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ROUND-UP: Jan. 11-15, 2021

The US now requires a negative COVID test for entry; Air Canada cuts routes and staff; and Porter’s post-pandemic lift-off is pushed back again.

NEWS

The US Center for Disease Control and Prevention has issued an order requiring all airline passengers from international destinations to show proof of a negative COVID-19 test (PCR or antigen) before boarding flights to the US. The new order is slated to take effect on Jan. 26, 2021.

St. Vincent and the Grenadines has announced its latest phase (#10) of entry protocols, which now include a mandatory 14-day quarantine upon arrival, along with a negative PCR test result.

The Belize Tourism Board (BTB) reports that Belize has achieved the Safe Travels Stamp, granted by the World Travel &Tourism Council (WTTC). The Safe Travels Stamp, the first global safety and hygiene stamp, is awarded in recognition of a country’s enhanced health and safety protocols.

RE-OPENING/RE-START

Porter Airlines hopes to be airborne again by March 29 – more than a full year after suspending service due to COVID-19. The revised tentative date to restart flights is based on the continuing surge in COVID-19 cases and corresponding public health measures.

DELAYED/ CANCELLED

Air Canada is suspending all flights in Gander and Goose Bay, Nlfd, plus Fredericton, NB, until further notice as of Jan. 23. The cuts come just days after Air Canada’s latest round of service reductions in Atlantic Canada went into effect on Jan. 11. With the reduction, Air Canada’s capacity in the first quarter of 2021 will be about 20% of its capacity during the first quarter of 2019, the company says.

Switzerland’s cancelled its signature ski race at Wengen last week after a rise in COVID-19 infections was blamed partly on tourists from Britain. The classic men’s downhill – on a scenic course that is the longest on the World Cup circuit – typically draws 30,000 spectators and one of the biggest audiences each year on Swiss television.

AIR

Citing 400% growth over the past year, and more than doubling its HondaJet fleet in 2020, Greensboro, NC-based Jet It is expanding to Canada. The private jet membership company says it will address the need for autonomous, efficient regional travel across Canada, from major metros to remote communities, particularly amidst a spike in interest from travellers seeking private jet options amid COVID-19 safety concerns. More info at www.gojetit.ca.

Frontier Airlines no longer accepts reservations for emotional support animals on any flight in line with new regulations recently issued by the US Department of Transportation (DOT).

Low-cost carrier Norwegian Air Shuttle says it will focus on European destinations and close its long-haul operations as it struggles with the fallout of the coronavirus pandemic and debt restructuring. The plan affects its flights to the United States and means it will cut its fleet from 140 aircraft to about 50.

BY THE NUMBERS

A “staggering” decline in flights prompted led to a 45% year-over-year drop in revenue at Nav Canada for the three months ended Nov. 30. The non-profit company, which runs the country’s civil air navigation service, said a 59% decrease in air traffic in the quarter caused net losses of $138 million. The losses came despite a drastic rate hike as well as cost-saving measures and the federal wage subsidy that helped slash expenses by about 16% from the same period in 2019, the company said. Approximately 900 employees were laid off in 2020 including 190 workers in December.

DEALS

The “View & Verandah” upgrade event from Holland America Line offers guests who book a 2021 or ‘22 cruise through Feb. 28, a stateroom upgrade, Signature Beverage Package, free one-night specialty dining, 10% off all shore excursions, 50% reduced deposits, and free or reduced fares for kids. The offer applies to the first and second guests in a stateroom and includes most global itineraries and the cruise portion of an Alaska Land+Sea Journey.

The “Sail Small, Live Large With Big Perks” offer from Windstar Cruises lets travellers choose from a set of complimentary perks plus a reduced deposit of 5%. In effect until Feb. 28, Windstar’s promotion includes a choice of up to $1,000 shipboard credit per stateroom; one night hotel pre- or post-cruise on Europe voyages; premium beverage package (wine, beer, spirits, soda); or free Wi-Fi. Guests may pick one complimentary perk which vary depending on the length of their cruise and room category. Along with this offer, deposits have been reduced from 15% of cruise fare to 5%. For agent incentives related to the offer, see “Fams & Incentives” below.

RESORTS

Known for its subterranean spa, authentic Jamaican vibes (think Rastafarian menus and local juice infusions), and close proximity to the airport just five minutes away, the S Hotel Jamaica Montego Bay’s “Satisfy Your Soul” package includes a fifth night free, two complimentary foots massages, 15% off spa service, daily breakfast for two, a complimentary dinner for two and more. The offer is valid for booking through March 31 for travel before July 30.

The new all-inclusive Planet Hollywood Beach Resort Cancun is set to open its doors on Jan. 29, in the exclusive resort enclave of Costa Mujeres, located just north of Cancun’s Hotel Zone. Amenities include 13 dining options, 11 bars and cafés, four pools, lazy river and Jurassic Splash Park, spa, fitness centre, Planet Play; kids club, and more. Planet Hollywood Adult Scene Cancun, the hospitality brand’s first-ever adults-only “resort-within-a-resort” concept will also debut.

HOTELS

Hyatt is breaking new ground in Southeast Asia with the opening of Hyatt Regency Phnom Penh, the first Hyatt hotel in the Cambodian capital and the debut of the Hyatt Regency brand in the country. With 247 guestrooms including 43 residential-style suites, the property is the largest internationally branded hotel in the city. It is located in the heart of Phnom Penh’s cultural and business district of Doun Penh – a 30-minute drive from the airport and within a short walking distance of the Royal Palace, National Museum and the riverside.

