All travel news.

ROUND-UP: June 21-25, 2021

More and more borders (including Canada’s) edge open, Sunwing is set to offer refunds, and MSC Cruises revealed the name of its newest ship. These items and more in last week’s round-up…

NEWS

Effective July 5, fully vaccinated eligible Canadians returning to Canada will be able to avoid a mandatory quarantine as long as they still test negative for COVID-19 before and after arrival. Falsifying vaccination documents can result in a $750,000 fine, up to six months in jail, or both. Children who aren’t fully vaccinated, arriving by air with fully vaccinated parents, won’t have to go to quarantine hotels but will have to quarantine at home for two weeks.

Following the government’s news (above), Sunwing reports it will resume partial service to select sun destinations from Toronto and Montréal starting on July 30, 2021. The initial flight schedule from both gateways will include Cancun (July 30), Punta Cana (July 31), and Varadero (Aug. 2), with additional Montego Bay flights from YYZ starting Aug. 22.

MSC Cruises’ has revealed the name of its newest ship, being built in Italy and due in November, 20220: MSC Seascape.

RE-OPENING/RE-START

Switzerland has begun to return to normality after the global pandemic, including welcoming international guests and the full opening of tourist infrastructures (restaurants, events, leisure facilities). Effective June 26, vaccinated travellers from Canada are eligible to visit without quarantine or PCR tests

Uniworld Boutique River Cruises has officially returned to the rivers of Europe, as its newly transformed Super Ship S.S. La Venezia departed on its inaugural sailing on June 20. The luxury river cruise company is the first North American river cruise line to resume operations in Europe since the pandemic began, departing from Venice. Uniworld president and CEO Ellen Bettridge joined the journey to mark the long-awaited occassion.

After an eight-month closure, the Eiffel Tower in Paris will reopen to the public on July 16, with an improved customer experience. Travel agents can book admission in advance, as well as tables at the Jules Verne restaurant and Thierry Marx’s new brasserie. Many other services are now available to visitors and may be booked ahead by advisors.

DELAYED/ CANCELLED

Bahamas Paradise Cruise Line announced it has delayed its June 28 closed group CDC test cruise and its previously planned July 2 cruise restart as one of its vaccinated crew members has tested positive for COVID-19.

The full reopening of Israel to vaccinated tourists on July 1 has been delayed due to concerns about the spread of the infectious delta variant of the coronavirus. It is anticipated that new re-opening date will be Aug. 1.

BY THE NUMBERS

Total demand for air travel in April 2021 (measured in revenue passenger kilometers or RPKs) was down 65.4% compared to April 2019, according to IATA. That was an improvement over the 66.9% decline recorded in March 2021 versus March 2019. The better performance was driven by gains in most domestic markets. International passenger demand in April was 87.3% below April 2019, little changed from the 87.8% decline recorded in March 2021 versus two years ago.

AIR

WestJet has started flights to London, Gatwick (LGW) from Calgary International Airport (YYC) and Toronto Pearson Airport (YYZ). Service from Calgary operates two-times weekly, while flights from Toronto depart three-times weekly.

An expanded schedule from Swoop this winter will include increased non-stop domestic service and the re-introduction of flights to the US, Mexico, and Caribbean. Citing daily bookings on par with pre-pandemic levels, the airline also announced it will proceed with planned fleet growth by adding a 10th Boeing 737-800 NG aircraft this winter. Nine planes will fly domestically during the summer, with winter flights across Canada, as well as Montego Bay; Las Vegas, Mesa/Phoenix, St. Pete/Clearwater, Orlando and San Diego; and Cancun, Puerto Vallarta and Mazatlán.

DEALS

An extensive list of value offers for visitors to Fort Lauderdale are now available courtesy of the south Florida’ city’s annual “LauderDeals” program. Available through Sept. 30, deals include discounted room rates, offers for third or fourth nights free, resort and dining credits, free or discounted parking, complimentary upgrades and more. “Things To Do Deals” also give 2-for-1 admission or discounted rates at attractions and in August, Dine Out Lauderdale offers will be added. More details at https://www.sunny.org/lauderdeals

TOURS

Starting in 2022, Adventures by Disney is more than doubling its recently introduced Private Adventures vacation portfolio with tours in Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia; England and France; New Zealand; Australia; South Africa; and Ireland.

Tauck will resume its safaris in eastern and southern Africa with the Aug. 2 departure of “Mountain Gorilla Safari: Kenya, Tanzania & Rwanda” and the Aug. 4 departure of “Kenya & Tanzania: A Classic Safari” and “South Africa: An Elegant Adventure.” All of the company’s safaris are small-group journeys, with as few as 18 guests per departure to ensure an up-close immersion into the local culture, flora and fauna.

