ROUND-UP: Dec. 19-30, 2022
Besides atrocious, debilitating weather across much of the continent, and resulting travel chaos, cancellations, and lost bags, the world of travel continued to turn over the holidays as China took its biggest steps yet to open its borders – in both directions. Also, Air Canada and WestJet were rated for punctuality, and StatsCan said what we all know: Canadians are travelling again. Read on for the rest of the news you have may have missed while shovelling, or unwrapping gifts.
The Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) and the US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) are opening a new NEXUS/Free and Secure Trade (FAST) enrolment centre in Ogdensburg, NY, near Brockville, Ont., today (Jan. 3). CBSA border services officers and US CBP officers will work together at the centre to conduct interviews. Hours of operation are Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Applicants can schedule their interview on the CBP’s Trusted Traveler portal.
Statistics Canada says Canadian international travel rebounded sharply in October as the transportation industry continued its post-pandemic recovery. The agency says Canadian residents returned from 3.3 million trips abroad in October, nearly four times the figure recorded during the same month of 2021. International arrivals to Canada, which includes both visitors and returning residents of Canada, hit almost three-quarters the level seen in October 2019 before the pandemic began.
The Hong Kong SAR Government announced the lifting of all mandatory PCR test requirements for inbound travellers upon arrival in Hong Kong, as well as the lifting of the Vaccine Pass which allowed access to specified premises and other measures effective Dec. 29.
China’s announcement that it will end quarantines for travellers from abroad on Jan. 8 is the biggest step toward ending limits that have kept most foreign visitors out of China since early 2020. Quarantines were reduced last month from seven days to five. The government also downgraded the official seriousness of COVID-19 and dropped a requirement for people with the virus to be quarantined. That added to a rapid drumbeat of steps to dismantle controls that had been expected to stay in place at least through mid-2023.
BY THE NUMBERS
Jamaica is set to have a record winter tourist season, with the Jamaica Tourist Board forecasting that it will welcome nearly 1.5 million visitors – 950,000 stopovers and 524,000 from cruise that represents a 67.5% increase in comparison to the same period in 2022. Earnings are projected to increase by 36.3%.
Aviation analytics company Cirium says Canada’s two biggest airlines ranked low in terms of on-time performance this year. The data firm says that among the 10 biggest airlines in Canada and the US, Air Canada and WestJet Airlines ranked worst and second-worst for their punctuality. Cirium says Air Canada had on-time arrivals (meaning within 15 minutes of the schedule) for about 55.6% of its roughly 143,000 flights as of mid-December. WestJet managed on-time arrivals for 60.7% of its roughly 89,000 flights. Cirium says top-ranked Delta Air Lines had on-time arrivals for about 84% of its 960,000 flights. The data doesn’t include the latest travel woes this past week caused by major winter storms.
Citing “extenuating circumstances,” Sunwing is suspending operations from its Saskatoon and Regina airports through to Feb. 3. The airline says it has been difficult to sort out the delays because of displaced crews and airplanes.
American Airlines is launching more Caribbean flying from its Miami hub with new service to Terrance B. Lettsome International Airport (EIS) in the British Virgin Islands (BVI). The new seasonal flight, operated daily by Envoy with an Embraer E175 aircraft, will start on June 1 and will run through the summer, restarting again in November.
Sunwing’s ‘Boxing Sale Week’ continues through Jan. 8 with non-stop deals on every vacation package to the tropics including Mexico, Cuba, the Dominican Republic, St. Lucia, and Costa Rica. The offer applies to travel through April 20.
Silversea Cruises has enhanced its pricing structure with an innovative ‘prepaid’ option for the wave period, offering up to 20% savings on selected port-to-port voyages. Travellers will save between 10% and 20% on new bookings made by Feb. 28 when paying the non-refundable cruise fare in full within five days. Silversea’s wave promotion comprises an extensive door-to-door all-inclusive offering with a reduced deposit of 15%, port-to-port all-inclusive fares for increased flexibility, and new prepaid port-to-port all-inclusive fares for even greater savings.
Avalon Waterways has announced plans to bring back author of the bestselling “Outlander” series, Diana Gabaldon, who will host a “Storyteller” cruise on the Danube River in April, 2024. Fans will meet and get insights from the novels/TV show with Gabaldon, while cruising through central Europe on a seven-night “Danube Dreams” cruise from Deggendorf to Budapest.
The Mount Nevis Hotel in St. Kitts and Nevis has re-opened its doors (photo). The family owned and operated hotel has undergone a refresh, including beautifying its seven hectares and refurbishing its 45 rooms and suites.
