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This article was published 25/11/2008 (4237 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
"We had a wedding group, a celebration of between 20 and 50 people, and now the tour operator tells us there's a cancellation so I have to get them there in the middle of February (on other operator's) seats," said Ron Pradinuk with Journeys Travel and Leisure Supercentre.
Tour operators got nervous when seats to sun destinations weren't selling and cancelled flights rather than incur losses, he said.
"We've all been scrambling," said Pradinuk, who estimates tour operators have nixed a total 1,000 seats over the entire winter. They've scaled back flights to Mazatlan, Mexico, Puerto Plata and Punta Cana in the Dominican Republic and Santa Clara, Cuba.
"You had all these suppliers -- five with WestJet and Air Canada -- and all came in with a lot of seats. There were more seats to be sold but with the economic situation, fewer seats were purchased. Someone blinked," he said.
"These (destinations) were not selling," said Transat spokesman Jean-Michel Laberge in Montreal. Tour company Transat, which uses different air carriers, decided to cancel Skyservice flights to Puerta Plata and WestJet flights to Santa Clara, Cuba, Laberge said. Such cancellations are "normal," he said.
"We always try different things and see how they sell, then adjust... we adjust our offer to meet the demand of people in Winnipeg."
Laberge wouldn't say how many seats were nixed but that those customers will be offered the option of a holiday in Puerta Vallarta, Mexico.
"There's a lot of work involved whenever there's a cancellation," said Pradinuk in Winnipeg. "Travel agents go through a hard time." Especially when they're dealing with group bookings.
Shrinking supply means bargains may be harder to find.
"Anyone figuring they'll get super-sale prices to Mazatlan" may be disappointed, said Pradinuk. "All those people displaced off Sunwing will now only have one place to go -- that's going to help fill up Signature's planes," he said.
News of an economic downturn is making some bargain-conscious Winnipeggers hold off on finalizing travel plans, said Linda Burndorfer, owner of Out'N About Travel Inc. on Osborne Street.
"We had a great start (to the season) then everything started happening around us... things started tanking," she said. "People who were phoning us and we'd started the process of quoting them prices are calling back to say 'I might just hang on and wait for a deal,'" she said.
"Winnipeggers are that way," said Burndorfer. "We're frugal... And the fact that we haven't had any minus-40 (Celsius) days yet -- things are tough."
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