published an extensive groups guide. There are now some 50 staffers in the groups department, a testimony to the company’s commitment to group travel.
The brochures are certainly an impressive and stylish feat. As Murphy, who’s been with the company over 2 decades, commented: “Even in this day of laptops and all the other devices, there’s nothing like flipping through a brochure. The majority of our customers still want something in their hands when they’re planning their holiday.”