Copacabana Palace, A Belmond Hotel, Rio de Janeiro, is celebrating its centenary year in 2023. The 100 do Copa celebrations kicked off with a traditional ‘White & Gold’ New Year’s Eve party, which will be followed by an iconic, star-studded Copa Ball to mark Rio Carnival in February. A year- long series of events and cultural programming will bring together arts, music, and gastronomy – carefully curated to pay homage to the hotel’s history and its timeless traditions.
Royalton Splash Riviera Cancun, An Autograph Collection All-Inclusive Resort has opened its doors and received its first guests. The 1,005-room luxury all-inclusive property is located half an hour from Cancun airport and offers entertainment for all ages, ranging from spa treatments and fitness activities with the latest training equipment, to sparkling pools with cabanas, Kids Club, outdoor theatre, and GameUp Entertainment Center with a trampoline park, bowling alley and a laser tag arena. The resort also boast one of the largest water parks in the Caribbean with 14 monster slides, two lazy rivers and splash pad pools.
Paradisus Palma Real Golf & Spa Resort has reopened following a US$40-million renovation. Located on Bávaro Beach in the Dominican Republic, the resort 596 newly designed rooms including 58 swim-up suites, refreshed adults-only areas, nine new restaurants, and more. The property has also launched the new Nikté upgraded luxury services that will debut at all Paradisus locations, which includes exclusive services and perks including premium room categories, turndown service, a premium minibar, a personal destination concierge, priority dinner reservations, and a water ritual at the resort’s YHI Spa.
Holland America Line has introduced a limited-edition Pilsner beer – HAL Pils – made in partnership with Pike Brewing that will be served on board across the fleet. Available in a collector’s can adorned with the iconic Jan van Beers poster of 1898 showing a woman in a nautical-blue dress and striped, white hat that mirrors the funnels of the Holland America Line steamship she’s holding above her head, the beer is available in all bars and lounges fleetwide and six-packs also will be available for purchase in the shipboard shops.
Celestyal Stars is a new online training program from Celestyal cruise line, offering a “one-stop shop” for agents booking clients with the Greek islands and Med specialist. Agents will find news, practical tools plus tips on how to earn additional commissions on pre-bookable items and upgrades, as well and competitions and incentives. Visit www.celestyalstars.com.
ATTRACTIONS & THEME PARKS
TRON Lightcycle /Run, scheduled to open at Magic Kingdom Park in Orlando in spring 2023, will be one of the fastest coasters at any Disney theme park in the world. Based on the Disney sci-fi film TRON: Legacy, guests will speed across a world with no horizons in a high-stakes race in their very own Lightcycle.
FAMS & INCENTIVES
The ‘Captivating Croatia’ FAM trip by Insight Vacations, May 7-13, 2023, begins in Zagreb with a city tour, followed by an excursion to Plitvice National Park where tour participants will join a local expert to learn how research is monitored on the natural species of the park or to meet with the industrious women of the Tara Community Centre who produce handicrafts. In the Old Town of Split, travellers will explore the Roman Emperor Diocletian’s Palace and more and try traditional konoba. On the way to Dubrovnik, advisors will make a stop at the fishing village of Mali Ston where guests eat oysters straight from the sea. And in colourful Dubrovnik, agents can enjoy the view from the seaside hotel before exploring the city on tour and during free time. Apply HERE.
ACTA has announced that it will be once again be hosting travel industry summits in 2023 in Toronto on Sept. 14, Vancouver on Sept. 21, and Montreal on Sept. 27.
Golfers are also encouraged to also save the date for the ACTA Ontario Golf Tournament, which will be held at the Royal Ontario Golf Club in Milton on July 13. And the inaugural ACTA River Cruise Summit, in partnership with Avalon Waterways, will take place in October. 2023.
Daytona Beach has launched its 2023 Canadian Sand and Sun Offers program, a collection of hotel deals, special offers and discounts available exclusively to Canadian visitors via the CVB’s website, DaytonaBeach.com.
The 21st Annual Dine Out Vancouver Festival, will take place from Jan. 20 to Feb. 5. Patrons at more 350 restaurants across the city can choose set menus offered at three price ranges: $20-$34, $35-$50, or $54-$64. The program will also feature special events, including a street food festival, and downtown Vancouver hotel offers, including a $75 gift card for a one- or two-night booking at participating properties. Event tickets are on sale now and reservations will open Jan. 11. For full details, visit www.dineoutvancouver.com
LAST WEEK IN TRAVEL HISTORY
In 1998, British mogul Richard Branson, American millionaire Steve Fossett and Per Lindstrand of Sweden gave up their attempt to make the first non-stop, round-the-world balloon flight, seven days into their journey, ditching off Hawaii.
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First published at Travel Industry Today