Ian Kalinowsky | The Great Canadian Travel Co.

STAFF PICKS

September 21, 2020 | Shauna Cook

This past winter I had the opportunity to stay at the Snowhotel in Kirkenes, Norway. I stayed on December 1st for one night. The actual Snowhotel wasn’t quite finished construction yet, so we stayed in the equally unique Gamme Cabins, and they were fabulous! We flew about 2.5 hours northeast …

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September 20, 2020 | Karen Pearson

With Covid-19 curtailing our plans, my partner and I have been missing travel. To help with that, one day while Chris was at work, I decided to surprise him by making a dinner with Peruvian and Bolivian foods so we could relive one of our favourite trips.        …

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August 19, 2020 | Shauna Cook

When I was researching interesting things to see in Moscow, the Moscow Metro System kept on popping up.  So I booked a metro tour before I left – and it certainly did NOT disappoint!! Our guide led our small group (10 people) through the extremely busy, but equally beautiful metro …

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A Note from our President, 22 July 2020

July 23, 2020 | Ian Kalinowsky

KE = 1/2 MV²
Kinetic energy is equal to 1/2 of the mass of an object multiplied by its velocity squared.

Kinetic energy of an object is the energy it possesses once it is in motion. Until the object is in motion all of its energy is simply ”potential energy.” The key to the sentence Is ”motion”, for without motion there is nothing except potential.

What does a lesson in physics have to do with travel?

I think it is all about the potential to be in motion; to explore; to expand our horizons and our understanding of the people and the planet that we live on. Today, with the world gripped by a pandemic, it really is about potential. There is no “kinetic energy” in the world of travel.

Physics really does not expand on the notion of WHY, but I think it is important. Motion, for the sake of motion, is really meaningless. There needs to be a purpose. With the restrictions on travelling, even outside of one’s door at home, there has become a much greater emphasis on the purpose of our travels. Read More >

A Note from our President, 15 July 2020

July 15, 2020 | Ian Kalinowsky

Opening – Closing – Re-opening – Delayed – Cancelled – Extended…

Welcome to the ever-changing world of global travel. The only constant is that nothing is constant, certain or sometimes even known for sure.
There is a tremendous amount of enthusiasm in the travel headlines as countries, destinations and resorts announce that they are “Open for Business”. While we are encouraged by these announcements, as travel professionals interested in providing you with the best advice, we are concerned.
The term “Open” now comes with so many caveats, that it is necessary to read and interpret the fine print.  “Open” (if you come with Negative pre-test done within 10 days , which can be overturned if “you exhibit signs” as determined by health officials greeting the plane ) says the ad for Jamaica. “Open” says Iceland, and then, once you land, charges you about US$150 to take a test, quarantine for 12 hours and then be informed if you (and your plane) pass. What happens if you or the six rows around you do not pass? A mandatory 14-day quarantine – at your expense.   Read More >

A Note from our President, 08 July 2020

July 08, 2020 | Ian Kalinowsky

Travel is not just about people going somewhere. It is about inspiration, opportunity, dreams, ambitions and about building lifelong connections. COVID-19 has not made any of these things disappear.

In many ways the desire for real connectivity is being increased. Travel has changed forever. One major change may be seen in the reasons that we travel, with a greater sense of desire to be connected to people. Rather than just focusing on the cheapest trip to go somewhere for a couple of days, our travel will be about our families and friends – the desire to go and see loved ones that Zoom or FaceTime just doesn’t fulfill. A family trip away to “really” spend time together. Or, given the dramatically increased “travel hassle factor“, travelling with a purpose.

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A Note from our President, 01 July 2020

July 01, 2020 | Ian Kalinowsky

Happy Canada Day, everyone!

Despite the pandemic and unusual times we are going through we are truly blessed to live and work in Canada. I am reminded of this every day, when I watch the news from around the world and see the struggles facing other countries. We have stable governments, federally and provincially; a diverse economy that is adapting to the present challenges and needs; a great health care system and wonderful opportunities as citizens and as a country.
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Drum Dance Ceremony in Naujaat (Nunavut)

June 12, 2020 | Ian Kalinowsky

Margot (my spouse and tour director for Great Canadian Travel) and I were escorting a group of clients to venture out to the Floe Edge in the community of Naujaat, Nunavut (formerly Repulse Bay and translated as “seagull nesting place”) and to celebrate National Indigenous Peoples Day on the summer solstice – June 21, 2018. Naujaat is considered to be a “traditional” community in that they rely on hunting and fishing for their sustenance.

The Naujaat community has built a wonderful “elders’ retreat” outside of the community. It is away from the hustle and bustle of the community and allows for contemplation, quiet enjoyment of each other’s company and celebrations. Our group was invited into the retreat to experience and learn about drum dancing.

