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ROUND-UP: Aug. 29-Sept. 2, 2022

Last week, China again locked down some cities, tourists opened their wallets in France, VIA Rail is back on track, Canada Jetlines announced its inaugural flight date, NCL introduced its new Prima vessel, and feds reminded that new passenger rights rules will come into effect in Canada on Sept. 8.

NEWS

New federal regulations are set to take effect this week (Sept. 8), ensuring that that passengers are offered the option of a refund for flights that are cancelled, or where there is a lengthy delay due to reasons outside of an air carrier’s control. This includes major weather events or a pandemic, and instances where it is not possible for the air carrier to complete the passenger’s itinerary within a reasonable time frame. The new rules and regulations will be enforced by the Canadian Transportation Agency (CTA).

China placed millions of its citizens under renewed lockdown last week following fresh outbreaks of COVID-19, as the government persists in its hard-line policy on containing the virus. The measures affected about half of the 6 million residents of the port city of Dalian, along with an undisclosed number in Chengde and Shijiazhuang in Hebei province, both around three hours from the capital Beijing.

Tourism returned with a vengeance to France this summer, sending revenues over pre-pandemic levels, according to government estimates released this week. According to preliminary estimates, tourism spending in France was 10% higher than 2019, based on data from bank card use and lodging and restaurant revenues.

BORDERS

All COVID-l9 restrictions for arriving passengers by air to Antigua and Barbuda have been lifted, as well as for those arriving by yacht or ferry services. Passengers arriving aboard cruise ships are subject to the protocols enforced by the cruise lines until such time as the cruise lines themselves alter their protocols.

AIR

Following its recent receipt of its air operating certificate (AOC) from Transport Canada granting approval to initiate operations out of Toronto Pearson airport, Canada Jetlines has circled Sept. 22 on the calendar for its first flights. The new, all-Canadian, leisure airline will begin operations out of its YYZ hub, with its first scheduled route into Calgary (YYC), followed by biweekly flights operating Thursdays and Sundays out of Toronto to Calgary from 07:55 a.m.-10:10 a.m. EST, returning 11:40 a.m.-17:20 EST. Frequency will increase to three flights per week, Thursdays through Sundays, starting Oct. 13.

New routes, more frequencies and new service to Cuba highlight Swoop’s expanded winter schedule. The low-cost carrier will begin its seasonal, non-stop service between Toronto (YYZ) and Varadero (VRA) on Jan. 11, 2023, as well an expanded network of flights to the Caribbean and Florida.

Italy has chosen Delta Air Lines and Air France-KLM as the preferred bid to take over national carrier ITA Airways. The airlines will enter exclusive talks for the takeover with lead investor, Certares, which has reportedly proposed to buy almost 56% for US$599 million. Italy would keep a 44% stake and have representation on a future ITA board.

American Airlines has put down a non-refundable deposit with manufacturer Boom Supersonic to purchase up to 20 supersonic jets, and hopes to debut the aircraft in 2029.

RAIL

VIA Rail says it has achieved a critical milestone in service resumption with the return of almost all of its services across the country by the end of June. The Corporation welcomed an additional 594,000 passengers in the second quarter compared to the same period last year.

DEALS

Taking place throughout September, Greater Fort Lauderdale’s ‘Spa Days’ tempts those in search of quality self-care with great prices on specialty treatments, some starting as low as $99. The Spa at Auberge Beach offers its Auberge Signature Spa Manicure & Pedicure for $99, or one can indulge in a day of escape with the Vitality Beach & Day Pass that includes a welcome glass of prosecco, beach lounge chair, umbrella, and spa amenities. Other tempting Spa Days offers can be found at Fort Lauderdale Marriott Pompano Beach Resort & Spa, Pelican Grand Beach Resort and more.

HOTELS

Canada’s Coast Hotels has joined UNESCO and Expedia Group in the global expansion of the UNESCO Sustainable Travel Pledge. The brand and eight owned/managed hotels have committed to adhering to responsible environmental and cultural practices, such as environmental protection, community resilience and heritage conservation. With 22 hotels already certified by Green Key Global, Coast says it is adding further commitment to its sustainability practices.

The new Hilton Palm Jumeirah is now open, offering Dubai’s newest beachfront resort on Palm Jumeirah’s West Beach. As well as a collection of ocean-facing rooms and suites with private balconies, the resort features a Dubai outpost of stylish Barfly by Buddha Bar, Trader Vic’s, as well as Aussie favourite Jones the Grocer and a new concept by McGettigans.

RESORTS

Sunwing has launched a new digital magazine for Princess Hotels & Resorts, designed to offer an inside look at what travellers can expect with Princess, from stunning property grounds to top-notch amenities and customer service. Princess properties are located in the Riviera Maya, Mexico, and Punta Cana. The magazine is accompanied by a number of customer incentives and bonus loyalty points for agents during the September promotion. View the digital magazine HERE.

Tignes Val Claret, France, is an outdoor sports lover’s paradise located at an altitude of 7,053 m. The brand-new Club Med Tignes resort, opening in December, will be in the centre of the liveliest part of town, and features 430 rooms, including 25 Exclusive Collection (5-Star) suites, ski-in/ski-out access, two restaurants, a full spa and wellness salt wall, the largest indoor pool in the Alps, a full childcare program, and a ski domain suitable for every level

CRUISE
Norwegian Prima
(photo) departed on her inaugural voyage on Sept. 3, setting sail from Iceland. The first journey includes the Netherlands, Denmark, and England before repositioning to the US where she will then sail voyages to the Caribbean from New York City, Galveston, Texas, and Miami in October and November before settling into her homeport of Port Canaveral, Fla., and Galveston, Texas for the 2023 and 2024 cruise seasons.

