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ROUND-UP: Dec. 12-16, 2022

From Calgary to Kitty Hawk, airlines were making news last week (we’re looking at you Porter!), plus Hong Kong eased border restrictions, cruise lines start rolling out wave season deals, Royal Caribbean welcomed a new ship, and a new Louisiana tourism trail sounds really good.

NEWS

A new report from the Ontario Chamber of Commerce says the province’s tourism industry is not expected to fully recover from the pandemic until 2025. The joint report with the Tourism Industry Association of Ontario contains a host of recommendations, from tax incentives to cannabis tourism to affordable housing in order to support staff recruitment. The report says tourism businesses in the province are generating 64% of the revenues they saw in 2019, on average.

The Travel Industry Council of Ontario (TICO) has charged Jacco Tours (Ontario) Inc. with one count of failing to use money held in trust other than for the purpose it was received. Additionally, Danny Li has been charged with one count of being an Officer and Director of a Corporation and failing to take reasonable care to prevent the Corporation from committing an offence. Li will appear in court on Jan. 13. The company, previously a TICO registered travel retailer and wholesaler based in Markham, primarily sold tours to China, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, and Southeast Asia. Claims deadlines for consumers is Jan. 16.

BORDERS

Newly eased travel restrictions in Hong Kong mean arrivals who test negative will not have to quarantine in hotel rooms and will not be subjected to the amber health code that previously prevented them from roaming the city freely, including entering restaurants and other venues, though proof of vaccination (three jabs) may be required (including photo or paper record). And those who do test positive will no longer be required to wear an electronic wristband. Other changes will include the elimination of PCR testing to enter Macau and mainland China.

BY THE NUMBERS

The Atlantic hurricane season, which ended on Nov. 30 (having started June 1), registered 14 named storms in 2022 with Hurricanes Ian, Nicole, and Fiona the most destructive. The number of storms this year is considered “average,” according to the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. This year was also the first time since 1941 that the Atlantic Ocean has gone from July 3 to the end of August with no named storm.

AIR

Porter Airlines will begin twice-daily service between Toronto and Calgary aboard state-of-the-art Embraer E195-E2 aircraft on Feb. 22, 2023. The flights service follows the launch of daily flights between Toronto and Edmonton starting Feb. 14, increasing to three daily flights effective April 19. Porter also announced it is launching four new Canadian and US routes from Ottawa. Starting March 27, 2023, passengers will be able to fly from the Capital Region on daily non-stop flights to Boston, New York-Newark, Quebec City and Thunder Bay.

Okanagan, BC residents now have direct service to Mexico with the launch last week of Sunwing flights to Cancun and Mazatlan. Weekly flights from Kelowna are offered to the former on Thursdays through April 13, and the latter Fridays until April 14.

WestJet’s annual Christmas Miracle program this year features the company’s newest community investment program Miracle Miles, which helps turn flights with WestJet into an opportunity for guests to give back to their communities. The initiative grants anyone onboard select flights during the holiday season with $1 for every mile flown to give to an eligible charity or non-profit organization of their choice. One such flight, on Nov. 26, raised a total of $90,718 for Canadian charities.

 Air Canada and Emirates have expanded their partnership to offer frequent flyer members joint loyalty program benefits. Aeroplan Members will also benefit from earning and redeeming points on all flights operated by Emirates – with access to more than 130 destinations across six continents – via the airline’s home and hub, Dubai. Emirates Skywards members can now earn and redeem miles on all flights operated by Air Canada, accessing a network of more than 220 destinations worldwide.

Air France celebrated the return of its New York-Newark Liberty Airport (EWR) route on Dec. 12.

DEALS

Ahead of the annual “wave” cruise-booking season, Holland America Line has introduced the “Time of Your Life” offer, which offers guests a free stateroom upgrade, fare discounts, free fares for kids and reduced deposits – plus tours, beverages, specialty dining and Wi-Fi with the “Have It All” premium package. The offer is valid for bookings made by Feb. 28, 2023. And as a bonus, cruisers who book by Jan. 31, 2023, also receive up to US$400 per stateroom onboard credit, depending on the length of the cruise.

