ROUND-UP: Aug. 22-26, 2022
Controversy and complaints over Canada’s border/arrivals situation continue last week, and cruise companies continue to update their COVID protocols. Also in the news: Japan continues to open up, Air Canada Vacations released a digital brochure, a US airline filed for bankruptcy, and the Sydney zoo welcomed a cute, new resident…
A member of Parliament says Ottawa may have underestimated Canadians’ desire to travel when planning for a return to normal following the end of most pandemic restrictions. As a result, travellers have experienced widespread flight cancellations, baggage delays and lengthy lineups, particularly at Toronto’s Pearson International Airport.
A constitutional rights group has launched a legal challenge of a federal requirement that travellers to Canada use the ArriveCan app. The action was filed in Federal Court by the Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms on behalf of 11 Canadians, including some allegedly fined up to $8,500.
The federal and Nova Scotia governments have committed to establishing the province’s first national urban park at Blue Mountain-Birch Cove Lakes in Halifax, an area of forest, wetlands, headwaters, and a system of lakes.
Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida announced plans to ease border controls from early September by eliminating requirements for pre-departure COVID-19 tests for travellers who have received at least three vaccine doses, and he will also consider increasing daily entry caps as soon as next month. Japan, which has imposed some of the toughest border measures for the coronavirus, currently requires negative PCR test results within 72 hours of departure for all entrants, a practice that has been criticized as cumbersome.
BY THE NUMBERS
Early Transport Canada usage data indicates that travellers using the optional Advance CBSA Declaration in ArriveCan cuts the amount of time a traveller spends at a kiosk by roughly one third. In the week ending Aug. 14, the advance CBSA declaration was submitted by 34% of arriving passengers in Toronto, Montreal, and Vancouver. In the coming weeks, this feature will become available to travellers arriving at the Calgary, Edmonton, Winnipeg, Billy Bishop Toronto City, Ottawa, Québec City and Halifax international airports.
Citing low demand, Canadian North will prematurely end its direct flights between Toronto and Iqaluit after the Labour Day weekend. The last direct flight will take place Sept. 4. The airline had announced in February it would offer direct flights between Nunavut’s capital and Toronto Pearson International Airport from June 3 to Sept. 30, on Fridays and Sundays.
Nevada-based discount airline aha! has stopped flying after its parent, ExpressJet Airlines, filed for bankruptcy protection and said it would sell its assets. ExpressJet said it faced lower-than-expected revenue because demand for travel weakened with new COVID-19 variants. It also said it was burdened with high costs, particularly for jet fuel.
WestJet has extended its partnership with MedAire, an International SOS company that provides emergency medical assistance to cabin personnel during in-flight medical events. As the first airline in North America to fully leverage the MedAire In-Flight App, WestJet cabin personnel now have multiple ways to connect with MedLink doctors during a medical emergency.
This year’s 401 Bike Challenge (photo), co-sponsored by Air Canada Vacations and McDonald’s, included nine ACV employees (Nino Montagnese, Lucy Sabella, Andreas Anastassopoulos, Kevin Boada, Gustavo Maass, Tony Rolli and Marie-Christine Boyer) taking part in the three-day 580-km ride from Toronto to Montreal. Through ACV’s sponsorship and individual rider fundraising, $54 776 was donated to the oncology/hematology units of the Montreal Children’s Hospital, the Toronto SickKids Hospital, and the Ottawa Children’s Hospital, bringing the grand total raised by all participants for this year’s edition to $273,383 with donations continuing to pour in.
Air Canada Vacations has introduced a new digital-only Sun Collection brochure for 2022-23. The interactive “Dream of Sun” brochure features over 600 mostly all-inclusive hotels to choose from across 38 destinations, including 67 new additions, three resorts exclusive to Air Canada Vacations and 29 semi-exclusive resorts, and hundreds of cruises. Agents and clients will find images, video and editorial content including destination highlights with the capability to search by hotel name, category, or popular filters like hotels where kids stay free. ACV notes that is also once again highlighting LGBTQ+ friendly hotels as well as spotlighting eco-friendly resorts. Go to agents.dreamofsun.aircanadavacations.com.
From Oct. 28 to Nov. 5, MyEscapades (Huntington) is conducting a small group golf tour in Algarve, Portugal, hosted by Canadian golf teaching pro Vince Dawyer. With a maximum of 24 participants, the trip includes five rounds of golf at four different courses, with carts, guaranteed tee times, and a one-hour clinic before each game. Cost is $2,545 and includes eight nights accommodation at the four-star Villa Gale Ampalius Hotel, breakfast, four dinners, and more. Airfare is not included.
