Christmas Carrolling With itravel2000
with Martha Chapman

The place to be: Spice Route in Toronto

Jonathan Carroll with Alfonso Sumano of the Mexico Tourism Board

Former colleagues Linda Wright of Thomas Cook and Deana Murphy of Sunwing

John Kennedy celebrating the season with Michelle Palma

Susie Deveault of TS with Sunwing’s Debbie Hiscox and Suzanne Diefenbaker, also with TS

What’s Christmas in T.O. without the annual itravel bash?

Again this year a host of travel industry types, including some faces unseen for the other 364 days of the year, emerged to celebrate the season and get caught up with friends and colleagues from airlines, tour operators and tourist boards along with genial host Jonathan Carroll.

The venue once again was the spacious Spice Route on trendy King West, where the vast club was decorated for the season, and guests munched on an array of exotic nibblies and enjoyed the full – and I mean full – bar.

(The only request anyone could have had would be for fewer decibels of the thumping standard-issue club music: it’s hard to gossip and check out rumours when you have to bellow to do it!)

Once again the itravel2000 party proved the perfect occasion for my poll of what some movers and shakers in the industry hope Santa will deliver next year.

Flemming Friisdahl of Thomas Cook actually asked Santa to take seats away, while ACTA’s David McCaig voted for higher commissions. Andrea Mendelsohn-East of Rocky Mountaineer Vacations is hoping for more Canadians to choose their product, and Rick McCauley of Barcelo has an easy request: more lift for Los Cabos (and he’s not talking Rudolph and his sleigh). Sunwing’s Stephen Hunter looked at my notebook before laughing “How many pages do you have?†and then conceded that “A lot of snow†would be his request to Jolly Old St. Nick. John Kennedy of Global Travel Acquisitions voted for “Sanity!†and Michelle Palma (of Signature) wants – after world peace, of course – “A successful merger.†Jen Savedra (who is she?) asks for “More scandals.â€

And our host? Jonathan, now CEO of Travelzest (complete with 11 companies and 350 staff) told me that “I don’t need anything – I’m happy enjoying the greatest experience of my life, going into the UK market and seeing how it operates.†Lucky him!

So thanks again Jonathan and crew: great venue, excellent bevvies and nosh – and wonderful company yet again.

Here’s to a great 2010!

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