ROUND-UP: June 12-16, 2023
In last week’s news, Air Canada announced a return to Singapore after more than 30 years, also a new NDC deal with Sabre; Amex GBT reveals some interesting fare facts; there’s new rail booking platform in Canada; and Vancouver is set to get a swank new hotel.
United Nations cultural and scientific agency UNESCO, which notably administers the World Heritage program – a significant driver of tourism interest – announced Monday that the United States plans to rejoin, and pay more than US$600 million in back dues. The move follows a decade-long dispute sparked by the organization’s move to include Palestine as a member.
Greater Toronto Airports Authority (GTAA) has launched “Jobs at Pearson,” a job portal that centralizes all airport opportunity in one easily accessible place for job seekers. The initiative helps the airport compete for talent and educate potential workers about available employment opportunities. It is part of wider airport recruitment strategy, including job fairs. At full capacity, Pearson provides employment for over 300,000 workers.
BMO Financial Group has closed its acquisition of the Air Miles loyalty rewards program in Canada. The bank says it plans to expand the program with new ways to earn and redeem points including an improved travel booking platform and a new way for collectors to earn Bonus Miles through receipt scanning. Air Miles is one of the oldest and largest loyalty programs in Canada, with nearly 10 million active users.
BY THE NUMBERS
Overall, flying will be far more expensive this summer, according to corporate travel manager American Express Global Business Travel (Amex GBT), which analyzed tens of thousands of client transactions on flights to and from Canadian destinations. However, amid the soaring prices, flights to Western Canada are bucking the trend. A typical Toronto-to-Montreal flight in economy class cost 20% more this year as in 2019, says Amex GTB, while an economy flight from Toronto to London, is a resounding 27% more expensive. Routes experiencing decreases are Calgary to Toronto (-10%), Toronto to Vancouver (-9%) and Edmonton to Vancouver (-11%).
Cathay Pacific’s Vancouver lounge has re-opened. Located in the International Terminal between departure gates D70 and D71, the lounge originally opened in May 2016. The spaces measures 510 sq. m., with a seating capacity of 108 people offering a supremely comfortable exclusive environment of understated luxury in which passengers can relax before their flight out of Vancouver.
Air Canada will resume service to Singapore after more than three decades, effective April 3, 2024. Operating four times a week from Vancouver – Monday-Wednesday-Friday- Saturday – 787 Dreamliner flights will be the only non-stops from Canada to the southeast Asian city-state, and will offer a further gateway to Southeast Asia, Southern India and Western Australia with codeshare partner Singapore Airlines via Singapore’s Changi International.
Lynx launched its inaugural flights from Fredericton International airport (YFC) to Toronto Pearson International Airport (YYZ) and Calgary International Airport (YYC) on June 12.
Flair Airlines has leased two new Boeing 737 MAX aircraft. The leases were facilitated by SMBC Aviation Capital, the world’s second largest aircraft leasing company. These Canadian-registered aircraft will enter service and fly Flair’s summer 2023 schedule, which has grown 35% year-over-year.
Sabre and Air Canada announced the completion of a new multi-year distribution agreement that provides Sabre-connected agencies with long-term access to Air Canada’s full content via NDC channels. The two companies expect to activate Air Canada’s NDC content in the marketplace within the coming months. Once Air Canada’s NDC connection to Sabre is live, the Distribution Cost Recovery previously announced by Air Canada will be waived for Sabre-connected travel agencies using this path.
Through Aug. 31, Rocky Mountaineer’s latest family pricing discount offers US$700 per child (applicable for 17 years old and under sharing a room with a parent or guardian, max four per room) on any new SilverLeaf bookings for the Rockies to the Red Rocks route, a journey between Denver and Moab. Additionally, Rocky Mountaineer is extending its “Final Call” promotion through June 30, which offers CDN$1,000 off per couple ($500 p.p.) on all Canadian journeys and the same in USD on their US route in 2023.
