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ROUND-UP: June 06-10, 2022

There was big border news for both Canada and the US last week; now there’s monkeypox, for which the Canadian government issued traveller advice; also, in the round-up, hopeful travel recovery numbers, the wrap on IPW in Orlando, and Transat has returned to Greece.

NEWS

The Public Health Agency of Canada is warning travellers to be extra careful abroad because of the potential threat of catching monkeypox. A level two travel health notice was issued warning people travelling outside the country to take extra precautions, adding that travellers could find themselves subjected to isolation or other measures to limit the spread of the virus. The notice applies to several countries, including the UK, Spain, and Germany.

Nearly 4,800 attendees from more than 60 countries – including Canada – attended the 53rd annual IPW in Orlando last week (June 4-8). The event is the US Travel Association’s signature international travel marketplace and the largest generator of travel to the United States. This year’s gathering was also the first truly post-pandemic version of the show since 2019 (though Las Vegas hosted a delayed version last September).

During IPW, US Travel Association released an updated international travel forecast, which projects 65 million international arrivals to the US in 2023 (82% of pre-pandemic levels). The forecast projects that international arrivals and spending will fully recover to 2019 levels by 2025. The USTA said this year’s strong attendance at IPW signals a desire to resume robust inbound travel to the United States.

BORDERS

Canada temporarily suspended random testing at its airports until the end of the month to help calm customs chaos, and the US dropped the requirement for vaccinated visitors to take an antigen test pre-departure. (Read both stories in today’s publication).

The German government dropped its “3G” rule, which stated that tourists had to either show proof of vaccination, recovery from Covid-19 or provide a negative test when entering Germany. The measure will be reviewed at the end of the summer.

The online entry portal for permission to travel into Anguilla has been discontinued. All persons over the age of five years travelling to the island still require a valid, negative PCR or NAA test administered within three days of arrival, or a Rapid Antigen test, which must be taken no more than two days before arrival. This information must be presented before boarding and on arrival in Anguilla, along with evidence of full vaccination status.

BY THE NUMBERS

Stronger-than-expected results – three times as many global arrivals in the first quarter of 2022 over 2021 – plus a significant increase in flight reservations, have prompted the UNWTO to now suggest that tourism’s international tourist recovery will reach 55% to 70% of 2019 levels this year.

AIR

Turkish Airlines is strengthening its onboard internet service. Previously activated only when the aircraft was above 10,000 feet, the service will now be ‘Gate to Gate’ internet service. The upgrade has started on some aircraft and is being rolled out across the fleet.

The principal shareholders of Colombia’s Avianca and the controlling shareholder of Brazil’s GOL have signed a landmark agreement to create a leading air transportation group across Latin America under a holding company structure named Abra Group Limited. Subject to customary regulatory approvals and closing conditions, the Abra Group will control Avianca and GOL and bring together their iconic brands under a single holding.

RE-OPENING/RE-START

Air Transat is back in Greece after a long period of forced suspension due to the COVID-19. Three times weekly route to Athens will continue through the end of October from Montreal and Toronto at the height of the season. The carrier also resumed service to Lamezia from Toronto for the first time in over three years

DELAYED/CANCELLED

Citing “global challenges,” Virgin Voyages reports that it is deferring the upcoming launch of its third Lady Ship to Q2 2023. Initially scheduled to set sail from Athens mid-August of this year, Resilient Lady will remain in Genoa getting on-board work completed, hitting the high seas next spring. The cruise line is currently operating two ships, its first, Scarlet Lady in the Caribbean and second, Valiant Lady in the Med.

DEALS

Agents can help their clients kick off the summer solstice when they book an all-inclusive vacation package down south during Sunwing’s “Dive Into Summer” sale. Customers can save up to $1,200 per couple when they book at popular hotel chains Princess Hotels & Resorts, RIU Hotels & Resorts, Royalton Luxury Resorts and more when booking by June 26, for travel by Aug. 27, 2022.

TOURS

Emirates Vacations, the tour operating arm of Emirates Airline, has officially rolled out its offerings to the Canadian market, marking a step in the expansion of Emirates’ service offering to Canadian travellers by offering travel packages to Dubai and beyond. Flights, hotel stays, and local experiences can all be planned by agents with destination expertise, and who are available on a 24/7 basis for support. With a deposit of CDN$99, travellers can choose between a variety of destinations, accommodations, and experiences, including beach or city vacations, trips for the family and honeymoon getaways. Value-added benefits may include guaranteed savings and complimentary upgrades. Visit emiratesvacations.com/ca.

G Adventures has released its trip departure list for July, and the number of trips available to book increases to 1,300 trips in more than 50 countries. This represents the highest number of trips operating since the onset of the pandemic and heralds a welcome return to tourism for local communities in the countries visited. In July, Laos also returns, which means the reopening of G’s’ popular ‘Indochina loop’ experiences in Asia, taking travellers to Cambodia, Thailand, Laos and Vietnam in one trip. Clients booking with G Adventures by July 5 can save 20% for travel before July 31.

HOTELS

AC Hotel Clearwater Beach

The new AC Hotel Clearwater Beach a 144-room, lifestyle-branded property located between the shores of Clearwater Beach, Fla., to the east and the Intracoastal Waterway to the west, is scheduled to open this summer. Guest rooms will feature water views and a rooftop gathering space will offer nightly artisan libations and fare. A chic European-inspired brand, AC by Marriott properties are designed with modern travellers seeking an experience-driven atmosphere in mind.

The highly anticipated Aman New York will welcome its first guests on Aug. 2. The culmination of a monumental transformation of the iconic Crown Building in Manhattan, the 83-suite hotel, located on the corner of 57th Street and Fifth Avenue is the second in a new, pioneering generation of Aman properties in urban settings, following in the footsteps of Aman Tokyo and taking the brand to 34 properties worldwide.

