The Association of Canadian Travel Agents (ACTA) awarded its annual Travel Agency Leadership Awards at Travel MarketPlace in Toronto on Wednesday.
The honors, which are given in partnership with Air Canada, recognize individuals who have made a significant impact on the Canadian travel industry as a whole. All award-winners were nominated by their peers.
“Travelers are overwhelmed by choice, and the great thing about all of us is that there is way too much information on the internet to go through,” said ACTA’s Wendy Paradis, who presented the awards along with Air Canada’s Steve Goodfellow.
This year’s Leisure Travel Agent award was given to Mira Laprell Elliot, of Ixtapa Travel, in Saskatoon. The award recognized Laprell Elliot’s 20- plus years as an agent, and her “amazing sales, repeat clientele, and building consumer awareness about using a travel agent,” Paradis said.
This year’s Corporate Travel Agent Award was given to Anil Dhawan, from Dixie Travel & Tours, for his nearly forty years in the travel industry. He started as a volunteer for a year before joining the industry full-time in a paid position, and has since been a corporate travel agent for some clients for over 28 years.
The Ches Chard Award, which is given to an individual who demonstrated a significant commitment to education and whose teaching and training materials have been instrumental in the development of countless travel professionals, was given to John Brouwer, who has worked in the travel industry in all facets for over 20 years, including being an industry educator in British Columbia.
This year’s Maguire-Wamsley award, given to the agent who achieves the highest mark on the ACTA certified manager case studies and works in an ACTA member agency, was given to Corry Ticknor of Gotta Go Travel/Epic Luxury Vacations.
The Tomorrow’s Leader Award recognizes a young professional who shows potential as a great leader in the industry and is a role model for other younger professionals in the industry. This year, it was awarded to Isabelle St.-Amand from Escape Voyage.
The Gerald Heifetz Trailblazer Award recognizes an individual or organization who, in the most recent year, has had a significant impact on the sustainability of the Canadian travel industry. This year, ACTA recognized Barrie Morgan of Algonquin Travel School. Morgan actually retired in 2001, and since then, has been passionate about travel and the travel industry and lifelong learning, so he decided to continue as a part-time volunteer, teaching and supporting students in Canada and from all over the world. He has also volunteered to help develop online content to prep agents for CTC exams and other certifications.