ROUND-UP: July 11-15, 2022
Making headlines last week: Mandatory random testing for COVID 19 returns at the country’s four main airports, a new codeshare partnership for Air Canada, SIXT sets up shop in Vancouver, London Heathrow limits passengers, and American Airlines gets the go-ahead to return to Cuba.
Mandatory random testing of travellers arriving at Vancouver, Calgary, Montreal, and Toronto airports will resume July 19 with all testing to be completed offsite for unvaccinated people as well as those who are fully or partially vaccinated. Ottawa paused the random testing of vaccinated travellers entering Canada by air on June 11 due to the drag effects on timely and efficient customs clearance for passengers.
Toronto’s Pearson International Airport has created a new online tool to help guide passengers through the current strained air transportation system. The interactive infographics, dubbed, “A Better Trip Through Pearson,” and “Solving for Congestion at Pearson” are available on the airport’s website and provide passengers with information on every step of their journey, from check-in and security to customs and baggage pickup, as well as revealing what airport stakeholders are doing to improve the process.
The federal government says that since April, close to 1,200 CATSA screening officers have been hired across Canada and that with this the number of personnel at Toronto Pearson and Vancouver International Airport is now over 100% of the targeted requirements for this summer based on projected traffic.
London Heathrow Airport has taken the unprecedented step of telling airlines to stop selling tickets as it caps daily passenger numbers at 100,000 for the summer travel season – a measure meant to quell travel chaos caused by soaring travel demand and staff shortages. Britain’s busiest airport said the passenger limit for passengers that it can handle each day will continue through Sept. 11 with the restriction likely to result in more cancelled flights even after airlines already slashed thousands of flights from their summer schedules.
US officials approved a request by American Airlines to resume flights to five destinations in Cuba that were stopped in 2019 when the Trump administration sharply curtailed air service between the two countries. The Transportation Department decision will let American resume flights from Miami to Santa Clara, Varadero, Holguin, Camaguey, and Santiago de Cuba.
All public COVID-19 health measures have been removed at land and sea points of entry to Belize. This includes proof of vaccination, or a negative COVID-19 test. Belize Travel Health Insurance is now optional.
Hong Kong has suspended a COVID-19 measure that has resulted in dozens of cancelled flights in recent months and thwarted travel plans for thousands. Previously, a five-day flight route ban was imposed on airlines if at least five passengers or five percent of travellers – whichever is higher – tested positive for the coronavirus on arrival. That caused about 100 flight cancellations since the beginning of the year.
European car rental agency SIXT is expanding into Canada. The Munich-based company will open in Liberty Square in downtown Vancouver this month, then Toronto, with more locations to follow. The Canadian expansion follows the opening of several new locations across the US, where, with 36 locations (and plans to grow to 50), the company is the fourth-largest car rental agency. The company has a presence in 100 countries worldwide.
WestJet check-in services suffered a temporary system outage that caused flight delays and snarled travel across Canada Thursday morning. System outages affected both WestJet Airlines and air traffic control agency NAV Canada on Thursday, with travellers on social media reporting long lines and confusion at airports.
Air Canada and Emirates announced a codeshare agreement, set to take place later this year, that will offer enhanced consumer travel choices and conveniences for customers of both airlines travelling between Canada and Dubai, and the carriers’ networks beyond. Passengers will be able to take advantage of one ticket, through baggage to final destination, reciprocal frequent flyer benefits and reciprocal lounge access for qualifying customers.
The first Lynx flight from Edmonton International Airport took to the skies July 14, marking the commencement of five return services a week from Edmonton International Airport to Toronto Pearson International Airport and St. John’s International Airport.
BY THE NUMBERS
Airline industry losses are expected to reduce to US-$9.7 billion (improved from the October 2021 forecast for an $11.6 billion loss) for a net loss margin of -1.2%. That is a huge improvement from losses of $137.7 billion (-36.0% net margin) in 2020 and $42.1 billion (-8.3% net margin) in 2021, says IATA.
Sunwing customers choosing a Cayo Largo, Cuba, getaway by July 28 for travel starting Nov. 1, can take advantage of early booking bonuses along with reduced deposits and other added perks. Five weekly direct flights will depart Toronto and Montreal (starting Nov. 4), Quebec City, and Ottawa (Dec. 17), and Halifax (Jan. 10).
Tourcan has launched a new program called “Value Vacations” – group tours to exotic destinations that notably feature set departures with a minimum of two people (as opposed to the tour company’s tailor-made tours). All tours/safaris originate in destination, but Tourcan can handled consolidated air rates as well.
The new ‘Independence by Globus’ program enables clients to travel “untethered and unscheduled,” but with expert help and without the group. ‘Independent City Stays’ and ‘Independent Tours’ offers travellers a larger swath of featured destinations and countries around the globe. “Guests can look forward to enjoying travelling better in destinations across the globe, on their own, with hand-picked hotel accommodations, hand-selected optional excursions and the services of local experts to uncover the perfect ways to spend their days on vacation,” says Stéphanie Bishop, managing director for the Globus family of brands.