HOTELS

Following a completed investment of more than US$200 million, Harrah’s Las Vegas now features 2,542 redesigned guest rooms, a complete casino floor remodel and two new LED marquees at the north and south entrances.

A new accommodation option in the Swiss Alps is the Kempinski Palace Engelberg. Located in central Switzerland, the five-star-superior hotel is a re-imagined Belle Epoque-era property featuring 129 rooms and suites, elegant restaurant and bar, spa, and cigar lounge. The area is ideal for both summer and winter escapes.

RESORTS

Calling all Phishheads: Phish will return to Mexico for its fifth “Phish: Riviera Maya,” the band’s destination concert vacation, taking place Feb. 24-27, 2022. The all-inclusive event, to be held at Moon Palace Cancun, will feature concerts for four nights in a state-of-the-art concert venue on the beach. Packages, including show tickets are on sale at www.phishrivieramaya.com

CRUISE
May 20, 2023 will mark the departure of Uniworld Boutique River Cruises’ inaugural “Rivers of the World” cruise. The 46-night trip will treat travellers to nine countries aboard five luxury ships combining both cruise and land. The unique itinerary is the first of its kind for the brand, including exclusive experiences and special surprises throughout the journey. The journey begins on the Nile in Egypt, followed by cruises departing Italy, Hungary, France, and Portugal, all enhanced by stays in such towns at Lugano, Milan, and Lisbon.

Carnival Cruise Line will grow its fleet by two additional ships by 2023, taking delivery of an Excel-class ship that had previously been assigned to sister line AIDA Cruises that will arrive in late 2023, as well as taking ownership of Costa Magica from another of its European sister lines, with that ship going through a dry dock, renaming, and brand conversion and joining the fleet by mid-2022.

ATTRACTIONS & THEME PARKS

SeaWorld Orlando’s first separate-ticketed, nighttime Halloween event, Howl-O-Scream, will premiere this fall, joining the daytime Halloween Spooktacular. Halloween celebrations, including haunted houses, scare zones, and “terrifying shows” will take place at the Florida theme park for 27 select nights from Sept. 10 to Oct. 31, from 7 p.m. to as late as 2 a.m.

FAMS & INCENTIVES

Visit Orlando has launched a new interactive website for travel advisors, providing on-demand video training about the destination and the opportunity to win prizes. ‘Love and Learn Orlando’ (loveandlearnorlando.com) provides travel advisors with easy access to a library of on-demand videos segmented into three channels – Accommodations, Attractions and Outdoor Adventure – providing an in-depth look into some of Orlando’s most popular experiences, along with selling tips. Travel agents who view all channels and submit their answers before July 29 have three chances of winning a hotel stay and attraction passes.

EVENTS

June 29: The Annual General Meeting of the members of the Travel Industry Council of Ontario (TICO) will be held tomorrow at 5 p.m. Anyone can attend the event virtually via a link that will be posted on TICO’s web site.

PEOPLE

At its online AGM on June 23, ACTA members voted on nine positions available to the Board of Directors. The newly elected board also appointed three positions. The 12-person board for 2021/22 consists of Mary Jane Hiebert CTC – Chair and Manitoba/Nunavut; Liz Fleming – Vice Chair and BC/Yukon; Louise Gardiner CTM, Treasurer, Director at Large; Peter Keyter, Alberta/NWT; Karen Schabel CTM, Saskatchewan; Mike Foster CTC, Ontario; Stéphane Corbeil, Québec; Glenda Hunter CTM, Atlantic; Richard Vanderlubbe, Director at Large; and Appointed – Patrick Doyle, Monica Johnstone CTC, and Brian Robertson.

DESTINATIONS

Darwin’s Arch. Before and after

A little off the top: The famed Darwin’s Arch in the Galapagos Islands has lost its top, and officials are blaming natural erosion of the stone. The rock structure – 43 m. high, 70 m. long and 23 m. wide – is less than 1 km from Darwin Island, and some 1,000 km off the coast of mainland Ecuador and it’s a popular spot for scuba divers. It’s not accessible by land.

Visit Tampa Bay has debuted its “Bay Crafted Pass,” a new mobile passport program that incentivizes beer and cocktail-lovers while generating economic impact for local breweries and distilleries in Tampa Bay. Visitors and locals can sign up for the free passport program, which includes 21 local breweries and distilleries showcasing the best of Tampa Bay in an easy, mobile-friendly way. Visitors can unlock prizes by checking in at participating partner locations throughout Hillsborough County.

Send info to baginski@travelindustrytoday.com

First published at Travel Industry Today

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