Boutique hotel brand Hotel Indigo, part of IHG Hotels & Resorts’ Luxury and Lifestyle portfolio, has opened its first property in Austria, Hotel Indigo Vienna – Naschmarkt. Centrally located, the 158-room hotel is a short walk from the city’s historic centre, the ‘Margareten’ district, a culturally diverse neighbourhood, including everything from 19th century architecture to relaxed eateries and secret gardens offering sanctuaries to both travellers and locals alike.
One of St. Lucia’s leading all-inclusive boutique resorts, Rendezvous, relaunched as StolenTime by Rendezvous this month.
AMResorts and Playa Hotels & Resorts report the expiration of the contract for Dreams Punta Cana Resort & Spa effective Dec. 20, at which point the resort will no longer be represented under the AMR Collection brand portfolio. Beginning Dec. 21, guests with existing reservations at Dreams Punta Cana Resort & Spa will have their stays protected at another AMR Collection branded property in the destination. Also, effective Jan. 6, 2023, Dreams Palm Beach Punta Cana will no longer be represented under the AMR Collection brand portfolio; guests with existing reservations will have their stays protected at another AMR Collection branded property in the destination.
Paul Gauguin Cruises is making an early 2023 spring escape to Tahiti more tempting than ever with a $500 air credit per guest on seven-night ‘Tahiti & the Society Islands’ voyages exploring French Polynesia. The limited-time offer is available on select dates for bookings made by Oct. 8 and is valid when airfare is purchased together with a cruise.
From Sept. 6, Carnival Cruise Line says it will accept self-testing for unvaccinated guests (in addition to lab administered tests) on cruises that are 15 nights or shorter. The updated protocol does not apply where destinations (including Canada) do not accept self-administered tests. Regardless of the type of test taken, unvaccinated guests will be required to present their negative test results via VeriFLY or as part of the embarkation process. Additionally, travel insurance is no longer a requirement for unvaccinated guests unless it is required by a destination, such as Bermuda. Irrespective of vaccination status, travel insurance is required for all guests visiting Fiji. Full details can be found on the cruise line’s web site.
COVID vaccinations will no longer be required for guests travelling with Uniworld Boutique River Cruises in 2023. However, guests will be required to follow the entry requirements specified by each country visited along their itinerary – by river, land, or rail – says the cruise line. Entry guidelines for travel to each destination can be found on the company’s web site, but guests are responsible for ensuring their own compliance.
ATTRACTIONS & THEME PARKS
Through Nov. 19, guests can sip, savour, and repeat across six continents at the EPCOT International Food & Wine Festival. The festival offers new experiences for foodies and families alike as part of the “The World’s Most Magical Celebration” honouring the Walt Disney World Resort 50th Anniversary. More than 25 festival food and wine marketplaces located throughout EPCOT celebrate the best in global food and drink.
On Sept. 8, Air Canada Vacations will provide a webinar session in French and English to demonstrate the features of its new Dream of Sun digital brochure and answer any questions. Click HERE for times and details.
Two prominent Canadian travel industry figures are on the move with the appointments of Justin Gosling as Director Canada at Discover the World, replacing Jane Clementino, who left the position to join TRAVELSAVERS as Sr. VP. and GM Canada.
VoX International has added of Broadway Inbound & the Broadway Collection to its client roster, assisting the company by working with travel agents, OTA’s, tour operators, media, and other partners across Canada. Through the partnership, Canadian agents will be given access to the tools and knowledge to encourage travellers to purchase Broadway tickets ahead of their trip, allowing them to make the most of their time in New York City. Denise Graham will manage the Broadway Inbound account, developing marketing plans and spearheading various other projects for the company.
Taronga Zoo Sydney announced the birth of a male Southern hairy-nosed wombat joey, a latest success of Taronga’s wombat breeding program which has seen 10 joeys born since 2012. The little joey (photo) was born to experienced mum Jedda in December last year but has only just started to emerge from her mother’s pouch in recent weeks. The joey has recently been identified as a little male and has been given the name ‘Wadu’ by his keepers which means ‘wombat’ in the Wirangu language of South Australia.
The second most visited zoo in the US is celebrating its 100th anniversary this year with transformative exhibits, new public amenities and enhanced public spaces. Projects at the Houston Zoo are being completed in a six‐year, multi‐phase plan with the largest initiative in the campaign, the Galápagos Islands, opening this fall. The first major exhibit of its kind will immerse guests in an environment evoking the archipelago’s unique landscapes and oceanic habitats. Set on 22-hectar oasis in the heart of the city, the Houston Zoo is home to wildlife from all corners of the globe.
LAST WEEK IN TRAVEL HISTORY
In 1919, the first international air service began with Air Transport and Travel’s flight from London to Paris. Only one passenger made the trip on a converted biplane bomber. The trip took two-and-a-half hours and cost 21 pounds.
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First published at Travel Industry Today