  A Qulliq – a traditional, soapstone oil-lamp filled with sealskin oil – was ceremonially lit and placed on a table by a window overlooking the rolling hills and Hudson Bay in the background. It was very calming.

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A Note from our President, 03 June 2020

June 03, 2020 | Ian Kalinowsky

Hello all,

Last week I wrote about airline schedules and reservations from our Canadian clients’ perspective, this week I’ll tackle it from the viewpoint of our American clients.

Skift is a travel industry investigative journalism online publication. On May 26th, they published a very interesting article that I want to bring to your attention, How Airlines are Generating Revenue on Flights That Will Never Take Off.
“US airlines are selling a lot of flights they have no intention of operating. Consumers should beware.- Brian Sumers, Skift – May 26 2020, 2:30am Read More >

A Note from our President, 27 May 2020

May 27, 2020 | Ian Kalinowsky

Greetings!
Here in Manitoba the sun is shining, the temperature is improving, and May flowers are popping out. Businesses in Manitoba can open again under the “new normal” rules of maintaining physical distancing, sanitization processes and so on. New cases of Covid-19 here are non-existent and there is a feeling of optimism in the air.
Having been cooped up in our many forms of self-isolation there is an understandable desire to get out, to return to the “old normal” and to travel again. We are seeing an increase in the number of inquiries as to where and how people can travel.
As much as I welcome this increased desire to travel, and I certainly look forward to the day our travel business is running full steam again, this letter is about caution. Today, I’ll focus on this from our Canadian clients’ perspective, next week from that of our American clients’ viewpoint, as regulations are quite different between the two countries. Read More >

A Note from our President, 20 May 2020

May 20, 2020 | Ian Kalinowsky

Dear clients,

We’re past the 2-month mark of the COVID-19 pandemic and things here in our part of the world are beginning to look very positive and hopeful. We know there’s a long way to go before our world opens up fully. But, little by little, we’ll get there.

Our staff continues to be here for our clients, supporting them and guiding them through a myriad of rebooking and rescheduling options and, in some cases, refunds. New bookings are being made for travel in late 2020, in 2021 and even into 2022. Yes, we will travel again!

Most of our clients, and the majority of clients of travel companies around the world, realize that these are unprecedented times and that we find ourselves in a situation none of us could possibly have foreseen. They understand that policies are constantly changing, are not consistent from supplier to supplier, even differing from country to country with the same supplier. And they are aware that our industry has been almost decimated by the global shutdown.

Unfortunately, not all people are understanding of the difficult situation faced by agencies, travel and tourism suppliers.  The debate rages on about whether a travel credit versus a refund is fair compensation during these unique times. Those who argue for refunds either don’t consider, or simply don’t care, that their demands could well push a business into bankruptcy. Read More >

A Note from our President, 13 May 2020

May 13, 2020 | Ian Kalinowsky

Dear clients,

The last few weeks have been unusual, there’s no doubt about it!

The travel industry, in general, all but shut down within a matter of days. But, the work for our travel business didn’t disappear, as we had clients who we needed to help get home. And there were lots of future trips to be rescheduled or cancelled. Difficult decisions had to be made as to staffing levels and, after discussions with each staff member individually by phone, many were temporarily laid off. During that time we kept in touch through weekly updates about what was happening in our offices in Winnipeg and Edmonton; news from our suppliers and the status of various government programs. I shared as much information as I possibly could, to keep all of our team members “in the loop”.

My staff members, those who were still working and those who were laid off, continued to communicate with one another, to share information about files or news, or just to say “Hi, thinking of you”. It was heartwarming to see the comradery between colleagues during a tough time.

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A Note from our President, 06 May 2020

May 06, 2020 | Ian Kalinowsky

Dear clients,

Two months – a new vocabulary – a new way of living and relating to people around us – eternal hope that sometime “our new normal” will be restored to something resembling our “old normal.” This week there appeared to be a small light at the end of the tunnel as businesses in Manitoba, Canada and other places around the world started to open back up. “Slowly and cautiously” will be the mantra to ensure that the “second wave” of the virus does not cause us all to have to revert to complete isolation once again.

Two months is a long time to be away from each other at the office. Two months is a long time to be away from our clients. But as I walked to work this morning, listening to the birds just starting the day and observing the sky change colours in the pre-dawn, my thoughts were not on despair but on gratitude.

Today is National Travel Agent Day and it formally gives me the reason to pause and say to our travel consultants, “Thank you for your outstanding work! Thank you for Creating the Best Days Ever for our clients. Thank you for your caring, your professionalism, your knowledge and your expertise.”

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