ROUND-UP: Aug. 21-25, 2023
Last week, CATO continued its crusade for industry reform in Ontario; Porter said it will match Air Canada Aeroplan points; Club Med introduced new Ontario reps; and wildfire repercussions continued in Maui and the Okanogan, while the southwestern US dealt with the opposite problem (too much rain).
A “broken system” and “ignored” requests to the province to fix it are behind the Canadian Association of Tour Operators (CATO) campaign for a “more effective and fairer traveller protection system for Ontario’s travel industry,” which is set to come to a head at TICO’s upcoming annual general meeting in Sept. 26. CATO (and industry partner ACTA) are continuing to call for significant improvements to the funding framework of the regulatory body and for a legislated consumer contribution protection insurance system (Compensation Fund) and intend to introduce a motion at the meeting call for the improvements.
Unifor Local 114 members at the Victoria-Seattle ferry service have voted 100% in favour of taking legal strike action on Sunday, Sept. 3 if a contract cannot be reached with the company before then.
US President Joe Biden promised that the federal government will help “for as long as it takes” Maui to recover from damage caused by the deadliest US wildfire in more than a century.
The first tropical storm to hit Southern California in 84 years, Hilary brought intensifying rain to the region, with some mountain and desert areas seeing more than half an average year’s worth of rain come down in just one day, including the desert resort city of Palm Springs, which saw nearly three inches of rain in just one day.
Porter Airlines is giving Air Canada Aeroplan members an opportunity to achieve instant VIPorter loyalty status by matching their current Aeroplan membership level with an equivalent VIPorter Avid Traveller level. Once approved, members will enjoy enhanced travel benefits with their next Porter flight. Every dollar spent gives VIPorter members points redeemable for future flights and 100% credit toward status qualification on any Porter fare. Applications are assessed after submission at flyporter.com, with VIPorter account information and screenshots from Aeroplan accounts provided for review. Registration is open until Sept. 6 with full details available online.
Travellers in Quebec can now combine select Air Transat and Azul Airlines flights to destinations such as Sao Paulo and Manaus, Brazil (connecting through Orlando or Fort Lauderdale). Flights are accessible through the connectair by Air Transat platform, bringing to 12 and the number of additional destinations available in Europe, North Africa, the Middle East, Central and South America, and Canada to over 280.
Air Canada customers will have the freedom and flexibility to change their travel plans when booking on aircanada.com (Canadian edition), thanks to a new partnership with travel app Hopper. For a fee, travellers can now add ‘Cancel for Any Reason’ to eligible non-refundable fare types booked on the Air Canada website.
Flair Airlines says it is launching a unique pilot training program that will see applicants placed in the cockpit of one of the company’s Boeing 737 jets within 18 months. The Edmonton-based budget carrier says its program will radically speed up the length of time it takes in Canada for new pilots to get jobs flying large commercial jets.
BY THE NUMBERS
Aug. 23 was National Cheap Flight Day marking an industry trend that typically sees airfares drop in price following the higher-priced summer travel season.
Through comprehensive travel trend monitoring of historical web site bookings, CheapOair.ca results are showing that the average cost of a domestic airline ticket in the period following Aug. 23 averages a 17% decline from the peak airfares during June and July 2023.Furthermore, the same data shows that international flight fares have decreased on average 21% when comparing travel after Aug. 23 to the summer’s fare high point.
Early planners who book their 2023/24 Air Canada Vacations winter vacation package to Mexico and the Caribbean, and Flight & Hotel packages to Hawaii at least four months in advance, will enjoy significant savings with Air Canada Vacations’ Early Booking Bonus. Families can save $400 (for a family of four or $100 p.p.).
Through Sept. 5, Margaritaville at Sea, which offers 3-day, 2-night voyages from Port of Palm Beach, Fla., to Grand Bahama Island is offering a flash sale that allows guest to travel for as low as US$99 for a single guest in an interior stateroom. Valid on travel through April 29, 2024.
Railbookers has unveiled a new interactive online map for its brands, Railbookers and Amtrak Vacations. The innovative tool allows users to navigate and learn more about train routes, stations, hotels, and attractions in their desired destinations worldwide. Once an itinerary is selected, the map narrows on each city destination, showing the train station, major attractions, and their proximity to the thousands of hotel options available across both brands. Hotels can then be selected for more information.
Intrepid Travel has launched an emergency appeal and committed US$50,000 through their not-for-profit, The Intrepid Foundation, to support immediate relief efforts in Hawaii following the devastating wildfires that devastated Maui earlier this month. The Intrepid Foundation will dollar match donations to the Hawaii Wildlife Appeal, doubling the donors’ impact.
