All travel news.

ROUND-UP: Aug. 08-12, 2022

In last week’s news: Choice Hotels bought Radisson Americas; more cruise lines eased COVID protocols; the feds announced an official investigation into the customs chaos at Canadian airports; and WestJet revealed its winter schedule.

NEWS

Canadian tourism employment saw positive gains in July, growing by 5.5%, according to a new snapshot report by Tourism HR Canada. The beleaguered tourism sector added 106,300 jobs, for a total of 2,034,400 workers, according to the report, marking the first time the first time since February 2020 that employment has topped 2 million, which it had consistently done pre-pandemic, throughout 2018 and 2019.

Led by a nearly 50% estimated rise in airfares, global travel prices are predicted to continue to increase in the remaining months of 2022 and throughout 2023, according to the just-published 2023 Global Business Travel Forecast by CWT and the Global Business Travel Association (GBTA). Lavour shortages, and inflationary pressures in raw material costs are also primary drivers of the expected price growth.

The House of Commons transport committee launched an investigation into airport delays and flight cancellations. The committee will invite Transport Minister Omar Alghabra to testify and will hold its first hearing by the end of next week.

BORDERS

Hong Kong has reduced the mandatory hotel quarantine for overseas arrivals to three days from a week. The policy makes for Hong Kong’s shortest quarantine for arrivals since the pandemic began, having a one point required 21 days of isolation.

BY THE NUMBERS

Tourism arrivals in Israel this summer are approaching the record-breaking numbers of summer 2019 – an upward trend that comes on the heels of the country reopening to international travellers regardless of vaccination status in March. During June, Israel saw almost 113,000 North American tourists (excluding day visitors and cruise passengers) while in June of 2019 there were close to 132,000 North American tourists who entered the country.

AIR

The return of 17 sun and leisure routes that were suspended for more than two years will highlight WestJet’s winter schedule, with destinations ranging across Caribbean, Mexico and US, along with new six-times weekly WestJet Link service between Penticton, BC, and Vancouver beginning on Feb. 17, 2023, along with the restart of domestic connectivity between Edmonton and Nanaimo, BC. WestJet operations will increase 45% to sun and leisure flights from winter 2021, 60% in transborder, and 25% transatlantic.

Flair Airlines is adding another route to its Mexico network with twice-weekly non-stop service to Cancun from Toronto. There will also be additional frequencies added on several Mexico routes. Flair is also moving its Los Angeles operations from Hollywood Burbank Airport to Los Angeles International Airport (LAX), effective Oct. 31.

Federal regulators in the US say they are satisfied with changes Boeing has made in the production of its 787 Dreamliner passenger jet, clearing the way for the company to resume deliveries to airline customers. Production of the big, two-aisle 787 has been marred by several problems including gaps between panels of the carbon-composite skin, and use of unapproved titanium parts from a supplier in Italy. Those issues prevented Boeing from delivering any of the planes for most of the last two years, and about 120 have been parked while Boeing tried to fix the production process.

DEALS

Visit San Antonio has launched a first-ever marketing partnership with Hotelbeds/Bedsonline providing special promotional rates for the Texas destination through the end of November. Accessible to the travel trade in Canada, the campaign provides exclusive promotional rates to San Antonio hotels for use by travel partners including travel agents, tour operators, points and loyalty programs, and airline packages. The co-op includes 20 hotel and resort properties in all categories across the destination and is available HERE.

TOURS

Small ship ocean cruises from New York City to Quebec City aboard the Silversea ship Silver Shadow will be offered by tour company Tauck in the fall of 2023, marking the company’s latest expansion into domestic cruising and furthering its partnership with Silversea. The new 13-day “Shores of Eastern Canada and New England” itinerary will include three northbound Manhattan-to-Quebec City departures along with three southbound trips, all in September and October of next year. The new cruise follows the 2019 introduction of Tauck’s “Cruising the Great Lakes: Chicago to Toronto” itinerary. Elsewhere in the US, Tauck has also featured a cruise along Alaska’s Inside Passage as well as a 15-day “Grand Alaska” combination land tour/seven-night cruise in its portfolio for many years.

The Canadian Association of Tour Operators (CATO) has announced a strategic partnership with Tourism Cares to advance sustainable tourism through collaboration and education. Tourism Cares is a non-profit organization that advances the travel industry’s positive impact to help people and places thrive. The organization mobilizes the travel industry to use its business as a force for good by uniting, activating, and inspiring all sectors to make a positive impact through travel.

HOTELS

1 Hotel Nashville

Luxury lifestyle hotel brand 1 Hotels has opened its eighth global property in Nashville. 1 Hotel Nashville (photo) is located in the heart of downtown, directly across from the Music City Center and within walking distance of the Country Music Hall of Fame. With 215 rooms, including 37 suites, the hotel features a verdant ivy-covered façade and rooms with rough-hewn poster beds and workbench-like vanities, touches of reclaimed and in-room chalkboards to reduce paper-use.

Choice Hotels International has completed the acquisition of Radisson Hotels Americas for approximately $675 million from Radisson Hotel Group, inclusive of the real estate value of three owned hotels. The deal adds approximately 67,000 rooms to Choice across nine brands, including Radisson Blu, Radisson, Radisson Individuals, Park Plaza, Radisson RED, Country Inn & Suites by Radisson, Park Inn by Radisson, Radisson Inn & Suites and Radisson Collection.

RESORTS

The first phase of Royal Resorts’ Royal Uno All Inclusive Resort & Spa is now open. Located in the Cancun Hotel Zone, the property features four bars and five new restaurants, two oversized pools and a children’s pool with water play area, swim-up bar and beach bar, watersport lagoon, Uno Kids Club, a Family Room for activities, and direct beach access. Guests will have access to kayaks and sailboats on the lagoon, daily activities, and evening entertainment. An introductory incentive offers 25% discount on the all-inclusive stay plus a $500 resort credit and a complimentary one-way private airport transportation service when booked by today (Aug. 15).

