ROUND-UP: June 27- July 4, 2022
In the news last week: Air Canada announced capacity cuts; travel health measures are extended until September; Sandals officially celebrated the opening of its new Royal Curaçao resort, Crystal Cruises will be revived under new ownership; and Sunwing/Blue Diamond scores a Cuban first.
The federal government will extend current COVID-19 public health measures for travellers entering Canada, including the use of the ArriveCan app. The measures now go until at least the end of September. The Public Health Agency of Canada also says it will continue the pause of mandatory random testing for fully vaccinated travellers at all airports until mid-July.
A&K Travel Group Ltd confirmed it has acquired luxury cruise vessels Crystal Serenity and Crystal Symphony in the Bahamas. The two ships will resume service in 2023 after undergoing extensive refurbishment. The ships will operate under the Crystal Cruises brand again, which was also acquired by A&K Travel Group Ltd.
Advocates and providers say Canada should be prepared for a potential rise in medical tourism as abortion becomes banned in some US states after the US Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, the 1973 decision that had provided a constitutional right to abortion.
The union representing customs officers says the Canada Border Services Agency is not moving fast enough to fill vacancies that have contributed to slowed airport traffic and ramped up passenger frustration over the past few months. The Customs and Immigration Union says the CBSA “has no plan to get travel back on track anytime soon,” with a major labour crunch contributing to customs bottlenecks and tarmac delays since April.
Countries in the European Union have approved extending the use of COVID-19 certificates by one year until the end of June 2023 as cases of the deadly virus start to grow again ahead of the summer holiday season.
China has announced an easing of its quarantine requirement for people arriving from abroad but stopped short of lifting what remains a stringent COVID-19 policy compared to most other countries. As COVID cases decline, visitors to China will now be required to stay in a quarantine hotel for seven days, followed by three days of home quarantine – down from 14 and seven days respectively.
Air Canada says it is cutting more than 15% of its scheduled flights in July and August – a move will see 154 flights per day on average dropped from the airline’s schedule, which is already operating at 80% of pre-pandemic levels. The flights link mainly to its Toronto and Montreal hubs and are all on domestic or Canada-US routes. The slimmed-down schedule is marked mainly by frequency reductions that affect evening and late-night flights on smaller planes. International flights remain unaffected except for some timing changes to reduce flying at peak times and even out passenger flow. WestJet says it had already made “proactive” cuts to its schedule in the spring.
Canada Jetlines has received Travel Industry Council of Ontario (TICO) approval to the carrier’s subsidiary Canada Jetlines Vacations Ltd. as a travel retailer and travel wholesaler under the Travel Industry Act, 2022.
Lufthansa says it plans to put some of its Airbus A380 superjumbo jets back into service next year after mothballing the aircraft at the height of the coronavirus pandemic. The airline says it is currently assessing how many A380s will be reactivated and where they will fly.
Hope Air, a national charity supporting families and children in need who must travel for vital medical care, and Porter Airlines have announced a new partnership that will see the latter provide free travel vouchers for Hope Air patients travelling from communities such as Sault Ste. Marie, Timmins, and Thunder Bay, Ont., among others, to Billy Bishop airport to reach Toronto hospitals.
The ‘Rock Your Summer Seat Sale’ from Air Transat is valid on new individual bookings of domestic flights made through July 7 with one-way seats starting at $79 from Toronto, with corresponding deals out of Montreal, Quebec, Calgary, and Vancouver. Travel must take place before Oct. 31.
Greek Island and eastern Med cruise line Celestyal Cruises is offering up to 44% off cruises select 2022 departures. The “Biggest Ever Sale” is available on bookings made through July 11, 2022 with prices starting from UJS$353 on the three-night “Iconic Aegean” itinerary (normally priced at $610, reflecting a savings of 42%).
Quark Expeditions has introduced new hiking and trekking options for guests travelling on its new vessel, Ultramarine. Modern-day explorers will have the opportunity to walk alongside polar experts for an innovative and immersive experience. “Setting foot where few humans have ever walked is part of the magic of exploring the Arctic and Antarctic,” says Alex McNeil, Director of Expedition Experience and Innovation for QE, which has been offering hiking opportunities in the polar regions since 1991
With the official opening celebrations of its newest resort on Curaçao last weekend, Sandals took the opportunity to also unveil its new “Sandals Anniversary Collection” uniforms, curated by renowned US fashion designer Stan Herman, who has been commissioned by Sandals Resorts to reimagine Team Member attire across the brand portfolio (photo: wedding and events managers). Dubbed “haute fashion meets hospitality,” the uniforms have been designed to “authentically capture a sense of place while prioritizing comfort and ease of care (for staff)”.
