Global Travel and Lifestyle News Network

ROUND-UP: Jan. 20-Feb. 03, 2023

Amongst last week’s news, WestJet paused Europe flights from some Canadian gateways, while Canada Jetlines announced its first Mexico destination: Cancun; PCR testing requirements for travellers from China were extended; and Sunwing and Air Canada Vacations unveiled new promotions.


Effective Feb. 01, TICO reduced the required rewrite wait times for the Travel Counsellor and Supervisor/Manager exams. New exam rewrite wait times (if first exam attempt is unsuccessful are 24-hour waiting period after receiving results from first exam; five-day waiting period after receiving results of second exam, and 30-day waiting period for each attempt after receiving results for third and any subsequent exam rewrites. TICO has also charged Elite Encounters and Adventures Inc., Dwayne Pogue, and Stefanie Landriault with one count of operating as a travel agent without being registered.

Canada has renewed mandatory COVID-19 testing and screening for travellers from China, Hong Kong, and Macao for another two months. The government mandated pre-boarding tests for people coming from those places last month after China removed longstanding public-health restrictions, causing a countrywide outbreak of the virus. The Public Health Agency of Canada says the testing requirements are expected to remain in place until April 5.

At the same time, travellers between Hong Kong and China no longer require COVID-19 PCR tests nor are subject a daily limit, authorities announced, as both places seek to drive economic growth.


WestJet has announced it is pausing transatlantic service between Halifax and Europe as part of its 2023 summer schedule. The airline also confirmed that it suspended transatlantic service to Europe from Vancouver and Toronto as of early December 2022. WestJet says the moves are part of a series of strategic decisions it is making to its transatlantic service to cope with capacity constraints.

Canada Jetlines has confirmed a new international nonstop service out of its travel hub of Toronto Pearson International Airport (YYZ) to Cancun (CUN) in Mexico. The Canadian carrier’s first route into Mexico will launch starting with two flights per week in March with increased frequency to follow.

Lynx has launched inaugural service to the US with its first flight from Toronto Pearson to the new Terminal C at Orlando International Airport (MCO). The carrier will operate four direct flights per week between Toronto and Orlando, flying brand-new Boeing 737 aircraft.


The ‘Winter Blues Sale’ from Sunwing is offering to up to 45% off packages booked by Feb. 26 for travel by April 30. Additionally, clients staying at one of the tour company’s ‘Smile Resorts’ will also receive a range of perks to elevate their getaway, including kids two through 12 Stay, Play and Eat free, exclusive deals for teens aged 13 to 17, no single parent supplement fee, a supervised Kids Club program and more.

Through March 5, clients booking an Air Canada Vacations beach vacation can save through weekly deals on departures between May 1 and Oct. 31 to select destinations in Mexico, the Caribbean, Central America, and Hawaii. Additionally, travellers can take advantage of 50% off the CareFlex travel protection plan.


The Venice Simplon-Orient-Express, A Belmond Train, Europe will unveil a new ‘Suites’ cabin category in June. Eight new suites will join the two pre-existing cabin categories, reflecting the train’s history and craftsmanship of the 1920s and 30s. Inspired by the dramatic landscape unfolding through the train’s picture-windows, the suites will feature a private marble ensuite bathroom and a lounging area by day, converted to either double or twin beds, by night.


In 2021 there were 120.8 million visitors to show caves, an overall 16% decline from a pre-pandemic high in 2019 of 144 million, according to The International Show Caves Association. COVID restrictions and staffing shortages were to blame for the decline. There are more than 1,500 show caves around the world.


The first Mondrian hotel in France, Mondrian Cannes, is set to open in March. The beachfront hotel will open on the site of the town’s oldest luxury hotel, formerly Grand Hotel Cannes. Following an extensive renovation, the new luxury lifestyle hotel will feature 75 guest rooms including three suites, state-of-the-art meeting and event facilities, Hyde Beach Cannes, and a new innovative culinary concept yet to be announced. Mondrian Cannes features a prime oceanfront location including a private beach and is the only hotel on the famed boulevard de La Croisette with its own gardens and direct access to the rue d’Antibes shopping district.

