ROUND-UP: July 25-29, 2022
Last week, Transat AT secured additional federal funding; JetBlue reached a deal to buy Spirit Airlines; some WestJet workers signed a ‘historic’ contract; and Switzerland Tourism named its new director for Canada.
Transat A.T. Inc. reached an agreement with Canada Enterprise Emergency Funding Corporation, a federal Crown corporation, to obtain $100 million in additional liquidity. The company also reached an agreement with its lenders to defer its April 2023 maturities to April 2024, as well as to defer from October 2022 to October 2023 – the date by which the Corporation must meet certain financial covenants. This liquidity is in addition to initial financing secured on April 29, 2021.
Newly unionized WestJet workers in Calgary and Vancouver ratified a “historic” first contract that gives members at least a 13% wage increase, their first increase in five years.
Travellers arriving at Toronto Pearson International Airport or Vancouver International Airport, and later this month at Montréal-Trudeau International Airport, can save time by using the Advance CBSA Declaration optional feature in ArriveCAN to submit their customs and immigration declaration in advance of arrival. This feature will also be expanded to other international airports in the coming months.
Based on the philosophy that “seeing the world and saving the world are not mutually exclusive,” the US Travel Association announced the launch of its new Sustainable Travel Coalition, which aims to align the travel, transportation, and technology sectors in developing and advancing strategies to enable a more sustainable future for the travel industry south of the border.
BY THE NUMBERS
As of July 18-21, CATSA says collectively 81% of passengers were screened within 15 minutes at Canada’s airports, even as passenger volumes continued to increase. Individually, YYZ was 82%, YVR 81%, and YYC 81% – all improvements on the week before. Only Montreal declined during the same period, from 78% to 68%. CATSA says less than 2% across all airports waited more than 45 minutes to be security screened for the week of July 11-17.
ACTA has launched a new Trip and Luggage Compensation on its website that travel agents can use to understand compensation and reimbursement rules for domestic and international air travel as well as to help guide their customers through what resources are available in the event of flight delays, cancellations, baggage delays, loss, and damage. Users can input the origin and destination of the impacted flight and the tool will display potential compensation and reimbursement rules applicable to that trip. However, ACTA notes the tool is not a substitution for legal advice, and users should seek counsel from a lawyer as needed.
JetBlue Airways has agreed to buy Spirit Airlines for $3.8 billion and create the fifth-largest airline if the US if the deal can win approval from antitrust regulators.The agreement capped a months-long bidding war and arrived one day after Spirit’s attempt to merge with fellow budget carrier Frontier Airlines fell apart.
Aeroplan has extended its pause on expiry of points until May 31, 2023 – meaning that between now and May 30, 2023, any Aeroplan points which would have expired will not. Effective May 31, 2023, the normal expiration policy will once again apply, meaning points will expire if an eligible transaction has not been completed within the 18 months prior to this date.
Canada Jetlines has announced its first flight out of Toronto Pearson International Airport (YYZ) to Greater Moncton Roméo LeBlanc International Airport (YQM), scheduled for Aug. 15, as one of the carrier’s first routes.
Quark Expeditions has its Summer 2022 Promotion – a 25% discount on select Arctic and Antarctic voyages, valid through Sept. 30.
In a bid to introduce “the unique wonders of Istanbul to the world,” Turkish Airlines is once again providing its Touristanbul program, which offers international stopover passengers the opportunity to discover Istanbul with a complimentary city tour. Through the program – available to guests with a connecting time of between six and 24 hours in Istanbul Airport – passengers will have the opportunity to discover such sites as Sultanahmet Mosque, Ayasofya Mosque, and Topkapı Palace, between their connecting flights. Passengers are picked up from Istanbul Airport by a Touristanbul vehicle, embark on a tour of Istanbul accompanied by a guide, and are transferred back to the airport for the next leg of their flight.
From Oct. 14, and continuing for a month, the Jordan Trail’s new “Thru-Hikes” will allow intrepid travellers to discover the middle eastern country on guided hiking experiences that include licensed guides, transportation, meals, accommodations and more. Travellers can enjoy any section of the hike for as little or as much as they want to – and meet Jordanians as they meander through up to 72 villages. The Jordan Trail Association is a not-for-profit organization and hikers’ contributions help fund the development of the Trail and its communities. Check out Jordantrail.org for details.
The Adlon Experience Anniversary Package, offered all year, celebrates the famed Berlin hotel’s 25th anniversary (actual date Aug. 23). It includes an overnight stay in a luxurious double room or suite at the Kempinski property, where a bottle of Ruinart Anniversary Champagne; a chocolate model of the Brandenburg; and a surprize gift greet guests on arrival. In the evening, a seasonal three-course menu accompanied by Robert Weil´s anniversary wine is served in the Quarré restaurant. The following morning, the acclaimed gourmet breakfast buffet is served in the gallery of the Bel Etage, and in the adjoining salons. The package starts at 630 euros p.p.
