ROUND-UP: April 25-29
WestJet and Transat are now codeshare partners; Air Canada financials confirm that travel recovery is “underway,” as does the WTTC, which says a “hot summer” is ahead (for travel, not weather, though that too may be true); the deadline for the Canada Recovery Hiring program is approaching; and TICO has a new toolkit.
The World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) is forecasting a “hot summer ahead” for travel thanks to a major increase in global international flight bookings for key destinations across Asia-Pacific, Europe, and the Americas as international travel takes off. Countries leading the ranking of top 20 best performing destinations for the summer, according to leading travel and analytics company ForwardKeys, are Costa Rica, Aruba, Dominican Republic, and Jamaica.
As social distancing restrictions ease at varying rates across Canada, major cities across the country are poised for economic recovery according to new research from The Conference Board of Canada. Combined with an increase in travel and tourism, high vaccination rates across the country should help most cities’ economies and employment return to pre-pandemic levels in 2022.
The Russian Federation has been suspended from the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), losing with immediate effect its rights and privileges as part of the United Nations specialized agency.
ACTA is reminding agencies that they may qualify for the federal Canada Recovery Hiring Program, and that the deadline to apply is May 7. The program supports businesses experiencing sufficient recovery to hire employees or increase hours of work of existing employees. Applications to the CRHP are made through the same system as the THRP. For more information, click HERE.
Citing a survey that suggests that consumers expect to learn about the consumer protection available to them from the company they are booking with, the Travel Industry Council of Ontario (TICO) has launched an easy-to-use digital Registrant Toolkit with shareable resources that speak to the value of booking with a TICO-registered business. The online resource, which users can download or share includes consumer protection overview PDF in 16 languages; logos; social media posts; blog posts, and videos. All the resources speak to the consumer protection benefits of booking with a TICO-registered company. Download the toolkit HERE.
Visitors to Thailand who are fully vaccinated against the coronavirus will no longer need to undergo any test or quarantine on arrival starting today (May 1). Under the new rules, unvaccinated travellers will still have to provide proof of negative results from a RT-PCR test taken no more than 72 hours before arrival and all visitors still must register with an online “Thailand Pass” system and provide proof of health insurance with coverage of at least $10,000 for COVID-19 treatment.
Similarly, Malaysia has lifted most COVID restrictions, most notably dropping the requirement for fully vaccinated travellers and children under 12 to test prior to and upon arrival.
BY THE NUMBERS
The Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) is reporting that more than one million travellers (1,053,523) entered the country April 11-17, the first time that travel volumes have been this high since the start of the pandemic two years ago.
The first large cruise ship of the season arrived in Alaska last week with the call of the Norwegian Bliss in Juneau. The visit marks start of what industry and tourism officials expect will be a more robust travel year after two pandemic-stunted seasons.
At the same time, after two years of suspended service due to COVID-related travel restrictions, Great Lakes cruises returned to the Port of Toronto with the arrival of Viking Octantis on April 29. This year promises to be the biggest year yet with 40 ships scheduled to call in the Ontario capital.
Air Transat and WestJet have launched a new transatlantic codeshare. On May 4, Air Transat’s “TS” code will be activated on select WestJet flights, and from that date Air Transat will also offer itineraries connecting select WestJet flights with Air Transat European destinations. WestJet’s “WS” code is also now activated for sale on select Air Transat operated flights to/from France, Italy, Spain, Portugal, Switzerland, and Croatia. Connections via Montreal and Toronto are now available for flight dates beginning May 17.
Low-cost air carrier Swoop says it will be suspending service between Winnipeg and Toronto this as of June 20. Travellers also have the option to re-book on an available WestJet flight.
Despite reporting a first-quarter loss of nearly a billion dollars, Air Canada CEO Michael Rousseau says year-over-year improvement in the airline’s results is clear evidence that a recovery is underway. The airline said it lost $974 million in the first three months of 2022 compared with a loss of $1.30 billion a year earlier, but that its revenue more than tripled.
