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ROUND-UP: July 4-8, 2022

Despite the disappearing Internet, the world of travel continued to turn last week as their world dubious delay honours for Canadian airlines and airports, Sunwing sparred with its pilots, ACTA offered to help agents explain travel delays, one airline declared bankruptcy and another was sued, and NCL altered testing protocols, among other noteworthy items.

NEWS

Sunwing pilots filed a complaint with the Canada Industrial Relations Board last week, claiming that the airline bargained in bad faith as it already knew it would be acquired by WestJet. Sunwing refuted the assertion.

ACTA developed a bilingual letter template and social media content that travel agencies and independent travel agents can share with clients to help explain airport long wait times and travel delays, schedule changes, and cancellations. Agents are free to use and edit these materials, such as placing their own logo on the social media content. No attribution to ACTA is required. Download content HERE

Scandinavian Airlines (SAS) has filed for bankruptcy in the United States, warning a walkout by 1,000 pilots a day earlier had put the future of the carrier at risk. The move adds to the likelihood of travel chaos across Europe as the summer vacation period begins. Meanwhile, British Airways said it will cancel hundreds more summer flights in a bid to ease travel disruptions.

Several environmental groups have launched legal action against Dutch airline KLM over advertisements that promoted flying as a sustainable form of travel. The groups claim KLM violated European consumer law by misleading customers with ads and a carbon offset program that “give a false impression over the sustainability of its flights and plans to address its climate harm.”

Effective Aug. 1, Norwegian Cruise Line is dropping a requirement that passengers test negative for COVID-19 before sailing unless it is required by local rules – destinations that still include Canada, the US, Canada, Bermuda, and Greece.
Norwegian, which has its headquarters in Miami, operates the Norwegian, Oceania and Regent Seven Seas lines.

BORDERS

South African Tourism has welcomed the end of all COVID-19 restrictions after South Africa’s cabinet recently concluded that they had served their purpose.
AIR

Lynx Air says it welcomes small dogs and cats – in-cabin! For a one-way fee of $59, travellers will be able to bring their pets in addition to a personal item. Passengers are encouraged to book their cats and small dogs at the time of booking, as the number of pets permitted on flights is limited.

Starting in 2024, Oman Air will join oneworld, further strengthening the airline alliance’s position in the Middle East.

Avianca has become the first airline in South America to launch a comprehensive, concierge-style flight shopping tool. Dubbed “SmartAlerts,” the tool enables guests to input their desired routes and preferred travel dates and receive real time fare alerts without needing to check the site every day.

BY THE NUMBERS

Canadian airlines and airports claimed top spots in flight delays over the July long weekend, notching more than nearly any other around the world. Air Canada ranked No. 1 in delays on Saturday and Sunday as two-thirds of its flights – 717 trips in total – landed late, according to tracking service FlightAware. At 67 percent on Sunday, it was more than 14 percentage points above the three carriers tied for second place, two of which are Air Canada-affiliated. WestJet and budget subsidiary Swoop placed third and fourth at 55%.

Meanwhile, on the airport front, Toronto’s Pearson claimed the No. 2 after 53% of departures were held up, below only Guangzhou’s main airport in China. Pearson beat out Charles de Gaulle airport in Paris and Frankfurt Airport in Germany. Montreal’s airport placed sixth Sunday at 43% of takeoffs delayed, on par with London’s Heathrow, according to FlightAware figures.

DEALS

The “Christmas in July” sale by Collette encourages customers to “give the gift of travel” with special offers on a host of tours, including Christmas markets, river cruising, and more. Travel must take place Sept 1 to April 30, 2023. Use the offer code JOLLYJULY for bookings made by July 18.

Clients booking a Margaritaville at Sea cruise sailing through Sept. 30 can take advantage of the cruise line’s ‘Kids Sail Free’ offer. And parents bringing the kids will no doubt appreciate receiving five complimentary drinks onboard plus a $50 spa credit.

TOURS

TravelBrands reports it has completed an integration to go live with NextTrip, opening immediate access to search, discover, and book vacation rentals through NextTrip’s cloud-based booking engine, ConNextions. TravelBrands’ network of over 22,000 travel agents and their customers will now be able to book from ConNextions global inventory of vacation and alternative lodging rental (ALR) properties. NextTrip’s ConNextions supports instant confirmation of ALR reservations, allowing TravelBrands’ travel agents the power to simultaneously book complete travel packages, including air, car, and tours, rather than waiting hours or even days for confirmation as is typical in the vacation rental market.

Goway reports it has hit 10,000 members on its private Facebook group for travel agents. The site offers a convenient platform for travel professionals to ask questions, discuss travel topics, and get instant feedback from Goway’s team of destination specialists as well as the broader travel community. Goway’s sales team regularly posts daily tips, insights, and travel deals, and offers real-time updates about the company and the wider travel industry. Membership is restricted to industry professionals and vetted by Goway’s sales team. Members can also get exclusive updates on FAMs, webinars, and bonus incentives, making it a great way to stay in touch with Goway and fellow travel professionals. As a thank you to members, Australia bookings made during July and August can qualify for a bonus $25 on their GowayPro Rewards Card.

HOTELS

To inspire a worldwide culture of inclusion, Marriott International in the Caribbean and Latin America have created the Pride Bazaar, which aims to bridge cultures, inspire discovery, and connect people, places, and purpose across the region. Sheraton Puerto Rico Hotel & Casino is partnering with Bernardo Medina, a renowned LGBTQ+ artist in Puerto Rico, to create a Pride travel tote which will be sold at the hotel with proceeds being donated to True Self Foundation, a local non-profit organization that promotes the wellbeing of the LGBTQ+ community.

