Jen Savedra

Jen Savedra is the founder and editor 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.



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Confusion over new permits and tolls.
01 APR 2019: Effective immediately the United States have announced that Canadians planning to operate a vehicle in the US must be in possession of not just a Canadian drivers’ licence, but will need to obtain a Visitor’s Driving permit, and will be required to pay a ‘Federal Alien Toll’ of US $5 daily, $125 monthly or $300 annually.   MORE

How to succeed in a changing industry
26 MAR 2019: At the recent Connect Conference in Kissimmee, Randy Garfield spoke eloquently of ‘change’ and how to succeed in a changing industry. The retired president of Walt Disney Travel and EVP Worldwide Sales and Travel Operations Disney Destinations, has worked in almost every segment of our industry including volunteer DMO board leadership roles in California and Florida, as well as at Brand USA and Destination Canada, and has had an unique opportunity to see our industry change and morph while closely observing how companies and individuals successfully adapt, or, in some cases, fail. The subject is fascinating and Randy Garfield agreed to share some of his thoughts with our readers. MORE

More than just a Magic Carpet ride
13 MAR 2019: Celebrity president and CEO Lisa Lutoff-Perlo says that when designing the Edge, the cruise line wanted to make people “comfortable yet inspired” and “to transform not just a brand – but the industry!” The project, she says, has “far exceeded our expectation.” And certainly we can attest to the fact that the Edge has, unquestionably, a serious ‘WOW’ factor.   MORE

08 MAR 2019: As it is International Womens’ Day (and Friday) I decided that an ‘all women’ issue might be appropriate. Today's three videos take us from the current time back to the seventies and what many consider the original 'women’s anthem’ and also included is one of the most defiant songs by anyone - man or woman. I also thought it a good time to pay tribute to the women of this industry so -  here are the faces of women in travel.   MORE

Therapy dogs are coming to YYZ to soothe stressed travellers
21 FEB 2019: I love dogs, but I just don’t get this. The Greater Toronto Airports Authority says 15 dog teams from the St. John Ambulance will be roaming terminals 1 and 3 at Pearson International Airport on a weekly rotation in an effort to relieve travellers' tensions. MORE