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Jen Savedra

Jen Savedra is the founder and editor in chief of Travel Industry Today with  a long career and considerable experience in various sectors of travel and tourism. She is dedicated to producing a publication that differentiates itself from the pack. One that pulls no punches, and - along with being a forum for news and ideas - is easy to navigate and always fun to read.

An accomplished writer and artist, Jen first gained valuable insight into the electronic and internet aspect of travel by designing, producing and operating the first travel channel for AOL Canada. AOL was at that time the only internet travel channel - a forerunner to Travelocity and Expedia.

 

RECENT ARTICLES

EXPEDITION CRUISING GETS A SILVER LINING
01 OCT 2019: Last week I was fortunate enough to combine a trip to Quebec City with a tour of Silversea’s Silver Cloud. Sporting a US $40 million refurbishment to turn it into an expedition ship sailing between the Arctic and Antarctic the Silver Cloud really does, amazingly, span what could easily otherwise be the polar differences between expedition and luxury. MORE

WELL WORTH DISCOVERING
England’s National Parks
30 SEP 2019: It began with making scones – and the advice, ‘The secret of good scones is not to handle them too much before baking, and to make the mixture on the wet, sticky side.’ That last sounds like you might be constructing a politician – but that’s another story. What a group of local trade and media were gathered for at Toronto’s Old Mill, was to learn more about the English National Park Experience – and it is well worth learning about. MORE

SHOW SOME SUPPORT
Governor urges permanent decision on Visit Florida
26 SEP 2019: Tourism doesn't just happen - even in Florida.  There are too many options these days - visitors need to be guided, persuaded even seduced, and that takes a CVB or tourism arm that is focused on its long term goals rather than on its immenent survival. Now thankfully, new legislation has been proposed to extend Visit Florida's so-called 'sunset' date to October 1, 2028, extending its life for another eight years rather than the annual grudging review we have seen recently. MORE

SELLING DREAMS
Globus offers choice and flexibility
19 SEP 2019: “There are a gazillion things happening,” said an exuberant Stephanie Bishop, managing director for the Globus family of brands. How do you bring products and programs to light and fulfil the needs of the modern traveller, she asks and responds herself, “In today’s world it’s about delivering a program that meets so many profiles. It’s all about choice and flexibility.” MORE

GETTING SOCIAL WITH SANDALS
20 AUG 2019: It was a busy time for the Sandals staff and crew in Toronto last week as they played host to travel partners and media on several successive nights aboard the Lady Sandals. I was on board Wednesday, the weather cooperated (the traffic didn’t) but I made it in time and was warmly welcomed on board with minutes to spare.   MORE

PARTY TIME
16 AUG 2019: Last weekend Sunwing Vacations and RIU Hotels and Resorts cohosted a pool party at Toronto’s Cabana Pool Bar. The idea was to promote RIU’s new entertainment program ‘RIU Party’ and this was certainly the best venue to get the “party” idea across! It’s been some time since this aging Boomer went to a scantily clad Millennials pool party – but it was certainly – well, WOW! MORE

NOT US AND THEM
Racism and bigotry have to stop
31 JUL 2019: Almost every day we read, hear and see hateful, racially charged incidents, and far too frequently we look away, or brush them off. Perhaps because of their pounding frequency, perhaps because we know some revolting new horror will soon follow in an endless conveyor belt of bigotry and prejudice, perhaps because we’re just tired of it all. But we can’t ignore hate. We can’t become desensitized to it. At some point we’re going to have to realize that the repulsive rhetoric that is flowing down from our so-called leaders is divisive, dangerous and just plain wrong. MORE

ON TO NEW ADVENTURES
Ruth Williamson retires
22 JUL 2019: In this job we run into a great many people, the vast majority of whom are professional, pleasant and helpful. Then you have the few who stand out from the rest. Ruth Williamson is one of that special minority. When VoX International’s president Susan Webb, learned that Williamson was retiring, from the US Commercial Services, she couldn’t let the occasion go unobserved. MORE

WHAT A LIFE
Frank Orlando
10 JUL 2019: Interesting. Intelligent. Amusing. Opinionated. Entrepreneurial. Warm. Cool. Worldly. Witty. Silly... and just plain fun. Friends used all those terms to describe Frank Orlando, who tragically, and far too soon, died on Friday. MORE

WAVING THE FLAG
Canadians find Love is Great in Britain
08 JUL 2019: New research shows that Britain is the most popular European destination for North American LGBT holiday-makers, beating the seven other countries surveyed to the top rank. Britain also scored highly with Canadian LGBT travellers on welcome, with 95 percent agreeing that Britain is a “LGBT-welcoming place to travel.” We recently met with Paul Gauger, Senior VP Americas, who leads VisitBritain’s Love is GREAT campaign MORE

PORTUGAL WITH A DIFFERENCE
It really is time to visit
03 JUL 2019:  It seems everywhere you turn these days someone is talking about Portugal. They’ve been. They’re going. They’re planning on going. Short stays. Long stays.  Snowbirds. Great food. Good wine. Port (of course). Music. Lisbon. Porto. The Algarve. Cities. Countryside. Beaches. Great value. Portugal. Portugal. Portugal. MORE

CULTURE AND CUISINE
San Francisco wants Canadians to visit
02 JUL 2019:  Canada has always been a strong market for San Francisco and area representatives visited Toronto and Montreal recently where they met with local industry executives and media to give them the latest news and views as to what is happening in their city, how easy it is to get there and why Canadians should keep heading for the Bay area. MORE