To donate, click HERE.
Historic Gleneagles Hotel in Scotland has been named the winner of the Art of Hospitality Award, the first category announced in advance of the inaugural The World’s 50 Best Hotels awards 2023. The award was voted for by 580 voters in The World’s 50 Best Hotels Academy, who were asked to name the property where they have received the single-best hospitality experience within the two-year voting period.
Relais & Chateaux’ Stonehaven Le Manor in Sainte-Agathe-des-Monts, Que., will extend Le Pavillon with 17 new additional rooms, located closer to the mountain and offering a magnificent view of the Lac des Sables.
In partnership with Autism Double-Checked, Karisma Hotels & Resorts has introduced what it says is the world’s first-ever Autism Concierge, providing a dedicated contact for all autism-related questions and serving as an extension of an existing three-part training program. The program encourages guests travelling with a child with autism or adult guests with autism to ask about specific needs through a concierge contact found within the resort’s visitor guide. Guests looking for support as they plan their vacation can contact the Autism Concierge via email.
Club Med will debut Club Med Kirora Grand, its newest Japan ski resort, in December, adding to the chain’s roster of 20 mountain resorts throughout the Alps, Canada, and Asia. Located in Hokkaido, Japan’s internationally renowned ski destination, the untouched mountain features white powder snow and unique ski trails that features skiing until May (with 160 days of winter), along with night and off-piste skiing. The resort is a three-minute gondola ride from its sister resort Club Med Kiroro Peak and will be the brand’s sole mountain destination in Asia.
Viking recently named its newest river ship, the Viking Aton, with a special celebration in Aswan, Egypt. Sister ship of the Viking Osiris, Aton is a state-of-the-art vessel specifically built to navigate the Nile and will sail Viking’s popular Pharaohs & Pyramids itinerary.
The 2025 World Cruise from MSC features an entirely new itinerary aboard MSC Magnifica. The epic 116-night journey departs from European ports – Civitavecchia/Rome, Genoa, Marseille, and Barcelona – on Jan. 4, 5, 6 and 7 2025 respectively, on its way to 50 destinations (22 of them new to the MSC World Cruise) in 21 countries. The three-month journey, will include five continents and cross three of the world’s largest oceans, sailing over 30,000 nautical miles. A highlight will be 19 days spent sailing around the Southern and Western coast of Australia.
FAMS & INCENTIVES
Through Sept. 30, 2023, travel agents who sign up and complete Rocky Mountaineer’s TRACKS Agent Training will be eligible for a chance to win monthly prizes or a grand prize of a complimentary rail journey for two on select Rocky Mountaineer routes in Canada and the US. The free training program is open to certified retail travel agents and wholesale agents/partners globally and takes most people less than an hour to complete!
Skal’s Toronto chapters (and a few friends) turned out for their annual golf outing last week at Royal Ontario near Milton. Good golf (mostly), good friends and good cheer were the order of the day as close to 70 industry members joined to play and/or for the barbecue lunch. Naturally, prizes were aplenty.
Club Med has announced the appointments of Tyler Mattioli and Debbie Miller as Business Development Managers for Ontario. Mattioli joins forces with Samantha Gillingham on the territory of Ontario, with Mattioli over 10 years of tourism industry experience, as both a front-line agent with Flight Centre, Air Canada Vacations and, most recently Air New Zealand. Miller, formerly with Destination Toronto, joins Club Med Meetings & Events with over 20 years of experience in destination sales. She replaces Maria Chung, who retired on July 31.
The road to the iconic Nova Scotia tourist destination Peggy’s Cove reopened after devastating floods last month. It’s welcome news for both visitors and a community hit hard by environmental disasters. The road closure has been hard on the area’s tourism business. The flooding was triggered by torrential thunderstorms that began July 21, and dumped months worth of rain on parts of central Nova Scotia.
The central Okanagan is facing weeks without tourism during its peak season after British Columbia’s premier imposed bans on travel to wildfire zones. The ban will be in place until Sept. 4 for hotels, motels, inns, bed and breakfasts, hostels, RV parks and campgrounds in Kelowna, West Kelowna, Kamloops, Oliver, Osoyoos, Penticton and Vernon.
LAST WEEK IN TRAVEL HISTORY
In 1809, the first Canadian-built steamboat, “The Accommodation,” was launched on the St. Lawrence River at Montreal. Owned by the brewer and banker John Molson, it carried 10 passengers to Quebec City from Montreal on its maiden voyage, which took place at the end of October.
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First published at Travel Industry Today