A recent study by Mars Petcare and Hilton reports that over half of Canadian pet owners say that health benefits are key reasons to travel with pets: 55% find mental health benefits such as stress relief, and 53% say travelling with their pets boosts their physical activity. Meanwhile, 21% of Canadian pet owners would be more likely to take a vacation if they can bring their pet. Hilton’s lists seven pet-friendly brands in its portfolio: Canopy, Embassy Suites, Garden Inn, Hampton, Tru, Homewood Suites, and Home2 Suites.

RESORTS

Catering to increased demand for both all-inclusive family travel and wellness experiences, Club Med reports that it is deploying its new Mini Club Med + children’s programming across its resort portfolio in North America, Asia, and Europe. While the kids are busy, parents can take advantage of unique and immersive wellness experiences under Club Med’s new Wellness Fusion concept.

Now open, Royal Uno All Inclusive Resort & Spa is the latest resort from Royal Resorts. The 540 rooms and suites resort is designed to provide an “Authentic Cancun” experience with a blend of classic hospitality, contemporary chic, signature dining, and activities for all ages. The elevated all-inclusive resort features an extensive array of amenities including two oversized pools, a children’s pool with a water play area, Alea Spa, watersports, swim-up bar and beach bar, Uno Kids Club and a Family Room for video games and movies, and more. The resort also features nine restaurants and bars serving international, Mexican, Italian, and Asian cuisine, a café, and a Grab & Go counter

CRUISE
For its 150th anniversary, April 18, 2023, Holland America Line, is adding a second commemorative transatlantic crossing aboard the Rotterdam (photo) to the schedule of celebratory events. Departing from Fort Lauderdale, Fla., on April 3, 2023, the 16-night itinerary will sail to Rotterdam, retracing in reverse the company’s first voyage in the 1870s. The journey includes eight days at sea and calls in New York, and Plymouth and Dover (London), UK, before arriving April 18 — anniversary day – in the Netherlands for an overnight full of festivities. To accommodate the new departure, three voyages were cancelled, and all guests and their travel advisors were notified. Bookings open July 14. The first 150th anniversary crossing departs Rotterdam Oct. 15, exactly 150 years to the date of the departure of Rotterdam I’s maiden voyage.

A print version of AmaWaterways new 2023 Europe brochure is now available, highlighted by the debut of what the company says is the longest ever river experience, its “Seven River Journey,” which takes guess through 14 countries over the course of 45 or 46 nights. Copies can be ordered HERE.

FAMS & INCENTIVES

The new Travel Agent Specialist Program by SATA Azores Airlines gives counsellors the opportunity to learn about the Portuguese carrier and the destinations it serves, as well as win great prizes. The program is divided into four lessons: SATA Azores Airlines, The Azores, Madeira, and Other Destinations, each divided into short categories that are quick and easy to complete. An introductory promotion through July 31 enters agents for a monthly draw for a $25 gift card, as well as into the grand prize draw for a ticket to the Azores from Toronto, for each unit complete. Go to sataspecialist.com.

EVENTS

A series of weekly product and supplier training is underway at Trevello (TPI). For eight weeks, advisors will have many opportunities to refresh their knowledge in prep for a busy fall season ahead, with input from partners such as Intrepid, Celebrity, Transat, G Adventures, to name a few. Summer school sessions happen weekly on Thursdays at 3 pm EDT. For more info, email pr@trevello.com.

PEOPLE/APPOINTMENTS

After two years at the helm of ACITA (Association of Canadian Independent Travel Advisors), Judith Coates has announced that she will be stepping down. “On June 28, we celebrated our two-year anniversary, and reflected on all that has been accomplished,” said Coates. “We have a lot to be proud of and have come really far as a grass-roots organization.”

Company veteran Christian Leibl-Cote has been promoted to Executive VP, Global Business at Collette, the Rhode Island-based tour operator which has a Canadian office in Mississauga. He joins Collette’s executive team responsible for strategic global partnerships and new business development.

VoX International has announced several staff moves, including the retirement of Gerlinde Perera, VP Client Services who has been with VoX for 20 years; she will continue to pitch in on some projects including assisting with key client events. Related moves include the promotions of Erin Oddleifson to Director Marketing and Client Services, taking over many of Perera’s responsibilities, and Lana Lubon to Events Manager.

DESTINATIONS
The 10th anniversary of Miami’s popular South Beach Seafood Festival will be served up Oct. 19-22 with special programming, including a $10,000 chef prize, and popular live musical guests. The four-day festival, which also marks the start of stone crab season (photo), is a curated culinary showcase that couples South Florida’s bounty of seafood with the region’s most notable chefs and restaurants. Tickets are now available sobefoodfest.com.

The US National Park Service has nearly completed a $25-million renovation of the 100-year-old Lincoln Memorial in Washington DC, adding new services and design to enhance the visitor experience. The renovation includes the rehabilitation of the undercroft portion of the Memorial where visitors will now be able to view the foundations that anchor the memorial bedrock and see graffiti of the construction workers who built it in the early 20th century. The improved existing visitor services on the mezzanine level has improved accessibility, expanded visitor interpretation spaces and exhibits.

LAST WEEK IN HISTORY

In 1943, Trans-Canada Air Lines inaugurated transatlantic service. The airline was founded in 1937 and renamed Air Canada in 1965.

Send info to baginski@travelindustrytoday.com

First published at Travel Industry Today

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