This summer, guests at the Westin Fort Lauderdale Beach Resort in Florida can enjoy the ‘Heavenly Spa Package’ with a $150 credit and 20% off over 50 treatments from therapeutic massage to hair, skin, nail, and facials and more. A family food and beverage package also available.
International rail ticketing platform Rail Online has officially launched in North America with the promise of “fairer fares for American and Canadian passengers,” as well as carrier fare price matching, instant refunds on e-tickets, no foreign currency transaction fees, and customers able to book in Canadian dollars. Customers can currently book tickets with Amtrak (US), VIA Rail (Canada), National Rail (UK), and SCNF (France, including Eurostar), with further networks to follow, including Trenitalia (Italy), which will be introduced to the platform in the coming weeks. Providing 24-hour customer service thanks to offices in the UK and Australia, Rail Online tickets and an agent log-in can found at www.rail.online.
UK-based entrepreneur, activist, and producer Aisha Shaibu-Lenoir has been appointed Contiki’s LGBTQIA+ Ambassador for 2023 ahead of the tour company’s summer Pride trips. She will serve as Contiki’s voice of the LGBTQIA+ community, both internally and externally, with the aim of breaking down barriers and achieving visibility, equality and equity for all within the community. This summer, Contiki is hosting a Spain Pride trip with stops in Madrid, Sitges and Barcelona for the Pride Barcelona event as well as the Contiki Pride tour with a journey from London to Paris to Amsterdam for Pride Amsterdam.
An all-new “Spotlight on Northern Italy” tour will be launched by Collette in 2024 offering travellers a chance to spend a week in the region of Veneto. Collette’s Spotlight tours give travellers the opportunity to explore each destination to the fullest and get to know the area like a local. Must-see cultural highlights are always included, plus there’s plenty of time for them to explore independently, creating their own unique adventure. Tour participants will spend seven nights in Treviso and have the chance to take part in a cooking class, tour a winery, and embark on a full day tour of the Dolomites. Further itinerary details and prices are being determined and will be released soon.
A new addition to Vancouver‘s luxury hotel landscape is due in August with the opening of the AZUR Legacy Collection Hotel. Boasting Art Deco design aesthetic, the stylish 104-room boutique property located at 833 West Pender St. will span 13 floors with lavishly appointed guest rooms, penthouse suites, and elevated dining options designed to give visitors and locals alike a respite from the hustle and bustle of the downtown core. The hotel will be the only property in Western Canada to join the Leading Hotels of the World collection of more than 400 boutique, luxury properties in over 80 countries across the globe.
The Istanbul New Airport Hotel is the first Trademark Collection by Wyndham hotel in Turkey. With 68 rooms, the newly opened property is located in the fast-growing Arnavutkoy district, 12 km from Istanbul Airport and with easy access to the nearby Mall of Istanbul and the Vialand Theme Park.
Marriott International is developing its first-ever Marriott-branded all-inclusive property at the site of the former Marriott Cancun Resort, which closed its doors last March to undergo an extensive renovation for its conversion. Expected to debut in early 2024, Marriott’s long-time legacy property in Mexico’s Yucatan region will be known as the Marriott Cancun, An All-Inclusive Resort and promises a “sophisticated twist to the traditional all-inclusive concept” in tune with one of the world’s most exclusive resort destinations.
Dreams Sapphire Resort & Spa is in the process of an expansion project that will result in an additional building featuring new event space, dining experiences and other amenities. The expansion will also add new, private luxury villas to the family-friendly property, located between Cancun and Cozumel, Mexico. While some of the project has already begun, much of the enhancement is planned for this summer
Silversea will host a live webinar for travel advisors and their clients on Australia’s Kimberley Region, and its expeditions there, on June 21 at 2 p.m. ET. The area is known for its fascinating gorges, canyons, ridges, cliffs, and horizontal falls, as well as mysterious, centuries-old rock art and local Aboriginal culture. Register for the webinar HERE.