In a first for Cuba, Sunwing’s hotel management company Blue Diamond Resorts will “take over” the resort island of Cayo Largo completely, managing 11 properties there with a total of 1,348 rooms. Blue Diamond is the second largest hotel chain (after Melia) in the country. The deal also includes an exclusive import license that will allow the hotels to control quality of goods coming into the resorts. Importantly, Cayo Largo has its own airport for ease of access from Canada.
Hilton Hawaiian Village Waikiki Beach Resort on Oahu has restarted a more than 30-year Waikiki tradition with the relaunch of its weekly Friday Night Fireworks.
Celebrating the importance of family and following Shangri-La’s recent announcement of their debut partnership with Make-A-Wish International on World Family Day, select hotels across the Middle East, Europe, India, the Indian Ocean, and Canada, are launching dedicated summer experiences to support the foundation. Specially created restaurant experiences and ‘Make-A-Wish Come True’ stays will run until mid-October. With each booking, Shangri-La will donate a percentage of the proceeds to help Make-A-Wish International grant wishes around the world for every eligible child with critical illnesses.
American Queen Voyages has unveiled a new website (www.aqvoyages.com) for consumers and travel advisors that brings together all of the cruise line’s Rivers, Lakes & Oceans and Expedition products under one digital umbrella for the first time. On the new website, travellers can filter their searches to home in on desired dates, ships, types, and destinations under the Voyage feature, book, online, see detailed descriptions destinations and more.
Luxury river cruise line AmaWaterways has announced its return to the Mekong River for seven departures starting on Oct. 17. Reservations are now open for sailings through Vietnam and Cambodia aboard the 124-passenger AmaDara with a limited-time 2-for-1 Land Package offer on select pre- and past-cruise programs.
ATTRACTIONS & THEME PARKS
A legendary F-104 Starfighter flyby kicked off the recent grand opening of Gateway: The Deep Space Launch Complex at Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex in Florida. The 4.645-sq.-m. attraction, which examines the present and future of collaborative space exploration through immersive education and atmospheric effects. Through a motion theatre experience, guests are able to see, hear and feel what it’s like to travel in space. Gateways also showcases NASA and commercial spacecraft hardware as well as the spaceport of the future, Spaceport KSC.
FAMS & INCENTIVES
Expedia Group has announced new initiatives and incentives designed to help travel advisors – including special promotions to drive more bookings, and increased advisor compensations on Premium Plus properties. The “Summer Sale” enables TAAP advisors in the Canada to offer travellers 15% or more in savings on thousands of hotels worldwide for bookings made between July 6 and Aug. 7. On top of that advisors will receive an additional compensation boost for bookings on Premium Plus properties, a selection of properties where advisors can already earn enhanced compensation. The offer is valid on bookings made through Expedia TAAP through July 4.
Through July 15, ESPACIO, a nine-floor, nine-suite luxury oceanfront enclave in heart of Waikiki, offers a special booking bonus for travel advisors and meeting planners. Those who reserve with ESPACIO for travel dates through Oct. 15, will receive $1,000 on their first booking and $500 for each additional booking. A minimum three-night stay is required.
The U.S. Travel Association has announced that Geoff Freeman will replace Roger Dow as President and CEO. Freeman re-joins the USTA after nearly a decade of association leadership – first as president and CEO of the American Gaming Association and as the current president and CEO of the Consumer Brands Association. He will join US Travel on Sept. 1.
Canadian Heritage’s sound and light show “Northern Lights” will return to Parliament Hill in Ottawa for its eighth season from July 7 to Sept. 5. Those in attendance will be able to enjoy a free, one-of-a-kind multimedia experience.
This year, Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ont.’s Shaw Festival marks its 60th season with an ambitious program, putting on 13 plays across three stages, including “Cyrano de Bergerac” and “The Importance of Being Earnest.” Also in the plan is outdoor entertainment: “A Short History of Niagara” (an explainer in the form of a puppet show), plus “Fairground” and “Shawground” – guided rambles through the lush theatre grounds, combining elements like music and poetry along the way.
Send info to email@example.com
First published at Travel Industry Today