IHG Hotels & Resorts has opened opened voco Strasbourg Centre – The Garden, marking the brand’s second opening in France following the opening of voco Paris Montparnasse last September. As one of IHG’s newest hotel brands, voco is positioned to combine the reassurance of a global brand with the informality and charm of an individual hotel.

TOURS

Bookings open on Jan. 22 for Adventures by Disney Expedition Cruises’ 2022 program, which includes Antarctica and the Galapagos Islands. Itineraries include pristine landscapes, wildlife experiences, and family-focused activities curated by Disney experts, all while sailing aboard intimate, purpose-built ships specially designed to access remote destinations. Scheduled for 2021 and 2022, two 12-day Antarctica and Patagonia Expedition Cruises will sail with PONANT. Meanwhile, three routes are scheduled in the Galapagos, with departures on Feb. 9, March 6, July 10, and Aug. 7, 2022. River cruise vacations also return to Europe with itineraries along the Danube, Rhine and Seine Rivers, including specialty National Geographic photography sailings with AmaWaterways.

Big Five Tours and Expeditions’ 16-day “President’s Pick Wilds of Uganda and Kenya” journeys off the beaten path to visit the Tana Delta Conservancy, one of Kenya’s lesser-known conservancies and home to hippo, crocodile and other wildlife, including some 270 bird species, along with the Pokomo and Orma tribes, who helped develop a sustainable plan for the region. The tour also includes stays in safari lodges and tented camps; wildlife treks to encounter chimpanzees and gorillas in their natural habitat; and a private game drive in a custom-built 4×4 vehicle in the famous Masai Mara. Prices start at US$1,600 p.p. per day, land only, double occupancy, not including tacking permits.

CRUISE

Crystal Endeavour

Crystal Endeavor (rendering above), the German-built, PC6-designated vessel for Crystal Expedition Cruises is on track to debut this summer. Originally set to launch in August of 2020, the ship’s construction was delayed by the global health crisis. Crystal has cancelled Crystal Endeavor voyages through May 1, 2021 and is currently reviewing the ship’s published summer itineraries.

A fresh mix of ships, new itineraries, and destinations across the region – from Italy and Israel to the British Isles and the Arctic Circle – are on tap for Royal Caribbean’s 2002 Europe summer season, which is now open for booking. Highlights include Brilliance of the Seas sailing roundtrip from Venice, and Voyager of the Seas launching her first season in the Baltic Sea.

ATTRACTIONS & THEME PARKS

Planet Play, a new play area for kids aged two to 12, has opened at the Kennedy Space Centre Visitor Complex in Florida. The venue is designed to educate kids about technologies used in space exploration and the planets, in a fun, playful environment.

INCENTIVES

As part of Windstar’s wave season offer, travel advisors can pick their own perk on each confirmed booking – a US$50 bonus commission payable with regular commission or a $50 gift card payable at final payment. It increases to $100 per booking for new to Windstar guests. An extension of a currently running groups promotion lets advisors earn a Tour Conductor credit at a reduced rate of 1:7 on Star Advantage dates, normally 1:9. And the “Sell Three, Sail Free” promotion gifts a free cruise to advisors when they sell three qualifying voyages in 2021. Qualifying cruises must be booked by Feb. 28, 2021 and the advisor’s free cruise may be any voyage of eight days or fewer and must be taken by March 31, 2022.

EVENTS

June 21-23, 2021: The African Travel & Tourism Association’s (ATTA) annual B2B travel show Experience Africa will return to London in 2021. Taking place June 21-23, the three-day event for buyers and suppliers of African tourism will be held at Stamford Bridge in Fulham, and will feature one-to-one meetings, networking, and a seminar schedule delivering educational content focussed on driving Africa’s tourism revival post COVID-19.

PEOPLE/APPOINTMENTS

WestJet has announced the retirement of Executive VP and COO Captain Jeff Martin, effective Feb. 26. Robert Antoniuk, currently VP, Airports and Guest Services, will serve as Interim Chief Operating Officer while a global search is undertaken.

Michael Johnson has been appointed president of Toronto-based Travel Edge. Formerly executive VP, Johnson will assume responsibility for both Travel Edge Business and Leisure with an emphasis on creating tools and solutions to drive client experiences and increased revenue.

Stacey Liburd is the new director of tourism for Anguilla. Prior to her appointment, Liburd served as a member of the ATB Board of Directors where she chaired the marketing committee. She comes to the position with a wealth of business development, sales, and marketing experience in tourism, having represented a cross section of Anguilla resort and villa properties including Quintessence Hotel, Santosha Estate, Long Bay Villas, Zemi Beach House, and the new Tranquility Beach Resort.

DESTINATIONS

Visitors to Antigua and Barbuda can now navigate the islands through a new and interactive tourist map available on a tourist board-endorsed mobile app. The ‘Explore Antigua’ app, which is available free for download in the Google Play and Apple iOS stores or via QR Code scan, will be a feature at all ports of entry, leading hotels, restaurants and bars, car rental companies, and other locations island wide, and will include information on hotels, restaurants and bars and popular tourist attractions along with a Google-integrated map for GPS navigation.

Based on the premise that “vacations now require more planning and preparation than ever before,” Experience Kissimmee has partnered with AdventHealth to provide a “Safety Hub” for visitors. The new planning tool allows visitors to explore resources and up-to-date safety information before travelling (when the time is right). To access, click  https://www.experiencekissimmee.com/safe-vacations

Send info to baginski@travelindustrytoday.com

First published at Travel Industry Today

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