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Air Transat is expanding its presence in Panama with new flights to Playa Blanca, Panama. Flights from Montreal and Toronto to Rio Hato Airport, Coclé, Panama will be operated on Mondays starting 02NOV15. The new flights can be combined with a stay at the Royal Decameron Golf, Beach Resort & Villas, a hotel exclusive to Transat Holidays, located just minutes from Rio Hato Airport. Facing Playa Blanca, one of the top beaches on the Pacific Coast, the Royal Decameron features 852 rooms. Rated at 4.5 stars, the complex offers a variety of restaurants (including eight that are á la carte), a disco and several bars, a casino, a spa, a private golf course (designed by Randall Thompson) as well as activities and a pool for children.

Other excellent hotel choices in the Coclé area include the Wyndham Grand Playa Blanca, the Sheraton Bijdo Beach Resort, the Hotel RIU Playa Blanca and the JW Marriott Panama Golf & Beach Resort.

Call us for details.


Belmond Grand Hibernian Belmond, a hotel and leisure company formerly known as Orient-Express Hotels Ltd., has announced luxury overnight train journeys in Ireland starting in 2016. The Belmond Grand Hibernian will tour the open countryside and cities of both the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland. It has been named after Hibernia, the classical Latin word for Ireland. The Orient-Express-style sleeper train joins other Belmond luxury trains including the Venice Simplon-Orient-Express in Europe; and in the U.K., the British Pullman, the Belmond Northern Belle and the Belmond Royal Scotsman. The Grand Hibernian’s 10 carriages will have exclusive accommodation for just 40 guests, travelling in 20 elegant, ensuite cabins.

There will also be two restaurant cars and an observation bar car. Travellers will be able to choose from a selection of two-, four- and six-night journeys. Visits to Dublin, Belfast and Cork will be on the itineraries, with daily excursions available into historic estates, top visitor attractions, world-class golf courses – and the famous haunts of legendary writers, musicians and artists.

Details on the journeys and fares will be available soon.


Silverseas Cruises is reintroducing its popular Silver Select promotion with enhanced savings options available for a limited time on 52 worldwide voyages in 2015, including select expedition cruises. With Silver Select, virtually every nook and cranny of the world is available to guests who may personalize their voyage with a choice of special offers. On Oceangoing Voyages – a two-category suite upgrade; or USD1,000 per suite Onboard Spending Credit that may be used for shore excursions, spa treatments, specialty restaurants and more; or 50% off a second suite.

Silver Select Savings For Expedition Cruises – a two-category suite upgrade; or 50% off a second suite. Silver Select is available on new bookings made through 30JUN15 for select voyages sailing in the Caribbean, Mediterranean, South Pacific, South America, Asia, Alaska, Galápagos, Africa and the Arctic.

Call us for details.


As agency approaches its 40th anniversary, Trish McTavish says secret to success is providing excellent customer service - Terrilyn Kunopaski

The McTavish Travel team - Back row: Cathy Faleiro, Marian Strus, Allyson Pelisek, Marybeth Parrott, Jody Grierson, Kathryn Butt, Christine Hillis, Carolyn Valenti, Ance Gheorghescu, Deanna Pesa, Sandra McGregor, Nadine Davies, Betty-Anne Ley, Lisa Spears, Dianne McHugh, Tina Leslie & Jo-Anne Wilbur. Front: Ross & Trish McTavish. McTavish Travel has earned the title of Travel Agency of the Year in the Awards of Excellence contest 2011.

No stranger to industry recognition, the agency was also recently awarded the title of North America’s Leading Travel Agency at the World Travel Awards and has an array of other trophies on display at their Oakville office.

Ross & Trish McTavish, owners, McTavish Travel with Terrilyn Kunopaski, editor-in-chief, “We’re honoured to have even been nominated. I think when you’re given an award by your peers, it’s probably the biggest honour you can be given, particularly by our industry in Canada,” said Trish McTavish about the Award of Excellence. “I have to say, I’m really proud of the travel industry in Canada - I think we have a really good industry here, a lot of integrity, so to win this in that circle is a great honour.”

The Award of Excellence comes at an appropriate time as McTavish Travel approaches a special milestone of 40 years in business. When the agency was first launched by Ross McTavish, it was Ross plus one teammate running the show. Trish started working with the business in the early 80s and now, the team has grown to 28 in total and continues to attract new business as well.

Originally, McTavish Travel focused mostly on leisure travel “because that’s what travel was all about,” Trish said.

But, after seeing a lot of corporations coming to them in the early 80s, the agency established a dedicated corporate department and now, that niche represents 50 per cent of the business. Twenty-five per cent is leisure, and another 25 per cent is made up by humanitarian/mission bookings as well as groups.

In fact, McTavish Travel is one of only two humanitarian/mission-accredited agencies in Canada, which means it holds contracts with most of the legacy and large international carriers to provide special fares to large charities, not-for-profits, humanitarian organizations and missionaries.

Whatever the reason for travel, McTavish’s clients come from across Canada, as well as some from the U.S. and other international markets.

So what’s the secret to the success of an agency that does very little marketing yet continues to grow year-after-year?

“Our success has definitely been on the foundation of providing exceptional customer service and referral,” Trish said.

“We have never strayed from our core value and that has been client-centric, client-focused; we always have felt that if we do right by the clients, everything else will fall into line. There are a lot of organizations that put call centres in place and that’s not about the client, that’s about profits. Anything we do, the first question is: how does that benefit the client? If there isn’t a benefit to the client, why are we doing it?

“We’ve never taken on an action because it’s better for us; some of the things we do are more difficult for us, but there’s a huge benefit for the client – it doesn’t matter how hard it’s going to make it for us to do this thing, if it’s good for the client, that’s what we do. And it’s worked for us – if you look after your clients and you look after your staff, your staff will look after your clients and it all works out in the end.”

Being in business for 40 years, McTavish Travel has had many clients with them for more than 30 and staff that has worked there just as long.

In the economic downturn of 2008, the agency was impacted just as everyone else in the industry but was still able to turn a profit without making any layoffs.

“We don’t have growth for the sake of growth,” Trish said. “The important key to growing is just growing enough that you don’t lose business because you’re not able to provide that same level of service.”

McTavish Travel is affiliated with the Ensemble and Uniglobe networks in Canada.


McTavish Travel wins big at World Travel Awards

travel McTavish Travel is very proud of two recent awards!

McTavish Travel was awarded "North America's Leading Travel Agency" in the 19th annual World Travel Awards. It's McTavish Travel's third World Travel Award in 5 years! In 2007 and 2008, we were named "North America's Leading Business Travel Agency". The much coveted World Travel Awards are considered to be "the Oscars of the travel industry".

Launched in 1993, the awards "acknowledge and recognise excellence in the global travel and tourism industry." A World Travel award is "regarded as the very highest achievement that a travel company could hope to receive. Separating the good from the outstanding. Identifying companies that consistently excel beyond expectation. Taking customer expectations to a new, unparalleled high." For more information on the awards, visit

On December 22, 2011 McTavish Travel was named "Canadian Travel Agency of the Year" in the Awards of Excellence.