ROUND-UP: Dec. 19-23, 2023
From Vancouver to the deep US south, and populous southern Ontario in between, wild winter weather cancelled flights and disrupted holiday travel plans across the continent ahead of the Christmas weekend.
Air Transat is the least dissed domestic airline in 2022 by consumers at just over two (2.2) complaints per 100 flights flown, according to the Canadian Transportation Agency (CTA), which has published a new dashboard that tallies the grievances. At the more dubious end of the scale, Flair Airlines racked up the most moans per century at 13.7.
Global citizens, and future travellers, will have more of the world’s natural environments to enjoy – and a safer world to live in – if countries adhere to a new “historic” biodiversity deal signed by Canada and nearly 200 other countries in Montreal last week that pledges for almost one-third of their land and marine territories to be set aside for conservation in the next eight years.
G Adventures founder Bruce Poon Tip says it’s a “badge of honour” to be sanctioned by Russia. Speaking out about his ban from entering Russia, along with 200 prominent other Canadians, Poon Tip says the sanction against him signifies his, and Canada’s, stance on what is right when it comes to human rights, as the invasion of Ukraine continues.
India has begun randomly testing international passengers arriving at its airports for COVID-19, but the country’s health minister says there are no plans yet to halt flights from countries where new cases have been reported. Citing an increase in COVID cases in neighbouring China, Mansukh Mandaviya announced the new rule in Parliament, where he also urged state governments to increase surveillance for any new coronavirus variants and send samples of all positive cases to genome sequencing laboratories.
BY THE NUMBERS
The US Transportation Security Administration (TSA) says that officers have stopped over 6,300 firearms so far this year, and the agency is anticipating that number will rise to 6,600 by the end of the year. That’s nearly a 10% increase over last year, which was already a record, the agency said. Nearly 90% of the weapons caught so far were loaded.
After almost three years of forced suspension due to the pandemic, Air Transat has restarted service to Havana, Cuba, from Montreal. The carrier is operating two weekly flights to the Cuban destination, which the airline calls the “flagship” of its winter program. Duo packages combine the capital with the beach destination of Varadero. Details on Agent Direct.
The US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has granted Canada Jetlines authority to operate and fly to into the country. The low-cost carrier will begin US service to Melbourne/Orlando International airport in Florida and to the Harry Reid International Airport in Las Vegas, with both inaugural flights scheduled for Jan. 19, 2023.
Porter Airlines will launch service from Toronto Pearson service to Halifax with multiple daily, non-stop roundtrip flights beginning Feb. 23, 2023.
Sunwing is offering three weeks of non-stop deals on every vacation package to the tropics during its Boxing Week Sale, which continues until Jan. 8 for travel to destinations including Mexico, Cuba, the Dominican Republic, St. Lucia, and Costa Rica through April 20.
The new “Mediterranean Coast Journey: Spain, France and Italy” small group Explorations tours by Collette gives travellers the opportunity to discover cities like Barcelona, Marseille, Nice, and Genoa over the course of 14 days. Highlights include Antoni Gaudi’s final masterpiece, “La Sagrada Familia” in Barcelona; lunch and wine at a nearly 1000-year-old abbey in Marseille; and taking part in perfume-making workshop Nice. Tours start May 27, 2023.
Now open, AKA West Palm is located at 695 South Olive Ave. in the heart of West Palm Beach, Fla.’s central business district. The five-story property features 215 brand-new hotel residences comprised of studios, one- and two-bedroom accommodations, plus Penthouse suites that combine the ambiance of a private residence with the indulgent services of a luxury hotel. Ensuite amenities include sleek kitchens, washers and dryers, and private terraces while public spaces offer an indoor/outdoor lounge and bar, a resort-style pool and deck, a state-of-the-art Technogym, an executive conference room and smaller conference nooks, and a dedicated pet spa.