Effective Sept 5, Silversea Cruises will accept travellers on board its ships regardless of vaccination status where local regulations allow. The cruise line has also adjusted its COVID-19 testing requirements such that vaccinated travellers will not be required to take a COVID-19 test prior to embarkation. Unvaccinated travellers can sail by providing proof of a negative COVID-19 antigen or PCR test within 72 hours prior to embarkation. (Local conditions may apply for certain destination).

BY THE NUMBERS

After announcing that it was revising pre-cruise vaccination and testing requirements that would allow more guests to sail, Carnival Cruise Line reported that its booking activity for Aug. 15 was nearly double the level for the equivalent day in 2019.

TOURS

To help equip travel professionals to navigate its new Dream of Sun brochure, Air Canada Vacations is offering Travel Agent Toolkit that will be made available on Sept. 20 during at its #ACVDreamMakers event or by distribution through ACV Area Sales Managers. The toolkit includes a step-by-step guide to using the digital brochure, the most recent flight schedule for winter, an overview of available hotels and cruises as well as promotions and ACV offers.

Returning for a second year of sailing in 2023, the Adventures by Disney Galápagos Islands Expedition Cruise is a nine-day, eight-night sailing aboard the boutique expedition ship, the Galápagos Legend. Five 2023 departures will explore the diverse islands and ecosystems of the Galápagos Islands in collaboration with Go Galápagos. A three- or four-night “Amazon Escape” pre-cruise aboard the Anakonda river boat can be added.

ATTRACTIONS & THEME PARKS

2023 will see the addition of a giant 360-degree spinning swing ride – the only one of its kind in the world – at Canada’s Wonderland (just north of Toronto) plus a new roller coaster for children and families. The former, Tundra Twister, is a giant looping ride with rotating gondola arms that will have guests spinning, twisting, and twirling 360-degrees, upside-down, at heights of 47 m. and speeds of 75 km/h.

EVENTS

Among those on hand for last week’s Goway-Air New Zealand event were Goway’s Anthony Saba (l) and Bruce and Claire Hodge, along with Tourism New Zealand’s Brianna McCarthy (Kia shirt) and ANZ’S Ben Evers-Swindell and Joel Arroyo.

Rain wiped out last week’s annual Goway-Air New Zealand cricket game last week, but over 75 staff and select “friends of Goway” still turned out for the barbecue portion of the Toronto event that tour operator founder Bruce Hodge (white shirt) says is always “the biggest event of the year for us.” He noted it also was the first event for Goway in two over years due to the pandemic. Guests dined and played trivia (to win prizes, including a trip to New Zealand courtesy of ANZ) and generally revel in travel’s return to a semblance of normal.

Following last fall’s 10-week training series “Sandals and Beaches Resorts… in 10 Minutes” for Canadian travel advisors, the program returns on Wednesday (Sept. 7), featuring the all-new Sandals Dunn’s River. The session will be led by Unique Vacations Canada training manager Lorna Richards (English) and Quebec/Atlantic BDM Sandra Brousseau. To register for the English session, at 1 p.m. EST, click HERE and for French, at 2 p.m., HERE.

PEOPLE/APPOINTMENTS

Air Canada Vacations has appointed Nicolas Thériault as Area Sales Manager – Quebec, representing Montreal, Laval, Laurentians, Lanaudière, Outaouais and Ottawa regions. Based in Montreal, he will be reporting directly to Marco Gagnon, General Manager, Sales – Eastern Canada. Thériault has spent over 11 years at ACV in groups and as call centre supervisor for Europe, Canada, and USA.

VoX International has added Carla D’Andrea to assist with the Tourism Australia account and other projects. The well-known industry professional has held previous travel roles at Conquest Vacations and Intair, and spent 11 years at Canlink Travel representing a collection of luxury properties.

DESTINATIONS

Visitors looking for a healthy, low cost, energy efficient, and emission-free means of transportation to get around Vancouver will be pleased to know that the city’s public bike share system is launching 500 electric assist bicycles and adding 50 new stations (30 e-stations) to the existing system, bringing the total system size to 2,500 bikes and 250 stations.

Daytona Beach, Fla., is set celebrate its 30th annual Biketoberfest Oct. 13-16. The four-day motorcycle rally attracts bike enthusiasts to Daytona Beach and Volusia County area with live music, top vendors, bike shows, motorcycle racing at Daytona International Speedway, and miles of scenic rides along the A1A, historic Main Street, and city’s the scenic loop.

LAST WEEK IN TRAVEL HISTORY

In 1904, Capt. John Claus Voss of Victoria, BC, completed his journey from Canada to England in a Nootka Indian dugout canoe. Voss took three years, three months, and 12 days to cover 64,000 km. under sail, almost circumnavigating the globe. His canoe, “The Tilicum,” is on display in Victoria. Voss was elected a fellow of the Royal Geographical Society to honour his accomplishment.

Send info to baginski@travelindustrytoday.com

First published at Travel Industry Today

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