Canada Jetlines has selected Allianz Global Assistance as an exclusive partner in travel assistance and insurance. The partnership follows Canada Jetlines’ unveiling of its first aircraft along with the announcement of Toronto Pearson International Airport (GTAA) as the airline’s travel hub. First flights are expected in July.
Savings up to 20%, equivalent to $1,000 p.p., are being offered by Collette on 2022-23 tour dates booked through May 6 for travel through April 30, 2023. Offer code SPRINGSAVE must be used at time of booking.
Until May 15, clients booking an Air Canada Vacations Flight & Cruise package with Celebrity Cruises for travel until Dec. 31, 2022, will receive flight credits of $500 per couple. The offer is applicable to the first and second passenger showed as $250 off per person. The flight credit is applicable to the base fare in economy or business before surcharges, charges, taxes, fees, port charges. (Read on to ‘Incentives’ for ACV’s concurrent ‘Agents at Sea Contest”).
The very first Choice Touring by Globus itinerary in Europe was launched last week with the departure of ‘The Alps Out Loud: Switzerland & Lake Como by Design’ tour. The new touring style, developed during the COVID shutdown, features unique itineraries that are “smaller, more connected and more fun,” says Stéphanie Bishop, Canadian managing director for the Globus family of brands, who adds that “tour participants can choose from a menu of options while bonding with small groups of like-minded people.” The first Choice Touring launch in North America, “Boogie & Blues: The Southern US By Design,” will take place May 15. In all there are 13 new tours to choose from.
Through the Kind Traveller Give + Get platform, hotel guests in Fort Myers, Fla. making a minimum US$10 donation to the Clinic for the Rehabilitation of Wildlife (CROW) can access exclusive rates and perks with curated Kind Hotels in area. The entire donation goes to CROW, creating a win for the traveller, the charity, the destination, and the hotel. Participating hotels include Pink Shell Beach Resort & Marina on Fort Myers Beach; DiamondHead Beach Resort on Fort Myers Beach; and the Westin Cape Coral Resort at Marina Village in Cape Coral. For info, visit kindtraveler.com.
The first hotel in Greece to receive LEED green certification, Moxy Athens City, has opened it doors with over 200 tech-savvy guestrooms that have walk-in showers, LED lighting and smart technology. The hotel is located by Stadiou Street, near to the Acropolis and Parthenon to the picturesque neighbourhood of Plaka and a short walk from Syntagma Square and the shops and restaurants of Ermou Street.
Now open on the Dominican Republic’s northern coast is Marriott Bonvoy’s The Ocean Club, a Luxury Collection Resort, Costa Norte. The intimate resort features 64 spacious suites, ranging from one to three bedrooms and five multi-tiered four-bedroom penthouses. Amenities include a secluded beach with private wooden cabanas and beach service, three pools, two of which are adult-only, and beachfront whirlpools with firepits. The property also features a dedicated marina and helipad to arrive by boat or helicopter.
Port of Spain is home to a new hotel, The Brix, Autograph Collection, named after the chemical measurement of sugar in solution – a crop with deep historical, financial, and cultural meaning for the islands of Trinidad and Tobago. Nestled in St. Anns on the outskirts of the busy Trinidad capital, the hotel is minutes away from the Royal Botanic Gardens, the Magnificent Seven Buildings, and the Emperor Valley Zoo, and is within driving distance of the heart of city centre.
Noting that over 7.5 million passengers having already sailed in nearly 90 markets since the resumption of cruising, CLIA is forecasting that as the industry resumes operations, passenger volume is expected to recover and surpass 2019 levels by the end of 2023, with passenger volumes projected to recover 12% above pre-pandemic levels by the end of 2026.
First came Scarlet Lady, a name chosen to honour one of Virgin Atlantic’s flagship aircrafts. Next were Valiant Lady and Resilient Lady, two sister ships with names that celebrate women’s strong, fierce, and independent spirits. With all three ships in the water by the end of this summer, Virgin Voyages has revealed the name of the fourth Lady Ship in its the fleet: Brilliant Lady – a moniker meant to represent “smart, thoughtful, boundary-pushing minds of women around the world, unafraid of owning their intelligence, aware of their importance, and confidently in touch with their own sense of self worth.” The ship’s itineraries will be announced soon.