Celestyal’s “Go Further, Get Closer Wave Season” campaign offers savings of up to 60% off the cruise line’s most popular 2023 and ‘24 Greek and eastern Med itineraries booked through Feb. 28.

HOTELS

Delta Hotels by Marriott Vancouver Delta is now open. Located 15 minutes from the BC Ferries Terminal and 20 minutes from the Vancouver International Airport, the new hotel includes a spa, 24-hour fitness centre, outdoor pool, and hot. Next to the hotel is Cascades Casino. Also close are Ladner, Steveston, Richmond, and Tsawwassen, all of which feature a wide variety of dining, shopping, and entertainment opportunities.

RESORTS

A new Sunwing survey on travel intent, considerations, and preferences among Canadians has unveiled that, among the 53% of Canadians who intend to travel internationally in the next year, half (51%) say they will likely book an all-inclusive vacation, with the destination or country the single-most important consideration for 46% of respondents. This is followed by resort amenities, with 20% indicating that amenities and facilities such as restaurants, pools, gyms, and spas are their top consideration when booking. When it comes to Canadians’ destination preferences a location with a great l beach (such as Punta Cana, Varadero and Negril tops the list for over one-third (36%) of respondents.

TOURS

Ponant has partnered with Smithsonian Journeys for a series of co-branded sailings for 2023. Each of the sailings (and 21 itineraries) will be led by two Smithsonian Journeys Experts – whether an art historian, a solar astrophysicist, or an international relations expert – whose expertise and knowledge will shed new light on a destination and deepen travellers’ immersion in place.

Horseback riders can canter, lope, walk or trot on Four Seasons Resorts Lanai, Maui’s new Ranch Custom Equine Experience, a two-hour private ride designed for any experience level. The ride begins at Lanai Ranch at Koele and climbs to more than 610 m. above sea level to enjoy stunning views. Another new resort activity is an hourlong Rifle Experience plinking steel flip targets at Lanai Archery and Shooting Range. Like a midway arcade or Old West-style shooting gallery, the 22 semi-automatic rifle range offers close-range excitement for both advanced and first-time shooters.

CRUISE

Wonder of the Seas

In a gala celebration, Royal Caribbean International officially welcomed Wonder of the Seas into the fleet in the ship’s year-round home of Port Canaveral, Fla. last week with godmother and ‘Wonder Mom’ from Pennsylvania Marie McCrea bestowing a blessing of safekeeping on the new ship, its crew and all who sail on it. She was joined by Royal Caribbean Group President and CEO Jason Liberty, RCI President and CEO Michael Bayley, and her daughter, Allie, who nominated her for the role as part of the TikTok search launched by the cruise line.

Carnival Cruise Line notified guests booked on the first six cruises of its new ship Carnival Jubilee that delivery of the ship has been postponed due to shipyard delays, and the first cruise will now sail from Galveston, Texas on Dec. 23, 2023.

ATTRACTIONS & THEME PARKS

Universal’s ‘Great Movie Escape’ is now officially open at Universal CityWalk – bringing a new escape room experience to Universal Orlando Resort. Universal’s Great Movie Escape is comprised of two distinct, cinematic escape adventures inspired by the Jurassic World and Back to the Future films – each boasting eight immersive environments that feature state-of-the-art challenges, detailed sets and captivating storylines that allow guests to ‘step into’ blockbuster films.

EDUCATION

Lauderdale loyalists who graduate from Greater Fort Lauderdale’s agent certification program by Dec. 31 will receive a Pompano Beach swag bag, plus one lucky graduate will receive an overnight stay in Pompano Beach, courtesy of the City of Pompano Beach.

Atout France has joined forces with the OnlyLyon Tourist Office and Convention Bureau to launch the new France Connaisseur online training platform highlighting the diversity of French tourist destinations, from heritage to activities, accommodation, and regional gastronomy. Almost 20 modules (available in English and French) allow agents to enrich their knowledge and acquire a “France Connaisseur” certificate when completing the course of modules with a 75% average. Graduates also earn four ACTA credits. Those completing the Lyon module by Jan. 15 are eligible to win a prize. See ACTA’s website for details.

