Transat suffering in Europe. .. Happy Father's Day to a great traveler!
Interesting that Transat is looking at Asia to supplement - or make up for - their European operations.
Faced with Eurozone issues, Transat on Thursday said it's Europe business was down 3.7 per cent in the last reporting period, compared to 2011.
Brent Jang of the Globe and Mail said today the trouble is more with inter-Europe travel, versus a lack of Canadians heading to the continent. Still, Transat CEO Jean-Marc Eustache said his company is "facing a difficult market in Europe." And it's being reported that capacity from Canada to Europe could drop by four per cent.
According to Jang, Transat is looking at Asia to diversify its traditional offerings. Which only makes sense. Even with the slowdown in China, the Asian market appears to be in relatively good shape.
The Aussies are travelling a lot these days because of the strength of the Australian dollar, as well.
HAPPY FATHER'S DAY
A friend sent me a note during coverage of the U.S. Open golf tourney yesterday, commenting on the Olympic Club in San Francisco - where this year's tourney is being played - and asking if I'd played it before.
Alas, I haven't. But I told him I DID get to play at Flemingdon Golf Club in Toronto yesterday.
For those who don't get the joke, Flemingdon, or Flemo, or the Royal Flem, is a nine-hole course tucked into a valley near the Don Valley Parkway and Eglinton. Not remotely fancy, but a fun little course that's in good shape and is an absolute joy to walk on a lovely day like yesterday. Good food, too, and a great little patio.
But the best part of playing it yesterday was playing with one of my boys and with my Dad.
Golf has always been a big part of holidays with my Dad. We've teed up in together all around the East Bay in the San Francisco area, where I grew up. But we've also had trips together and played in Hawaii (the photo of us is from this year, sitting under the giant Banyan Tree in Lahaina, Maui), Arizona, South Carolina and Florida. And here in Toronto.
My Mom was a travel agent for many years, and my Dad likes to say I got the travel bug from her. But he's just as much of a wanderer as my Mom. At age 80, he's thankfully still going strong and making trips galore; Alaska cruises and Europe trips and occasional forays to Australia or New Zealand. And lots of trips to Toronto of late to catch up with his grandchildren's graduations and take in dinners and golf games.
Our first big trip as a family, at least the one I remember the most, was a driving trip from San Francisco up to British Columbia, then over to Banff, down to Yellowstone Park in the U.S. and then down to Salt Lake City and back to northern California. We stayed at a dumpy motel near Vernon B.C. with a train that seemed to roll through the bedroom every couple hours, but we still laugh about it and the scenery was glorious and my sister and I somehow survived without a DVD player or power outlets.
The next big one was Niagara Falls, New York City (including a climb to the top of the Statue of Liberty), Philadelphia, Washington D.C. (including an endless loop around the Jefferson Memorial and $5 cokes from room service), then Florida and Jamaica and New Orleans. Wow, what a trip that was.
I remember taking a taxi outside of, I think, Ocho Rios and winding along and bumping and grinding (so to speak) along a small road as we headed for an airport. Finally, we looked up and saw a smooth stretch of asphalt in the middle of some trees.
"Great, the highway," my Dad said to our taxi driver.
"No, sir," the driver replied with a grin. "That's not the highway. That's the runway."
I can't even count the number of times we've been to Hawaii, mostly Maui but also Kauai and the big Island and Oahu. My family has always loved the people and the sights and smells of Maui; the sunseets and the golf and the food and the beaches. We usually stayed at Kahana Sunset, a small, perfectly beautiful family condo with a small beach and a lanai and great barbeques!
We play Kapalua a fair bit, the Bay Course, but we really love teeing it up at the Maui municipal course in Waiehu, where there are more holes on the ocean than any course on the island and you meet up with colourful locals and don't have to worry about a thing.
Once, a buddy and I and my Dad made a trek to one of the high-end courses on Maui for a real treat. We got to the club house and the guy told my Dad that we couldn't play because my friend and I were in cutoffs.
"Strictly proper golf attire," the man said, dripping with attitude.
My Dad hates that sort of uppity stuff and said something like, "you can stick a four-iron up your locker," or words to that effect.
"Come on boys," he said, "let's go over to Maui muni."
I'm sure we were a little disappointed. But I've always been proud of my Dad for that; sticking up for my friend and I and all.
We got to the municipal course and my Dad forked over some cash.
"How old are da boys," the guy at the muni course said.
"Seventeen," my Dad replied.
"No, I think they're sixteen," the clubhouse worker said.
"I think they're seventeen," my Dad said.
"No, sir," the man insisted. "It's a reduced rate if they're sixteen. Dose boys are sixteen."
My Dad loves that story. And I love my Dad for his generosity in offering to take us to the posh course and for standing up for my poorly attired buddy and I and for his honesty at the muni course - and in a million other moments.
I've been hugely lucky in my life. My Dad has instilled in me a love of travel and a respect for other people of the world and a sense of fun and adventure that has helped me along in more ways than I can count. To get to play a little golf with him this week and go for celebratory family lunches and dinners and tinker about in the house (there he was yesterday, fixing one of my family-room windows) and in the garden is just about the best way to spend Father's Day I can think of.