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My first great public relations disaster

Mon, 09/11/2017 - 09:03 -- Phil Egan

Regular readers of my column know that I spent 40 years in the Canadian travel business in Toronto.

My company was the third largest holiday company in Canada by the time my partners and I sold the company to Transat A.T. Inc., one of the world’s largest integrated travel companies, in 2000.

That year, we carried 250,000 passengers to holidays in the Caribbean, Mexico, and South America, and to Greece, Britain Ireland and other areas of Europe. Annual sales were over a quarter of a billion dollars.

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“Getting My Irish Up” with the Toronto Star

Tue, 08/01/2017 - 13:37 -- Phil Egan

A few weeks ago, I succumbed to a telephone pitch for home delivery of the Toronto Star.

Back in the days when I lived in Oakville, I used to skim five newspapers every day. These included the Toronto Star and Sun, the Globe & Mail, the National Post and the USA Today. The Post was my favourite, but my travel company advertised primarily in the Toronto Star and its once-hefty travel section.

But I really wasn’t a big fan of the newspaper, and getting it again, I was quick to remember why.

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Little Havana and the Great Cuban Lie

Fri, 06/30/2017 - 15:39 -- Phil Egan

A few weeks ago, pursuing his hatred of everything Obama-related, Donald Trump took his travelling circus to Miami. Standing in front of a crowd of Cuban-American supporters in Little Havana, Trump announced what he described as “a dramatic new Cuba policy.”

“I am cancelling the last administration’s completely one-sided deal with Cuba,” he told the crowd as they chanted, “Trump! Trump! Trump!”

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The growing wreckage of American tourism

Mon, 05/08/2017 - 10:30 -- Phil Egan

As a 40-year veteran of the international travel industry, I can say one thing to our neighbours in the United States with certainty.

When the Girl Guides don’t feel comfortable crossing your border, you’ve got a problem.

The Girl Guides have a diverse membership, and were frightened by the threat posed by America’s increasingly arrogant and emboldened border guards. They feared that any attempt to travel in America might result in some of their members being left behind.

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Tension And Turmoil In A Four Martini Lunch

Tue, 04/04/2017 - 11:22 -- Phil Egan

In November of 1972, my father walked into the local Xerox office, managed by the late Ken James.

“What are you doing, Joe?” Ken asked my father.

“Making copies of my son’s resume,” my father replied.

Ken held out his hand. “Let me see that,” he ordered.

It turned out that Xerox was looking for people. I was 24, newly-married, with a three-month old baby at home – and out of work. Not long afterwards, I found myself at XNSDC – the Xerox National Sales Development Centre in Fort Lauderdale.

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The day the Commandante came to visit

Thu, 12/29/2016 - 09:06 -- Phil Egan

Fidel Castro’s death last November brought back a lot of memories.

Forty years in the travel and travel publishing industries took me to Cuba many times. The first time, in 1972, Russian MIG’s still lined the runways at Havana’s Jose Marti airport. Also, I am old enough to remember Castro’s coming to power in 1959, after overthrowing the corrupt dictatorship of Fulgencio Batista.

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