FAMS & INCENTIVES

TTC Tour Brands’ ‘Italy for Independent Agents’ FAM, March 24-30, 2023, will showcase the range of offerings across Trafalgar, Costsaver, Insight Vacations and Contiki at one of the sales division’s most popular destinations, Italy, and offer tips on how to grow their independent travel agencies with the companies. Advisors will have one-of-a-kind experiences in Rome, Venice, Florence, Pisa and more, including visiting artisanal workshops to learn about loom-weaving textiles and glassblowing, cooking classes, and a ‘Be My Guest’ dinner in Tuscany. For info and to apply, click HERE.

EVENTS

The Global Tourism Film Festival (GTFF) kick-started the next GTFF Festival edition with an immersive evening of Portuguese culture featuring entertainment and cinema at the Lula Lounge in Toronto Nov. 12. With travel agents invited to attend for free, “Celebrate Portugal” was a first of a kind Portuguese gastronomy, music and cinematic experience presented in association with the non-profit Lula and   supported by Hertz Portugal and SATA Azores Airlines, including the carrier’s director for Canada, Karen Evans (photo, l), who presented the prize for holiday package for two, including flights and accommodation. GTFF will be held in North Bay, Ont. April 27-30.

PEOPLE

Following an extensive global search, WestJet has named Tanya Foster Chief Information Officer, effective Jan. 9. Foster brings more than 20 years of IT experience to the role, in which she will oversee all aspects of the airline’s IT capabilities, ensuring its technology platforms are efficient, easy-to-use and cost effective. She joins the airline from Shaw Communications, where she served as VP, Enterprise Solutions and Strategic Delivery.

Expedia TAAP has announced the winners of its ‘All Inclusive Your Way’ promotion, which ran from Oct. 1 to Nov. 30: Peggy P., CWT Harvey’s Travel; Terri G., Boylevard Travel; John G., P & G Travel; Shelley P., Travel Masters; and Susan F., 5 Stars Travel. The agents won a total of $4,500 in gift cards.

GOOD DEEDS

For the third consecutive year, TravelBrands has partnered with Food Banks Canada with a $10,000 donation – a sum that was matched with a personal donation by company CEO Frank DeMarinis, who said, “During this season, it’s vital that we come together to help alleviate the strain on the people and families who have been impacted the most…”

DESTINATIONS

Air Canada officially welcomed back their seasonal direct route from Toronto (YYZ) to Belize City (BZE) with carrier offering one flight per week on Sundays until April 16. Similarly, WestJet has expanded airlift to Belize, having added a direct route from Calgary (YYC) to Belize City (BZE), in addition to the direct route that Westjet operates from Toronto. The seasonal flights are seasonal operating twice per week through to April.

From Dixieland jazz to blues and zydeco to Cajun, Louisiana has always exuded music. However, for the first time, the state will have its own music trail, starting in 2023. The trail will feature a website and on-the-ground markers linking historic and current venues and attractions, from New Orleans’ iconic Preservation Hall to the Jolly Inn in Houma, and the Blue Moon Saloon in Lafayette. The program will also provide education and interactive activities. “It’s designed to not just let you enjoy the music, but learn about music too,” says Jennifer Berthelot of the Louisiana Office of Tourism. “It would be great for the novice. “If you want to explore and don’t know how, this will make it easy.”

LAST WEEK IN TRAVEL HISTORY

In 1903, Orville and Wilbur Wright flew their first airplane at Kitty Hawk, NC. The brothers used their Dayton, Ohio, bicycle shop to construct their early aircraft. The “Wright Flyer,” a biplane with two propellers chain-driven by a gasoline motor, flew 35 metres in 12 seconds – enough to convince the brothers that sustained flights were possible.

Send info to baginski@travelindustrytoday.com

First published at Travel Industry Today

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