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ROUND-UP: Jan. 9-13, 2023

Last week offered good news on the value of holding a Canadian passport; a timely reminder from TICO; a new campaign from Transat; plus, news from Canada Jetlines, Air Canada Vacations, Sunwing, Quark Expeditions, and Cosmos. And celebrations of an artistic genius began in Spain…

NEWS

Canadians can claim the world’s 8th-most valuable passport for the third year running, according to the respected Henley Passport Index, which ranks the world’s 199 passports according to the number of destinations their holders can access without a prior visa (185 for Canadians in 2023). Japan took top spot for the fifth consecutive year (193). Canada has ranked 8th since 2021. Historically, the document has never ranked lower than 9th and hit its high point – 2nd – in 2014.

For three years, TICO waived registrants’ annual registration renewal fees and Compensation Fund assessments, but the regulating body is reminding that the arrangement will come to an end on March 31, 2023, with TICO temporarily reverting to the fee structure that was in place prior to the pandemic. All registrants with a year-end or six-month period-end on or after Jan. 1, 2023, will have fees owing starting on April 1: Registration renewal fees – payable 90 days after fiscal year-end; Compensation Fund assessments – payable semi-annually (payment 1-90 days after fiscal year-end; payment 2-90 days after fiscal half year-end).

 Air Transat launched a new promotional campaign: “Come Back Changed.” Inspired by the belief that travel has transformative powers, it aims to demonstrate the importance of travel and its ability to transform not only our way of being by expanding our horizons, but also our state of mind. This campaign, rolled out in Quebec and Ontario, the campaign includes 15- and 30-videos available online on YouTube as well as on various digital platforms plus radio ads.

The multiplatform campaign can also be seen online in consumer and trade media. To support the campaign, attractive flight and packages rates are offered for travellers heading South (including Florida).

With its flights running on a roughly normal schedule again, Southwest Airlines is now turning its attention to repairing its damaged reputation after it cancelled 16,700 flights around Christmas and left holiday travellers stranded. Experts says the debacle may lead to US$600 million in lost revenue for the airline, plus higher expenses such as vouchers and frequent-flyer points.

AIR

Sunwing has cancelled its seasonal operations from Sudbury and North Bay. The routes were originally scheduled weekly from Dec. 14 to Apr. 13, from Sudbury to Punta Cana, and from North Bay to Varadero. In a statement the company said, “The difficult decision to cancel winter flights beginning in February was deemed necessary due to operational and business constraints that would prevent us from delivering the standards of service our customers expect when travelling with Sunwing.”  Affected customers can transfer their vacation package to same-day departures from Toronto, as well as a $100 future travel credit. Customers who decide to cancel will receive a full refund.

Canada Jetlines has announced a partnership with TripAdmit, an online booking system that gives travellers the ability to select and book from a full range of tours and activities in the destinations served by the airline. TripAdmit’s white label solution enables distribution partners to provide their customers with the opportunity to choose and book from a portfolio of over 50,000 trip and activity experiences in over 100 countries globally.

 Delta Air Lines will provide free Wi-Fi service on most of its US flights starting in February. The airline says that by the end of the year it will outfit more than 700 planes with high-speed, satellite-based broadband service from T-Mobile and plans to expand free Wi-Fi to international and Delta Connection flights by the end of 2024.

Türkiye’s flag carrier Turkish Airlines, and Mongolia’s flag carrier, MIAT Mongolian Airlines, recently signed a codeshare agreement. The signed agreement between two flag carriers will enable both carriers to provide more flexibility of choice to their passengers on direct flights between Türkiye and Mongolia as well as flights connecting via İstanbul.

DEALS

Cosmos is waiving the single supplement on 15 tours across Europe and North America in 2023. Among the options are the seven-day “Rome, Florence & Venice”; nine-day “Irish Discovery”; and 13-day “Canadian Rockies.”

The “Bye-Bye Winter Event” from Air Canada Vacations is back with savings of up to 40% on winter escapes booked by Feb. 5 for travel by April 30 to select destinations in Mexico, the Caribbean and Central America and select Flight and Hotel packages to Hawaii, Orlando, and California.

TOURS

Arctic, photo – DavidMerron

Quark Expeditions is reducing the price of select polar voyages by 45% while also including a variety of guest benefits. In addition to the discount, the ‘Escape Sale,’ available for booking through April 4, drops single supplements on multiple voyages, includes free transportation between airport and hotel, as well as overnight hotel accommodation on select Arctic 2023 voyages, and gives an additional 10% savings when guests pay in full at time of booking. Among the featured 2023 departures are “Three Arctic Islands: Spitsbergen, Greenland and Iceland (Southbound)” on Aug. 6, and “Canada and Greenland,” departing Sept. 11. Full details HERE.

The Feminist Jack the Ripper tour in London looks at history from a different angle focusing on the lives of Mary Ann Nichols, Annie Chapman, Elizabeth Stride, Catherine Eddowes and Mary Jane Kelly, bringing them centre stage. Details HERE.

CRUISE

American Queen Voyages has updated its all-inclusive fare offerings for 2023. The new pricing structure includes port charges, taxes, services fees, and onboard crew gratuities. Travel agents will also earn commission on previously non-commissionable fees (NCFs) as an opportunity to increase earnings.