Set for a spring opening, Hotel Riu Plaza London Victoria has a superb location right in the heart of London just a few minutes’ walk from Victoria Station in Westminster. Featuring 435 and suites, amenities include a lobby bar and a restaurant, and 24-hour fully equipped gym.


Located in the heart of the idyllic town of Tulum, Mexico, Secrets Tulum Resort & Beach Club (within the luxurious Aldea Zama Complex) is slated to open in the summer, fusing elegant and boho design with eco-chic elements, jungle themed surroundings uniquely designed by award-winning architect Michael Edmonds.

AMR Collection has announced the expansion of its Dreams Resorts & Spas brand to Portugal with the Dreams Madeira Resort Spa & Marina anticipated to open in early 2024 following renovations, Located on the island of Porto Santo, one of the key touristic attractions in Madeira, the 366-room report will feature more than 10 a la carte restaurants, seven bars, on-site private beach and marina, exclusive adults-only areas and on-site waterpark. 


With the start of its new season on May 19, Le Boat will expand further into Ottawa (photo) with the addition of Dows Lake as a new satellite base to create convenient trips into the capital. The luxury houseboat rental company has been offering itineraries on the Rideau Canal since 2018.

 Carnival Celebration is introducing an expanded youth program including new enrichment activities for children, teens, and families, as well as an update to Carnival’s popular Dr. Seuss Bookville. Many of the new offerings will be implemented fleetwide by spring.


Super Nintendo World will open at Universal Studios Hollywood on Feb. 17 as the first Super Nintendo World in the US. The attraction will transport theme park guests and Nintendo fans into the world of Mario, Luigi and Princess Peach. The immersive land will be a visual spectacle of vibrant colours and architectural ingenuity within a newly expanded area of the theme park, featuring a ground-breaking ride, interactive areas for the entire family and themed shopping and dining.

Ferrari World Abu Dhabi has launched a new mega-coaster, Mission Ferrari – a high intensity, and multisensory 5D rollercoaster experience that includes the world’s first sideways coaster drop. The themed next generation mega-coaster combines cutting-edge technology with stunning scenic show sets, an exhilarating inverted loop, and state-of-the-art special effects.


Travel agents can get 3X BONBON, that’s $15, with any eligible Transat Europe tour booking made through Feb. In addition, by booking up to 60 days before departure, travellers can save $500 per couple. The promotion is valid for travel between April 1 and Oct. 31, for tours booked and paid up to 60 days before departure. Savings are already included in the tour price. Transat has more than 40 guaranteed departures in Europe from both Toronto and Montréal for next summer. See Agent Direct for full details.

Encore Cruises’ ‘Love is in the Air’ offer will provide travellers with $125 off their flight (maximum $250 per reservation) when booking a cruise. And travel agents will receive 2,500 bonus Loyalty points per stateroom.

This promotion applies to any new cruise bookings made by Feb. 15 and applicable to six-night or longer sailings departing on or before July 31, 2023 when booked in a balcony stateroom or above. Additionally, travel agents booking a new group in February departing before July 31with a minimum of eight staterooms will receive a $1,000 Bonus Commission.


Unique Vacations Canada has announced the appointment of two new members to the sales team for Sandals and Beaches resorts. Mireille Moutou, who boasts experience at Karisma and The Five Hotels, ACV and Transat Vacations, joins as the new Bilingual Business Development Coordinator (, while Jahbari Thompson is a new reservations specialist, having worked in the past on-resort at Sandals Ochi Beach (


Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ont. has been awarded Tripadvisor’s 2023 Travellers’ Choice “Best of the Best” Popular Destination in Canada award. The award comes from customers and the ratings they leave for restaurants, hotels, things to do and other activities in the area. The reviews are collected over a 12-month period.


In 1858, gold was discovered along British Columbia’s Fraser River, attracting thousands to Canada’s West Coast. Hundreds of ships, jammed with gold-seekers, worked their way across the Strait of Georgia to the Fraser, then made the dangerous trip up the swift-running river.

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First published at Travel Industry Today

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