ATTRACTIONS & THEME PARKS
Dollywood’s Flower & Food Festival runs through June 5, featuring hundreds of thousands of brilliant flowers blooming throughout the park. This year features several new larger-than-life “Mosaicultures” floral sculptures. Guests at the Pigeon Ford, Tenn., attraction will be greeted by a stunning visual upon arrival, as hundreds of colourful umbrellas are suspended above the Showstreet entryway to create a dazzling “Umbrella Sky.” Additionally, a wide array of culinary creations await guests’ taste buds with a menu full of items inspired by springtime in the Smokies.
INCENTIVES & FAMS
Agents booking a Celebrity Cruises vacation package with Air Canada Vacations by May 15 have a chance win their own Flight & Cruise package for two, including balcony stateroom, classic beverage package, basic WIFI, and gratuities, on a sailing to Alaska or the Caribbean taken by Dec. 31,2022. More bookings (for travel this year) mean more entries. The winner will be announced on May 23. Details on the ‘Agents at Sea Contest’ are available in your ACV travel account online.
In honour of travel advisor appreciation month in May, agents will earn $50 toward Collette’s “Travel Advisor Appreciation Booking Incentive” program by securing two or more bookings for travel in 2022. The top three agents who secure the most bookings in May will also earn cash prizes: $1,000 for first place; $750 for second place; $500 for third place. All bookings must be for travel in 2022.
The Jamaica Tourist Board (JTB) is inviting travel advisors to ‘An Evening With Jamaica’ at private screenings of the James Bond feature film, “No Time to Die,” which was partially filmed on the island. The evenings will include a destination update from the JTB, and hospitality. For dates and locations (including Winnipeg, Calgary, Edmonton, Ottawa, Montreal and the GTA) and to register, click HERE.
A series of regional online travel agent Masterclass sessions by Sandals and Beaches Resorts continues. Upcoming live two-hour sessions take place from 10 a.m. to noon (local times) as follows: Atlantic Canada and English Quebec – May 4; French Quebec – May 10; BC – May 11; Saskatchewan – May 18; Manitoba – May 24; Ontario – June 2 and 8, Aug. 10 and 26; and Alberta – Aug. 16. Register with your BDM or by calling 1-800-545-8283. Participants will qualify to maintain their Certified Sandals Specialist status.
TRAVELSAVERS has welcomed back Marylene Lupien as Director, Business Development, responsible for the growth, retention, and engagement of licensees in Quebec. Based in Montreal, she will work closely with TRAVELSAVERS’ other business analysts, Elizabeth Grundon and Deborah Girard, as the company continues its focus on assisting affiliates to build their businesses.
VoX International has announced its status as an officially Rainbow Registered organization. The Toronto-based destination marketing and PR firm says it is committed to inclusivity in all aspects of the travel industry and pledges to further adopt inclusive business practices moving forward. VoX recognizes the value of the LGBTQ+ traveller and believes there is a strong obligation to promote and encourage inclusivity.
Visit Israel and Visit Dubai combined for an evening of information and fun for the trade in Toronto on April 26, continuing Israel’s creative regional cross-promotional initiative that most recently included Greece. Among those on hand for the event were (photo, l-r) Dubai’s Natalie Scott and Soroya Al Olama, and Toronto-based Israeli tourism execs Gal Hana and Fiona Kosman.
US states are making up for lost time in Canada, with travel trade missions coming fast and furious. Among them is VISIT FLORIDA, which called in Toronto and Montreal last week for multiple trade events, including an evening at Ripley’s Aquarium and a trade show/dinner at the Hotel X in Toronto. Participants included Disney, St. Pete-Clearwater, the Palm Beaches, Kissimmee, Fort Myers, Discover Crystal River, Kennedy Space Centre, Orlando, Naples/Marco Island, Central Florida, and Tampa Bay. In 2019, more than 4 million Canadians visited Florida, a total the state hopes to achieve again soon with travel restrictions now lifted between Canada and the US.
Send info to firstname.lastname@example.org
First published at Travel Industry Today