PONANT is the first expedition company to offer a voyage to the tropical islands of Southern Japan, with an all-new eight-day itinerary aboard Le Soléal from Taiwan to Okinawa. Departing March 24-31, the weeklong sailing will offer an immersion in the traditional villages and craft of the Okinawa archipelago and the Ryukyu Islands, with snorkeling, diving, and zodiac excursions, and discovering the beautiful beaches of Ishigaki, and Kume. In Japan, a sailing from Osaka to Fukuoka, an eight-day circuit from May 15-22 whisks guests around the picturesque towns and cities of the Seto Inland Sea, the oldest sea route in Japan.

RESORTS

Expected to open in 2023, the luxury Park Hyatt Los Cabos and Residences will mark the first Park Hyatt hotel in Mexico and will feature a master-planned golf resort that stretches along 3.2 km of pristine beach in Cabo del Sol – Los Cabos, Baja California Sur.

Adding to its portfolio in Southeast Asia, Club Med will build a new resort on the Malaysian side of the island of Borneo – Club Med Borneo Kota Kinabalu. The destination is known for its beaches, biodiverse rainforest, Mount Kinabalu (Southeast Asia’s highest peak), famed dive site Sipadan Island, and native species such as orangutans and clouded leopards. The resort is due in 2024.

HOTELS

The opening of Mondrian Mexico City Condesa (photo) marks the brand’s first hotel in Latin America. The new luxury, lifestyle property is designed to be a colourful cultural hub in the lively Condesa neighbourhood and features 183 rooms and 18 luxury suites, plus four distinct culinary concepts including Cleo Mediterraneo, Skybar, The Flower Shop, and La Terraza.

 Tennis star Rafael Nadal and Meliá Hotels International, have announced the launch of ZEL, a new brand of resort and urban leisure hotels. The casual, yet upscale brand will open its first hotel in Mallorca later this year 2023, with plans to open in destinations on the Mediterranean coast and in major cities such as Madrid, Paris, and London.

BY THE NUMBERS

Marriott International says it has successfully trained one million associates to spot the signs of and respond to human trafficking marking “a significant moment in the global fight against trafficking.” Marriott International first introduced human trafficking awareness training in 2016 and rolled out enhanced training in 2021.

ATTRACTIONS & THEME PARKS

Illumination’s Villain-Con Minion Blast – opening this summer at Universal Studios Florida in Orlando – will combine innovative screen technology, state-of-the-art gaming interactivity and elaborate physical sets to create a one-of-a-kind, game-based adventure where guests encounter immersive environments, nefarious villains, and tons of mischievous Minions from Illumination’s blockbuster film franchise. The new attraction will be part of a new Minion land, featuring the beloved Despicable Me Minion Mayhem attraction, a new Minion café and more.

FAMS & INCENTIVES

The Travel Corporation is offering agents an adventure through the Southern US. Each day of the May 8-15 ‘Taste & Sounds of the South’ FAM trip is allotted to and includes accommodation for a different TTC Tour Brand between Trafalgar, Costsaver, Contiki, Insight Vacations and Luxury Gold. For example, on the Costsaver day in Memphis, advisors will be able to tailor the itinerary to their interests with the choice between two ‘Make Travel Matter’ experiences, such as a visit to the National Civil Rights Museum with a local specialist or a tour of the city’s musical heritage from the nation’s only music bus. On Trafalgar day in Natchez, advisors will enjoy a ‘Be My Guest’ dinner of Southern food and punch at the historic Lansdowne Plantation. For info and to apply, click HERE.

EVENTS

The world’s largest cruise trade conference, Seatrade Cruise Global, is moving from Miami, returning to Fort Lauderdale next year. The 2023 conference and exhibition will be held at the newly renovated Greater Fort Lauderdale Broward County Convention Center, March 27-30, 2023. The four-day event is expected to attract more than 10,000 attendees, bringing together cruise professionals, thought leaders and innovators from all facets of the industry.

DESTINATIONS

With 2023 marking the 50th anniversary of the death of one of its most famous artists – Pablo Picasso – Spain has launched a campaign to appeal to fans of the creative genius with a full slate of events in five cities throughout the year.

Madrid, Barcelona, Malaga, Bilbao, and A Coruna – all of which were a particular a source of inspiration to Picasso, leaving a mark on his personality and his art – will be prominent in the celebrations, which will feature museum, gallery, and art school exhibits, symposiums, and online opportunities, but also gastronomy and touring itineraries created by the tourist board. For more information on Picasso in Spain, click HERE.

A new Alabama ‘All in One Ticket’ program being introduced offers 60 different attractions curated into 14 separate cities/regions in a state known for its civil rights history, outdoors (including under-the-radar beaches), golf, and growing culinary scene. In Birmingham, the pass features 11 attractions, including the 16th St. Baptist Church, Civil Rights Institute, zoo, Oak Mountain State Park, and several museums. Tickets are available through Expedia or at alabama.travel.

LAST WEEK IN TRAVEL HISTORY

In 1951, the world’s first jet passenger trip took place as an Avro jetliner flew from Chicago to New York in 102 minutes.

Send info to baginski@travelindustrytoday.com

First published at Travel Industry Today

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