Montreal (Quebec), February 1, 2000
Transat A.T. Inc. (TRZ:TSE) announces the creation of exit.ca, a subsidiary whose mission is the business development of the company's retail e-commerce. Today, the new company launched its first initiative, a first in Canada: www.exit.ca, which is a transactional Web site devoted entirely to vacation travel. Visitors to the site will have access to the most comprehensive selection of holiday packages available on a single site for departures from Canadian cities.
'The vacation-travel sector is currently undergoing a major transformation as a result of the advent of electronic commerce,' stated Jean-Marc Eustache, President and Chief Executive Officer of Transat. “In a sector where change is a constant, the Internet presented an opportunity for a Canadian company to make a decisive move. In keeping with its reputation, Transat is leading the way by offering a simple, user-friendly tool that is adapted to the context of Canadian vacation travel. This Web site is meant to become a true crossroads, providing access to a complete range of products and services.
Following the example of www.anyway.com, created for the French market almost a year ago by our subsidiary Brok’Air, www.exit.ca represents a new way of doing business, a new distribution channel for travel products.” As the effort required to create a site of this magnitude is great, exit.ca chose to work in stages. Thus, as of today, the site offers holiday packages. Then, charter flights will be added in March. The site will develop continuously.
'We are aware of the importance of losing no time in staking a choice claim in a booming market. By proceeding in stages, we will be able to assert our presence more rapidly and thus be among the front-runners,” explained Mr. Eustache.
Initially, the packages available on exit.ca are those of three major tour operators in Canada: Conquest, Signature, and Air Transat Holidays. Discussions are under way with other tour operators as well. 'From the very beginning, we've had an open attitude about how we'll define the product offering on exit.ca.,” said Mr. Eustache “We want visitors to the site to be able to find the vacation packages they're looking for, regardless of the supplier. It's a definite advantage for users: by visiting just one site, they'll be able to compare several different products. This is why we made the subsidiary responsible for exit.ca fully autonomous and why we have given it the latitude it needs to forge its own partnerships with various industry stakeholders.”
In the final analysis, e-commerce harmonizes completely with Transat's approach, which is based on vertical integration. “The creation of exit.ca further promotes the realization of our corporate vision: to offer quality vacation packages at affordable prices to a mass clientele,' concluded Mr. Eustache.
Transat A.T. Inc., the leader in the Canadian tourism industry, is a public corporation listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange. Through its subsidiaries and affiliated companies, the company is active in all aspects of the organization and distribution of travel services, as well as in air transportation.
Air Transat, an air carrier, is a wholly owned subsidiary, as are Air Transat Holidays (Montreal, Quebec City, Toronto, Vancouver, and Fort Lauderdale); Vacances Air Transat (France); Voyages Nolitour (Montreal); Regent Holidays (Toronto), which are tour operators; as well as the Tourbec travel agency chain. Transat A.T. Inc. holds an interest in Look Voyages (98%), Brok'Air (39%), and World of Vacations (35%), which are tour operators; in Consultour/Club Voyages (50%), a travel-agency franchise group; and Services Haycot (50%), an airport handling services company.
In addition, Air Transat Holidays holds an interest in the incoming tour operator DMC Transat (66.7%), and Look Voyages, in STAR Airlines (49.6%).