Playa Hotels & Resorts has entered into an agreement to assume the management of the Seadust Cancun Family Resort in Mexico. Playa will manage all operations, sales, and marketing of the resort, which is situated along is Hotel Zone and features 502-rooms, 10 restaurants and bars, state of-the-art fitness centre and a full-service holistic spa. Seadust will be Playa’s sixth managed property in Mexico, and the 23rd overall joining other all-inclusive resorts managed by Playa within the Hyatt Ziva, Hyatt Zilara, Hilton, Wyndham Alltra, Marriott’s The Luxury Collection, and Jewel brands.

CRUISE

Cunard is adjusting pre-travel testing requirements. From Sept. 6, self-testing for COVID-19 prior to travel will change from “mandatory” to “highly recommended” for vaccinated guests on the vast majority of voyages. Only guests sailing on longer, more complex itineraries will be required to have an observed or in person antigen or PCR test with a fit to travel certificate prior to departure. These include a number of sailings of 16 nights or more and other specific voyages.

1 Hotel Nashville has announced also passenger protocol updates making it easier for more guests to sail with simplified vaccination and testing guidelines, including no pre-cruise testing for vaccinated guests on sailings less than 16 nights (except for cruises to Canada, Bermuda, Greece, and Australia), and eliminating the exemption request process for unvaccinated guests, who will only need to show a negative test result at embarkation. The changes, which go into effect on Sept. 6, “meet public health goals but recognize the evolving nature of COVID-19,” says the cruise line.

ATTRACTIONS & THEME PARKS

For a limited time, Discovery Cove in Orlando is offering a free $50 gift card per guest with the purchase of a single-day admission. The card can be used for merchandise, photos, and more while at Discovery Cove, or to spend at any one of the other domestic parks in the SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment family, including SeaWorld, Aquatica, Busch Gardens, Sesame Place, and more. The offer is bookable until Aug. 28 for visits through March 9, 2023.

EVENTS

The Region of Magallanes and the Chilean Antarctic will host a spin off from the Adventure Travel Trade Association (ATTA)’s AdventureNEXT series. Taking place Sept. 12-14 in Torres del Paine, the first-of-its-kind event will offer a combination of B2B Marketplace, keynotes, round table discussions, and one-to-one networking opportunities.

FAMS & INCENTIVES

A one-of-a-kind trip to Albania, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Montenegro, Serbia, Croatia, and North Macedonia will be hosted by Toronto-based tour company NĀRAT from Oct. 13 to 25. The 13-day “Ultimate Balkans FAM” is designed to explore the distinctive culture and social diversity of a region dubbed the “powder-keg of Europe.” Highlights include UNESCO-rated Kotor, Baroque Dubrovnik, the charming old towns of Mostar and Sarajevo, and scenic Ohrid Lake. Cost of the trip is US$1,750 and includes accommodation in deluxe and boutique hotels, all transfers, meals, entrance fess, and airfare from Toronto. Connections from other Canadian cities are available with a supplement and agents are allowed one companion subject to availability. To register, e-mail fams@narat.org.

AGENCIES

The Travel Agent Next Door has entered into a white label agreement with Wed in Destination to fulfill wedding group leads utilizing TTAND’s lead generation platform. A niche travel business launched by Suri Pillai, Wed in Destination will retain its own branding to alleviate for customer with the new host agency.

UNIGLOBE Travel (Eastern Canada) has introduced a number of prominent Ontario agencies as members: Clarke-Way Travel (Toronto), Avenue Travel (Toronto), Travel My Way (Caledon), and Royal City Travel (Guelph) are owned by Stephanie & Gene Branchflower and have been serving the GTA & Golden Horseshoe regions for over 40 years, while Ellison Travel & Tours is one of Canada’s largest travel agencies with locations in Exeter and London, Ont., and North Vancouver, BC.

PEOPLE/APPOINTMENTS

Two key leadership appointments in Canada have been made by Flight Centre Travel Group (FCTG). Chris Lynes has been named Managing Director of the Canadian business following the retirement of John Beauvais at the end of the company’s financial year on June 30, 2022, and Brian McLaren is the new EVP for Flight Centre Brand Canada.

DESTINATIONS

Following the completion of its restoration, Türkiye’s (Turkey) ancient Laodicean Theatre (photo) recently hosted its first performance after 1,690 years of silence. The İzmir State Symphony Orchestra performed a concert for nearly 15,000 people at the theatre’s re-opening ceremony. The excavation and restoration studies of Laodicea City were completed in a short period of 20 years and the ancient city was inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage Sites Tentative List in 2013 as one of the largest and most important archaeological sites in Türkiye.

National Geographic’s “Beyond King Tut: The Immersive Experience” will take over the Vancouver Convention Centre from Oct. 27 to Jan. 8, 2023. The exhibition celebrates the 100-year anniversary of the discovery of King Tut’s tomb and connects the journey to modern-day Egypt through nine distinct galleries and includes a narrated VR Experience of the tomb. A story 3,000 years in the making comes to life in this unique exhibition.

LAST WEEK IN TRAVEL HISTORY

In 1949, the first commercial jet plane to fly in the Western Hemisphere made its maiden flight over the Malton airport (now Pearson International) outside Toronto. The Jetliner C-102 was designed in Canada by an Englishman, James Floyd, and built by Avro of Toronto. It was never produced commercially.

Send info to baginski@travelindustrytoday.com

First published at Travel Industry Today

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