In a move aimed at improving the guest experience throughout the entire customer journey, Blue Diamond Resorts has unveiled a series of detailed videos that showcase the resorts through top-notch first-person view camera technology allowing the traveller to explore and assist them in making booking decisions. A series of over 40 videos – one per week over the coming months – will be published on Blue Diamond Resorts’ official channels under the name Above & Beyond.
Wyndham Hotels & Resorts, the world’s largest hotel franchising company with more than 8,900 hotels in over 95 countries, and Palladium Hotel Group, one of the largest Spanish hotel companies, have announced commercial alliance that will add more than 6,500 rooms to the Wyndham’s Registry Collection. As part of the agreement, Palladium Hotel Group’s two all-inclusive luxury brands – Grand Palladium Hotels & Resorts (family all-inclusives) and TRS Hotels (adult-only all-inclusives) – will join the Registry Collection brand.
Starting Aug. 4, Carnival Cruise Line fully vaccinated passengers booked on cruise itineraries of five nights or less will not be subject to pre-cruise testing for COVID-19. Those cruising for six nights or longer can test three days before departure. And there will be no in-terminal testing for unvaccinated guests on day of departure, but all unvaccinated guests ages two and older must provide proof of a negative result of a lab-administered or supervised self-administered antigen COVID test taken within three days before embarkation.
Bookings are open for Disney Cruise Line 2023 fall excursions featuring Halloween on the High Seas and Very Merrytime cruises, and the fleet’s first-ever departures from Fort Lauderdale. Cruises aboard DCL’s vessels Dream, Magic, Wish and Fantasy, will depart from Florida, California, and New York to the Caribbean, Mexico, and Bermuda, plus a special stop in Canada.
ATTRACTIONS & THEME PARKS
For the first time, The Weeknd (that’s not a typo) is joining forces with Universal Studios’ Halloween Horror Nights to inspire all-new, haunted houses for Halloween Horror Nights based on Canadian artist’s record-breaking “After Hours” album. Beginning Sept. 2 at Universal Orlando Resort and on Sept. 8 at Universal Studios Hollywood, guests will spiral into the “twisted mind of the mysterious artist” to experience “The Weeknd: After Hours Nightmare.”
Switzerland Tourism (ST) will welcome a new director for Canada, effective Nov. 1. Oliver Weibel takes the reigns from current Canadian director Pascal Prinz, who will assume a new role as Director, Global Accounts at ST based out of Zurich. No stranger to tourism marketing, Weibel has worked at the national tourism board’s headquarters since 2017 as marketing manager, accommodations & hospitality.
FAMS & INCENTIVES
Nov. 5-17, 2022: NĀRAT is inviting travel counsellors on an exclusive 12-day eco-education FAM to Madagascar, highlighting the destination’s incredible wildlife diversity, including famed lemurs (photo) and ecological treasures. Participants will also visit capital Antananarivo and other heritage towns and experience unique wildlife encounters and cultural activities. Cost is US$2,750 p.p. plus flight taxes (US$650) and includes airfare from Toronto and in Africa, accommodation (in deluxe hotels and game lodges), guided safari drives and wildlife walks, meals, entrances fees to conservation areas, and presentation on selling Madagascar. Agents can also add on a seven-day extension to South Africa. FAM spots are limited, and one companion may be allowed subject to availability. Connecting flights are available on request. To apply, e-mail email@example.com
Tahiti Tourisme North America will be hosting the Hybrid Tahiti Specialist Conference Sept. 13-15, in Los Angeles and virtually on its online platform. The inaugural Tahiti Specialist Conference (TSC) was held in person in September 2019. This year’s new hybrid format provides options for both in-person or virtual attendance. Anticipated topics include post-pandemic marketing and selling, targeting to Millennial and Gen Z clients, small business SEO, and more. Info and registration through the specialist program.
Meandering mostly through green parks, meadows, and pastures with more than 100 castles and palaces along the way, Germany’s 100 Castles and Palaces bike route is arguably the country’s most impressive. Four interconnecting loops, which are predominantly flat and each cover between 210 and 310 kilometres, wind their way through the Münsterland region.
A highly anticipated new park destination, Presidio Tunnel Tops, opened in July 17 in San Francisco. The culmination of a 20-year transformation of the Presidio’s waterfront adds 5.7 hectares to the Golden Gate National Recreation Area. It is built on top of highway tunnels connecting San Francisco and offers scenic overlooks with stunning views of the Golden Gate Bridge, the bay and city; paths and gardens; a welcome plaza with food and visitor services; a campfire circle and picnic grounds; and the “Outpost” nature playscape and Field Station.
LAST WEEK IN TRAVEL HISTORY
In 1943, Trans-Canada Air Lines, the forerunner of Air Canada, inaugurated transatlantic service.
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First published at Travel Industry Today