TTI Travel Celebrates "Stronger Than Ever" Leisure Travel Demand at Holiday Party

The weather outside was frightful, but the party was delightful.

Alexa Frankian sings Christmas carols at the TTI Travel holiday party in Toronto on 15DEC.

Despite a heavy blanket of wet snow that dampened the streets of Toronto, TTI Travel put on a festive holiday party at their bright, attractive downtown office on 15DEC.There was plenty of food and good drink to be had, and they even brought in a tremendous opera singer, Alexa Frankian (daughter of TTI’s Onita Dey), to sing a number of festive tunes, including “Ave Maria,” “Deck The Halls,” and “Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer.”

Lucy Vieira, Orientation and Special Initiatives; Lyell Farquharson, President; Barbara Finn, V.P. Leisure and New Talent Development; Lucy Lavigna, V.P. Travel Services; Rocky Racco, CEO: Danielle Duhamel, Director, I.T., and Michelle Drover, VP Finance and Human Resources.

TTI Travel CEO Rocky Racco said the company’s high-value leisure sales are stronger than they were before the pandemic. Corporate business is roughly at 70% of 2019 levels, but TTI expects a rebound in 2023.

“That 70 per cent figure will continue to trend upwards,” he said. “Banks are starting to demand that folks come back to the office.”

Racco, wearing a dark suit with a Christmas-y red handkerchief, said businesses are being challenged to maintain their corporate culture.

Stephanie Palero, Invoicing Specialist (L) and Sandra Williams-Reid, Independent Consultant.

“All the money they saved with Zoom calls is going to be invested in company-wide retreats, whether that’s in a city or somewhere else. They have to do more of that on a regular basis to re-establish their culture.”

He also noted that workers are living farther away from their offices than ever before. He noted that his daughter is teaching school in Barcelona, and that her boyfriend is working at his Canadian job from Spain. They need to fly to get to Barcelona, and they need to fly to Canada when they have work or family business back here.

L TO R: Dane Joseph, Personal Travel Advisor Away Team; Marc Villeneuve, Personal Travel Advisor Away Team; Rocky Racco, CEO; Lucy Vieira, Orientation and Special Initiatives.

TTI President Lyell Farquharson told Open Jaw that travel is booming.

“It’s been outstanding,” he said. “Corporate travel has been good for us, but we’re not quite back yet.”

Farquharson noted he spent 30 years in corporate travel, “and I think 2023 will be stronger.”

Asked where clients are travelling to, he noted that Vegas is very busy right now.

“Hotels are making so much money on transient travel. They have to find space for business travel during busy times. Airlines are doing fine, but hotels are killing it.”

Farquharson said Europe has been super hot for both leisure and business travel, and now Japan is furiously busy.

“You can’t get a seat for Japan since they opened up.”

Airlines in Canada don’t seem to have staffing issues right now, he noted, but said U.S. carriers are having problems finding staff and pilots. If Canada isn’t careful, U.S. airlines might come after Canadian pilots. And if they do, they’ll be waving American dollars, he predicted.

Jim Byers

Jim Byers is a freelance travel writer based in Toronto. He was formerly travel editor at the Toronto Star and now writes for a variety of publications in Canada and around the world. He's also a regular guest on CBC, CTV News, Global News and other television and radio networks.

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