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ROUND-UP:June 22-26, 2020

In case you missed it, and even if you didn’t, here’s a quick look at some of last week’s need-to-know travel news, including: TravCorp reveals an industry-first; Disney doings; and a contest from Dominica

NEWS

Tourism HR Canada has officially released its COVID-19 Tourism Workforce Recovery Toolkit. The practical, free, web-based program includes guidelines, workflows, checklists and tools focused on topics like finance, health and safety, human resources and change management to provide action items for tourism operators planning and launching their reopening and recovery efforts. The English version of the Toolkit is now available at tourismrecovery.ca; the French version will be released in the coming weeks.

The federal government has extended $2 million in federal aid to the Vancouver Aquarium to help the 60-year-old attraction re-open to visitors, cover operational costs, and ensure the survival of its marine animals. Meanwhile, the Indigenous Tourism Association of Canada (ITAC) has been given $1.95 million from Destination Canada for its sales and marketing recovery budget, and Travel Alberta has announced a $17-million investment to help restart Alberta’s tourism industry.

In response to the “understandable concerns” of clients in the new post COVID-19 world of travelling, The Travel Corporation will introduce a “Wellbeing Director” on every Trafalgar, Insight Vacations and Luxury Gold guided vacation (excluding Australia and New Zealand), starting with domestic trips this year. The initiative, which will see the director ensuring adherence to all health and safety standards on tours, is an industry first, says TTC.

RE-OPENING

RIU Tenerife

This week RIU Hotels & Resorts will reopen in Spain. Following the closure of all its hotels worldwide, the chain is gradually restarting operations around the world, with 50 hotels open or about to open in 15 countries, including Germany, Mexico, United States, Bulgaria, Portugal, Ireland, Jamaica, Costa Rica, Aruba, the Dominican Republic, the Bahamas, Morocco, Zanzibar and Sri Lanka.

The Brisas Group reports the opening of Las Brisas and Galeria Plaza locations across Mexico with all hotels scheduled to be open this week (July 1).

Toronto’s CN Tower in will welcome guests back to its observation levels starting July 15.

Belize’s international airport (BZE) will be opened on Aug. 15 as part of the country’s five-phase re-opening strategy for tourism.

DELAYED

G Adventures has suspended all tours departing up to and including Aug. 31. Travellers booked and fully paid on a tour will receive a 110% travel credit valid for two years while those who haven’t yet made their final payment will have their Lifetime Deposit kept on file to put towards a future tour.

In California, Disney had hoped to reopen Disneyland and Disney California Adventure in Anaheim on July 17 after a four-month closure due to the coronavirus. But the state has indicated it won’t issue guidelines until after July 4, causing the company to delay reopening those parks.

Carnival Cruise Line has extended its operational pause in North America through Sept. 30, 2020

AIR

As it prepares to gradually resume operations on July 23, Transat has assembled a practical guide of tips to help travellers prepare for their trips and travel with peace of mind. Available on the company’s web site, the guide recaps health measures and answers to the most common questions travellers might have, including what to check before departure, how to ensure that check-in and boarding go smoothly, what to do if they are denied boarding, how to limit contact, and what new procedures to respect at destination.

DEALS

For a limited time, Sunwing is offering savings of up to 35% on vacation packages to RIU Hotels & Resorts and RIU Palace Resorts for departures in November and December 2020. With the “See You at RIU” sale, sun-seekers can change or cancel their plans with ease, flexible payment options and complimentary Price Drop Cash Back of up to $800 per couple.

Air Canada Vacations has updated its Canada Promise with new exclusive perks when booking any Canada flight and hotel package and tours. Plus, through July 12, ACV customers can take advantage of savings of $100 off per booking with the CANADA2020 promo code. See the web site for full details.

Clients booking NARAT’s Maldives Escape FIT packages by July 10 will receive reservation incentives including up to 30% off and a five-night free Sri Lanka villa stay extension. Travel may take place until July 30, 2021, and traveller worry-free reservation benefits include no deposit requirement until Aug. 1 and penalty free cancellation up to 90 days in advance. Packages are inclusive of all meals and complimentary wellness activities. E-mail tours@narat.org for details.

TOURS

Hiking in Glacier Bay, Alaska

UnCruise Adventures will begin Alaska sailings Aug. 1 with a seven-night Glacier Bay National Park Adventure tour featuring an enhanced wilderness itinerary (photo). The round-trip excursion from Juneau includes remote wilderness hikes, shoreline kayaks, and a choice of nature-based activities.

HOTELS

MGM Resorts International now requires masks for all guests and visitors inside public spaces at every MGM Resorts property in the United States. The company previously required all employees to wear masks, while guest and visitor mask requirements were based on local regulations.

Similarly, Caesars Entertainment Corp. has announced that everyone indoors at its properties across the Caesars network will be required to wear masks at all times, except when eating or drinking.

RESORTS

Tremblant has opened a number of amenities and services over the past few weeks following the implementation of public health measures: the panoramic gondola and beaches, luge run (July 4) and the Tonga Lumina illuminated night walk (July 17). Already available are hiking, biking, golf, mini-putt, tennis and boat rentals.

CRUISE

The COVID pandemic has prompted Carnival Corp. to accelerate its “capacity optimization strategy,” which will see the removal of additional ships in 2020. The unnamed vessels were previously expected to be sold over the ensuing years. The company already has preliminary agreements for the disposal of six ships, which are expected to leave the fleet in the next 90 days. At the same time, the arrival of four ships by October of this year are expected to be delayed.

ATTRACTIONS & THEME PARKS

Disney says it is recasting its Splash Mountain rides in both Florida and California to instead be based on “The Princess and the Frog,” the 2009 Disney film with an African American female lead. The attraction has long been derided for its ties to the 1946 movie, “Song of the South,” which many consider racist.

CONTEST

The new #DominicaViewpoints contest is offering prizes to participants who post or re-post a picture highlighting themselves or friends at one of Dominica’s viewpoints on Facebook or Instagram or via e-mail at tourism@dominica.dm. The contest is open until July 31, multiple entries are welcome, and the posting must indicate the viewpoint. Use the tags @discoverdominica and #DominicaViewpoints when posting.

EVENTS

Air Canada/Air Canada Vacations and its European tourism partners (Switzerland, Ireland, Spain, Germany, Italy, and Great Britain) will host a webinar on June 30 at 1 p.m. EDT. Register HERE.

BY THE NUMBERS

The good old days: VIA Rail Canada (VIA Rail) reports that it recorded its highest annual ridership – over five million passengers – in the last three decades in 2019. This represents a 5.5% increase in passengers compared to 2018.

DESTINATIONS

A new United Kingdom-wide industry standard and consumer mark is designed to assure visitors that participating businesses are adhering to government and public health COVID-19 safety standards. The “We’re Good to Go” campaign and logo displayed by businesses “will reassure Canadian travellers when the time comes to travel to Great Britain once again that local businesses are following the official guidelines to welcome them back safely and with confidence,” says VisitBritain Executive VP, The Americas Gavin Landry.

Send info to baginski@travelindustrytoday.com.

* Future dates and events listed here are up to date at time of printing, although obviously subject to changes due to ever-involving pandemic information. Travel Industry Today accepts no responsibility for sudden or unreported inaccuracies.

First published at Travel Industry Today

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