BranchUp has recently added AmaWaterways as a preferred supplier to its social media marketing program. BranchUp provides travel advisors with free social media marketing that both engages clients and generates leads for vacation options presented by their preferred suppliers participating in the program.
ATTRACTIONS & THEME PARKS
Las Vegas Tourism, represented in Toronto by Reach Global’s Charmaine Singh (l) and Kiesha Telesforo (front row, r), entertained some friends at a performance of Kooza, the latest Cirque du Soleil epic, in Toronto last week. Among those enjoying the VIP experience were ACV’s Elish Tait and Matthew Djorsey; Michelle Lanoue-Williams, WestJet Vacations; Elvi Cal, TravelBrands; and Audrey Tanguay Beaudette, Air Canada (front, l).
FAMS & INCENTIVES
Throughout June, Club Med is celebrating travel advisors with giveaways and a chance to win a stay at Club Med Michès Playa Esmeralda or Club Med Québec Charlevoix. For more, visit For more, visit: https://traveladvisors.clubmed.com/great-advisors-loyalty-program/
Citing “significant confusion” among travel advisors, ACTA is hosting two webinars – one with Air Canada and one with Amadeus – to help explain the impact of Air Canada’s New Distribution Technology (NDC). The first of the webinars will take place on June 29, with travel agencies and advisors invited join sessions conducted with Air Canada in English or French. A second NDC webinar is scheduled with Amadeus on June 28. For the AC session, register HERE and for Amadeus, HERE.
A summer webinar series from African Travel will illuminate agents on unique destinations from Botswana to South Africa, as well as trends in luxury safaris to the continent, including combo tours that allow clients to make the most of their experience in one journey. Remaining dates include June 29 – The Big 5 Safari Myths; July 20 – Top Southern African Journeys; Aug. 10 – Experience is the New Luxury; Aug. 31 – Exploring the Continent; and Sept. 21 – Mystery Topic. For more visit HERE.
Toronto-based destination marketing firm VoX International has been appointed to represent the St. Maarten Tourism Bureau in Canada. VoX will provide a range of public relations, trade, consumer, and MICE activities, including media and trade outreach, destination training, FAM trips and co-op marketing campaigns.
Contact account managers Cari Marotta (travel trade) and Debbie Wegiel (PR) at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The WestJet Group announced Michael (Mike) Scott as Executive Vice-President and Chief Financial Officer. The 30-year aviation industry veteran will start with the airline’s executive team on June 13.
Heralding a new entertainment district for the GTA, a much anticipated billion-dollar resort located near Toronto airport is set to open on Tuesday (June 20) with a modern Vegas-style casino, hotel, live entertainment venue, and multiple on-site dining options. The Great Canadian Casino Resort Toronto will officially open its doors at 5 p.m. on Tuesday (June 20) at a 13.4-hectare site located about 15 minutes from Toronto Pearson and adjacent to the well-known Woodbine Racetrack.
For four nights this summer, villages, castles, and parks in Germany’s Rhineland-Palatinate state will shine bright when fireworks illuminate them as about 75 elaborately decorated ships move in convoy along the river. The Rhine in Flames festival has five stops along the river and invites guests to enjoy music concerts and more as follows: July 1 – Bingen-Rüdesheim; Aug. 13 – Spay-Koblenz; Sept 9 – Oberwesel: Sept. 16 – St. Goar-St. Goarhausen.
LAST WEEK IN TRAVEL HISTORY
In 1919, British pilots John William Alcock and Arthur Whitten Brown took off from St. John’s, Nfld., for the first non-stop transatlantic flight. They landed in a peat bog at Galway, Ireland, after flying about 3,100 km in just over 16 hours. The flight won them a $10,000 prize offered by the London Daily Mail, and both were awarded knighthoods.
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First published at Travel Industry Today