RESORTS

Marriott International, Inc. has announced the signing of Royalton Splash Riviera Cancun to join its growing all-inclusive portfolio. Expected to open in late 2022, Royalton Splash Riviera Cancun is owned and managed by Blue Diamond Resorts and will join the All-Inclusive by Marriott Bonvoy portfolio, which includes close to 30 immersive getaways in eight locations across the Caribbean and Latin America. Owned by Sunwing Travel Group, Blue Diamond Resorts’ other 20 properties are also part of the collection.

Construction has started on Jamaica’s seventh RIU property, Hotel Riu Palace Aquarelle, in Falmouth, Trelawny. The 700-plus room resort will have 24-hour all-inclusive service and feature its own exclusive waterpark. The brand’s first hotel in Trelawny is set in historic Coopers Pen – an area full of culture, nature, and stunning beaches. It’s also home to Glistening Waters, considered to be one of the most luminous lagoons in the world for witnessing bioluminescence, and is just five minutes away from the Martha Brae River rafting descent in the rainforest. Falmouth is now the fastest growing tourism area in Jamaica, and the resort will be a short 35-minute drive from Montego Bay’s Sangster International Airport.

CRUISE

MSC Cruises reports that its entire fleet of 19 ships is back at sea following MSC Musica’s return to water last week. MSC Musica set sail for the first of her planned 23 seven-night summer 2022 voyages to Katakolon in Greece, the Greek islands of Crete and Santorini, as well as Bari (Italy), before she returning to her seasonal homeport.

Viking Cruises has kicked off its Great Lakes season with the launch of the new purpose-built Viking Octantis. Designed specifically for the region, the ship recently completed a roundtrip through the Welland Canal – a key section of the St. Lawrence Seaway connecting Lake Ontario and Lake Erie – making it the largest passenger vessel ever to transit the canal. The ship will remain in the Great Lakes until early October, sailing a variety of itineraries between Toronto and Duluth. A second expedition vessel, the Viking Polaris, will debut later this year and will join the Viking Octantis in the Great Lakes for the 2023 season.

ATTRACTIONS & THEME PARKS

Now open for the season, Whirlpool Jet Boat Tours in Niagara Falls, Ont. offers guests an action-packed ride through Niagara River’s whitewater rapids. Passengers can choose between two experiences – wet or dry. Guests in open-topped jet boats are guaranteed to return to the dock soaking wet, doused with water while their boat pilot powers them through the rapids at high speed and expertly spins them through the chop in a complete 360-degree turn.

Those who’d prefer to stay dry can go for a spin on Whirlpool’s Freedom Boat, which features a selection of seats protected from the elements by a glass dome, as well as a number of seats on the front deck where riders are sure to get splashed.

FAMS & INCENTIVES

Encore Cruises

TravelBrands Encore Cruises, along with Norwegian Cruise Line, hosted 70 travel agents (photo) for Seminar at Sea May 22-29 aboard the Norwegian Joy. Departing from New York, the cruise also called in Norfolk, Va., and Bermuda. “We are so happy to be back with our annual Seminar at Sea this year,“ said Nathalie Tanious, COO, TravelBrands. “Travel agents, as much as our staff members, loved the opportunity to connect, learn and enjoy their time at sea.” Next year’s SeaU will be held on the Celebrity Beyond from March 26, 2023, for seven nights with more details to come.

EVENTS

ACTA will host an advocacy town hall meeting (English) on June 20, 1 to 2 p.m. EST, with guest presenter and senior accountant Mike Libbey, who will discuss ways that independent travel agents can organize their business to manage risk from future emergency events. The session will highlight important “lessons learned” during the pandemic and explore specific steps independent travel agents can take, should there be renewed border measures. Cost is free for ACTA members and $25 for non-members (which can towards a new 2022 ACTA membership. Register HERE.

The conclusion of IPW last week, US Travel announced that its 54th annual IPW travel trade show and marketplace will take place May 20-24, 2023, in San Antonio, the first time the Texas city will serve as IPW host.

PEOPLE/APPOINTMENTS

Transat A.T. Inc. has announced the appointment of Julie Sareault to the position of Commercial Director – Québec, succeeding Karine Gagnon who was recently promoted to General Manager of Transat Distribution Canada (TDC). The move takes effect July 4. Sareault is currently Manager, National Sales for Air Transat.

Vision Travel has announced the addition of three new management positions in Western Canada: Vancouver-based Zabeen Kara, regional manager for British Columbia, was most recently Vision’s manager of leisure supplier relations and national sales support. She can be reached at zabeen.kara@visiontravel.ca.
Regional manager for Alberta is Calgary-based Katie Kewley, katie.kewley@visiontravel.ca. And, responsible for Saskatchewan and Manitoba, Angie Bree will be based in Winnipeg, angie.bree@visiontravel.ca.

DESTINATIONS

On Oct. 14, the Jordan Trail will introduce new Thru-Hikes. These guided hiking experiences will 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 more than 70 villages.

Divers and snorkellers can promote reef protection and explore the continental United States’ only living coral barrier reef during a one-of-a-kind underwater concert scheduled in the Florida Keys, July 9. The 38th annual Lower Keys Underwater Music Festival takes place at Looe Key Reef, an area of the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary approximately 10 km south of Big Pine Key.

Music broadcast by a local radio station is piped underwater via speakers suspended beneath boats above Looe Key Reef, and several hundred underwater enthusiasts typically submerge to enjoy the ethereal undersea melodies. The “only in the Keys” listening experience is paired with diver awareness announcements that emphasize ways to enjoy the reef while minimizing environmental impacts.

Send info to baginski@travelindustrytoday.com

 

First published at Travel Industry Today

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