SEA CHANGE
Virgin Voyages first Captain is a Canadian woman
13 JUN 2019: Virgin Group Founder Sir Richard Branson and Virgin Voyages president and CEO Tom McAlpin were in Toronto for a couple of days, and between a (disappointing) Raptors game and an exhilarating skywalk outside the CN Tower, they met with local media to talk about the new cruise line, the ships and the new itineraries. But the big reveal was the announcement that the Master of Scarlet Lady is a Canadian woman - Captain Wendy Williams, who when she takes the helm of Scarlet Lady in spring 2020, will become the first Canadian woman to be captain of a ship for a major cruise brand.   MORE

HEAR THE MUSIC
27 MAY 2019: Music and Travel – could you find a better partnership? Brand USA took full advantage of the recent edition (the 37th) of Canadian Music Week to strut its stuff and showcase some of its partners at a music and travel media event in Toronto. MORE

THE NEW MAN AT BRAND USA
Discover America Canada introduces Colin Skerritt
21 MAY 2019:  Discover America Canada’s recent meeting at the Old Mill in Toronto, was an opportunity to officially meet Brand USA’s brand new regional director for Canada, Colin Skerritt.  Jackie Ennis, senior director, global trade development, introduced Skerritt, noting that he is the first Brand USA employee hired outside of the US, surely an indication of how important a source market Canada is to the US. MORE

YOU HAVE TO LOVE IT
Virginia is for lovers
15 MAY 2019: Virginia Tourism’s, Brigitte ‘Bri’ Belanger-Warner was in Toronto last week with a quintet of representatives from some of the top tourism areas to get us up to speed with what’s happening in the state and to celebrate the 50th - yes – 50th - anniversary of the iconic slogan “Virginia is for Lovers.” And, she was quick to note Virginia is for lovers of many things - beaches, craft beer, wine (which was there for the sampling), the food (the oysters, which I know from personal experience are decidedly lovable) the history, the incredible mountains and landscape, the music – all kinds – rap, soul, rock, hip hop and of course country – and that’s just for starters. MORE

GOOD ADVICE
Visit Florida
09 MAY 2019: Visit Florida were in town last week with a few partners to remind Canadians why it is that so many of us consider the Sunshine State our natural winter habitat. And of course, it’s not just Canadians, tourism is Florida’s top economic driver with 126.1 million visitors in 2018 – the eighth consecutive year of record visitation – and of those visitors 3.5 million were from Canada. MORE

WHO NEEDS IT
Ontario eliminates tourism funding to Toronto and Ottawa
08 MAY 2019: Ontario's Progressive Conservative government has eliminated all of its tourism funding to Toronto and Ottawa, to the tune of $13 million. How should we describe this decision succinctly - well, shortsighted and stupid – might just cover it. MORE

NOT JUST ABOUT THE FOOD
San Antonio has lots to brag about
07 MAY 2019:  Last week San Antonio was in town to spice up a wet dreary day with special guest Chef Johnny Hernandez.  Recognized as one of the premier chefs of Mexican cuisine, Chef Hernandez graciously gave a group of media types a master class in preparing a ceviche as he extolled the virtues of San Antonio. MORE

VACATION BETTER
Sunwing celebrates with agents on Travel Agent Day
06 MAY 2019:  Everyone was in a celebratory mood on Travel Agent’s Day as Sunwing and more than 50 partners gathered to launch the latest and largest Sunwing brochure ever, offering a wide selection of popular resorts in the Caribbean, Mexico and Central America. It all kicked off with an hour-long trade show followed by a dinner and presentation. MORE

SEEING AND BELIEVING
Mack makes it worth the trip
02 MAY 2019: After decades in this industry, I like many others, have been subjected to more than my fair share of tours and tour guides usually droning on and on in monotonous monotones about some seriously uninteresting - let's call it - stuff. Regrettably over the years I have on occasion inflicted this same dull disservice on other unfortunate travellers. Only twice in all that time have I ever found a tour that offered me an experience that was truly both interesting, fun and made me not dread getting back on the coach. And both occasions had three common denominators. MORE

HOPE FOR THE BEST
26 APR 2019: The Florida Legislature in its infinite wisdom has moved another step closer to dumping Visit Florida. Earlier this week the Florida Senate passed a bill to extend Visit Florida, which is set to expire October 1st, and put US $50 million into its budget. However, House leaders, chose to ignore that bill, dismissed concerns that tourism would be impacted without a Statewide marketing authority, and offered up a US $19 million budget to keep the agency funded just through to September. Why? Well isn’t that the question? MORE

THE BEAT GOES ON
An evening with Cher and friends
24 APR 2019: When Cher’s in town it’s always an event. The legend, the icon, the ‘must see’ performer, the winner of over 130 awards including an Oscar, Grammy, Emmy, three Golden Globes, and a Best Actress Award at the Cannes Film Festival. So, when the invitation from Experience Kissimmee to be their guest at Cher’s ‘Here We Go Again Tour’ arrived – my response was immediate and obvious! MORE

HERE WE GO AGAIN
Why do they do it
05 APR 2019: We’ve been down this road with ACTA before. But inappropriate partnerships and alliances seem irresistible to the Association of Canadian Travel Agencies whose name alone should be the hint that they presumably work on behalf of all agencies – and that includes consortia. With that as a given they cannot offer one entity preferential treatment over others. No ACTA! Not a good move! MORE

FAKE FACTS
But it sounded like the truth
02 APR 2019:  The point of an April Fool joke, I think, is that it should be believable right up to the reveal.  Well, our little joke about US driving restrictions for Canadians – succeeded almost too well for some readers.  Yes, for sure most people twigged before the end – but some didn’t, and some didn’t read to the end - and a few fraught emails were sent seeking more information. MORE
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