AMR Collection recently hosted its third annual ‘Amazing Agents Celebration’ in Punta Cana, DR, held at Dreams Macao Beach Punta Cana and honoured a record 107 top-performing travel advisors and travel agent leadership from the US and Canada. The four-day gathering was designed to showcase the company’s appreciation for its loyal travel agent community with complimentary travel and Unlimited-Luxury resort accommodations at Dreams Macao Beach Punta Cana all-inclusive, family-friendly resort on Playa Macao.
Part of Hyatt Hotels’ Boundless Collection, Andaz Mexico City Condesa, located in Mexico City’s historic Condesa neighbourhood is taking reservations for mid January. Full of vibrant, cultural richness and architectural significance, this 213-room, luxury lifestyle hotel with state-of-the-art meeting marks the first urban Andaz property in Mexico and the second Andaz hotel in Mexico.
Uniworld Boutique River Cruises has added a new 2023 course to its online travel advisor education program, Uniworld University. The course details Uniworld’s newest offerings, to set advisors up for success next year ahead of wave season. Plus, Uniworld is offering special perks for advisors that complete the course. Eligible advisors will receive exclusive discounted rates in January, along with inclusion on Uniworld’s online cruise specialist section for potential new clients and an official badge for e-signature usage.
Carnival Cruise Line will more than double the cruises it offers from Norfolk, Virginia, in 2023, and extend sailings to a consecutive six-month period from May through October. The announcement is a first step toward a proposed year-round cruise program from Norfolk starting in 2025, as Carnival and City of Norfolk leaders discuss necessary terminal and port improvements to support an expansion of operations.
ATTRACTIONS & THEME PARKS
Set to open at Universal Studios Hollywood on Feb. 17 is Super Nintendo World, a new theme land devoted to the iconic video game and featuring “Mario Kart: Bowser’s Challenge” ride, as well as many other thrilling and interactive activities designed to engage the entire family within the Mushroom Kingdom.
On Dec. 10, Park’N Fly employees held their annual ‘Stuff the Bus’ toy drive outside of a Toys”R”Us in Mississauga. The event was part of CTV’s Toy Mountain campaign in support of the Salvation Army and families in need. “Our entire team is passionate about this event and looks forward to participating every year!” says Park’N Fly VP of Sales Frank DeCesare.
The Travel Agent Next Door agent partner Ola Ulewicz of Jet Lag Voyages recently won the New Business Award at the Barrie (Ont.) Chamber of Commerce Business Awards Gala. The award is described as a business having the greatest impact on the community and economy as a whole over the last 12 months “as demonstrated by achievements in company growth, sales, employment, client acquisition and awareness.”
In early 2023, visitors to the Big Apple can take advantage of NYC Winter Outing offers across hotels, dining, Broadway shows, attractions, museums, tours and performing arts. The initiative celebrates the city’s winter season and provides great value through NYC & Company’s signature programs: NYC Restaurant Week, NYC Broadway Week, and NYC Must-See Week, all taking place Jan. 17-Feb. 13; and for the second year, NYC Hotel Week, from Jan. 3 through Feb. 13, which offers 23% off stays at more than 140 hotels.
Following a year which the UK is expected to recover of to 73% of pre-pandemic visitor numbers – including strong arrivals from Canada – VisitBritain is forecasting 35.1 visits in 2023, representing 86% of the nearly 41 million visitors the destination welcomed in 2019. Visits from Canada and the US were particularly strong through the summer, reaching 2.1 million between June and August, up 7% on the same period in 2019 and marking the highest August on record for visits from North America.
LAST WEEK IN TRAVEL HISTORY
In 2001, Richard C. Reid, a passenger on an American Airlines flight from Paris to Miami, tried to ignite explosives in his shoes, but was subdued by flight attendants and other passengers. He was later sentenced to life in prison. For years following, airline passengers were (and sometimes still are) subjected to shoe checks before boarding.
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First published at Travel Industry Today