The boutique Grand Maloney Hotel in Key West, Fla. – a chic, six-bedroom property that dates back to the late 19th century – has opened at 529 Caroline St. after a nearly two-year restoration. Furnishings blend the hotel’s historic materials with luxury finishes and features such as a floor-to-ceiling yellow-tiled shower, an in-room original brick fireplace and colourful botanical print wallpaper. A newly built swimming pool and outdoor space offer an additional area for groups. The historic estate was purchased in 2019 by Key West–based Spottswood Hotels and named after Walter C. Maloney, a Spottswood ancestor who was elected Key West’s mayor in 1846. The hotel accommodates groups, and property buyouts are offered.
Reservations are now open for arrivals beginning May 24, 2023, at Sandals Dunn’s River Falls. The all-new 260-room resort is undergoing an extensive top-to-bottom restoration designed to embrace “the essence of Jamaica, its curving rivers, lush forests, and majestic banyan trees” – complete with fresh amenities, accommodations, and culinary concepts.
FAMS & INCENTIVES
Saint Lucia’s all-inclusive Coconut Bay Beach Resort & Spa is offering Double Rewards of up to US$140 to travel counsellors as part of its CBAYREWARD$ program. Membership and rewards redemption are easy with no points to manage; simply join the program and register new bookings at CBAYRewards.com. The bonus reward is based on seven-night Deluxe Oceanview or higher bookings made by July 31 for travel Jan. 2- April 16, 2023. Plus, agents will earn 15% commission on direct, seven-night group bookings or 13% on all other direct bookings regardless of length of stay, as well as receiving one free night for every seven-night booking in a Deluxe Oceanview or higher room category. Clients can also receive up to 60% off on 2023 dates Jan-April.
Jamaica is celebrating the island’s 60th anniversary of independence this year and the Jamaica Tourist Board (JTB) invites agents to join in the celebrations. The “60 Nights of Surprises” and “60 Days of Fun Prizes” activations are running through Aug. 31 with daily prize giveaways and 20 trip giveaways to Jamaica. Each Jamaica booking during this time gives agents one entry into the draws. For details, click HERE.
Travel Edge and Travel Edge Network, with a combined network of more than 800 advisors, have announced they have joined Ensemble Travel Group. The announcement follows the acquisition of Ensemble by Navigatr, which also owns Travel Edge Network and Travel Edge.
The new St. Vincent and the Grenadines Expert Program has been designed to help introduce travel agents to the islands and provides tips to help close sales. Upon completion of the program, participants will receive an official DiscoverSVGPro certificate as well as three continuing education credits from The Travel Institute or ACTA, amongst other benefits and rewards, including a chance to win an all-inclusive trip for two to St. Vincent and the Grenadines. For details, click HERE.
A number of Caribbean tourist boards have come together for pop-up road show events in the Greater Toronto region, uniquely being held in various outdoor parking lots. Remaining dates for the upcoming Caribbean Tourism Associates trade show series include: July 19 – Barrie, Cineplex-North Barrie (11 a.m.-12:30 p.m.) and Newmarket, SilverCity (1:30 p.m.-3 p.m.); July 21 – Whitby, Landmark Cinemas 24 (11 a.m.-12:30 p.m.) and Markham, Cineplex Markham @ Birchmount (1:30 p.m.-3 p.m.); July 26 – Kitchener, Cineplex Kitchener @ Fairway (11 a.m.-12:30 p.m.) and Guelph, Galaxy Cinemas Pergola Commons (1:30 p.m.-3 p.m.); July 28 – Hamilton, Cineplex-Hamilton mountain (11 a.m.-12:30 p.m.) and Mississauga, Cineplex-Square One (1:30 p.m.-3 p.m.). Participating tourist boards include Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda, Aruba, Bahamas, Barbados, Dominica, Grenada, Jamaica, St. Martin, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, along with Couples Resorts and Caribbean Castles Resorts & Villa Collection. To attend, email email@example.com.
Mark your calendar: Air Canada Vacations’ new collections will be introduced at an in-person event at the Mont-Royal in Montreal at 5 p.m. on Sept. 20. Note that there will not be a Toronto event this year. More details to come.
The Globus family of brands has introduced new Senior Director of Marketing Ainsley Ericksen, who brings with her more than 20 years of travel industry experience, including her most recent stint as senior director, global marketing for Rocky Mountaineer.
Destination Canada has announced four new members of its board of directors, joining one returning member. They are Brenda Holder, Benjamin Ryan, Martin Soucy, Natalie Thiesen, and Julie D. Canning. Leaving after their terms have expired are Patti Balsillie and Patricia Macdonald.
The 30th Anniversary of NYC Restaurant Week (photo) kicks off this week with 30 days of dining deals through Aug. 21. Diners can choose from a selection of two-course lunches for US$30, $45 or $60, and three-course dinners for $30, $45 or $60, dependent on individual restaurant price points. This pricing structure was created to ensure restaurants from all five boroughs can participate, from neighbourhood eateries to fine dining. More than 100 restaurants will also offer $30 bottles of wine to commemorate the 30th anniversary, available on participating menus. Mastercard holders can also pre-register for rebates. A list of participating restaurants is available HERE.
LAST WEEK IN HISTORY
In 1980, L’Anse aux Meadows, on the northern tip of Newfoundland where Vikings formed a settlement more than 1,000 years ago, was declared the first World Heritage Site by a special United Nations committee. Norwegian explorer Helge Ingstad found the site in 1960 after searching for the Vikings’ trail along Newfoundland’s coast for months, relying on 16th-century maps and ancient descriptions of Leif Ericsson’s transatlantic voyage.
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First published at Travel Industry Today