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Tuesday, 24 January 2012

Quebec travel industry players discuss the rumours concerning Transat’s acquisition of TMR
André Désiront

Jean-Marc Eustache, president & CEO, Transat A.T. inc
Yvon Michel, co-owner, Tours Mont-Royal
The last few days have seen persistent rumours floating around throughout the travel industry suggesting Transat has acquired Quebec-based tour operator Tours Mont-Royal (TMR). But is there any truth to these rumours?

One such rumour suggested that Nolitours founder Sam Ghorayeb would be the new head of TMR under Transat. For several years now Ghoraveb has worked as a buyer for the French subsidiary Look Voyages.

Another rumour has Daniel Godbout, vice-president, transport and yield management, Transat at the head  of the newly acquired group. A third would suggest that Michel Parent, vice-president and co-owner of TMR would take the helm of the wholesale company he has co-managed alongside Yvon Michel for the past 20 years.

Sam Ghorayeb, Nolitours founder
Daniel Godbout, vice-president, transport and yield management, Transat
Obviously, due to the fact that it is a publicly traded company, Transat could not comment on the rumours. The “no comment” from Yvon Michel said more: “The news was published as a rumour that no one wants to confirm and I include myself in that ‘no one.’” That being said, he wouldn’t deny the rumours either. spoke with some of Quebec’s major players in the travel industry to find out what they thought of the rumours. All indications are that travel agencies see the acquisition as a positive.

Michel Parent, vice-president & co-owener, Tours Mont-Royal
Jean Colette, president, AAVQ
For instance, Jean Colette, president, Association des agents de voyages du Québec (Travel Agent Association of Quebec or the AAVQ) said that if the rumours were true, then it would certainly be a good thing for Transat and its shareholders. Colette added that Tours Mont-Royal is a well established company that deals with considerable business volume that would help to increase Transat’s buying power.

Richard Villeneuve, co-president, Réseau En Direct noted that the rumours had been circulating for a few days and that agencies see the possible development in a positive light. Villeneuve commented that of all the major tour operators, Tours Mont-Royal was probably the one that showed the most energy on which to build a direct sales structure. He also said that Transat has a large network of agencies and franchises which put pressure on its distribution policies, prompting the group to handle the distribution network with respect.

Richard Villeneuve, co- president, Réseau En Direct
Sylvain Lastère, president, Groupe Atrium
Groupe Atrium president Sylvain Lastère remarked that it is too early to jump to conclusions, saying that we don’t know what could change and that we can’t predict what will happen with Tours Mont-Royal. He also pointed out that these speculations are based on rumours only.

Others, who wished not to be identified, think that Tours Mont-Royal’s addition to the Transat empire could become the hallmark of direct sales for its parent company.

- Translated by Zachary-Cy Vanasse

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