ROUND-UP: March 26-April 04, 2022
Among last week’s headlines: COVID protocols continue to fall, notably for Canadians and cruisers; First Nations dancers made an impression at the Vatican; travel organizations are stepping up to help Ukrainian refugees; and Air Canada has a new interline partner.
Effective April 1, Canada dropped the requirement for fully vaccinated travellers to present a negative COVID-19 test before entering the country. The new measure does not apply to unvaccinated travellers, and arrivals are subject to random testing at airports.
On March 31 the Indigenous Tourism Association of Canada (ITAC) supported the Assembly of First Nations (AFN) in Rome by closing their week-long historic meeting with Pope Francis with a powerful dance performance, and a strong message regarding the role of tourism and reconciliation. The performance was created to showcase the strength, resilience, and pride of Indigenous Peoples to the world. It also provided a glimpse into the culture and tourism experiences that supporters can take part in to learn about the impact of residential schools in order to better support decolonization efforts.
Holland America Line reports that its Volendam vessel will be used to accommodate Ukrainian refugees as part of an agreement announced by Netherlands and City of Rotterdam government officials. The ship will dock in Rotterdam for three months to provide a temporary home for approximately 1,500 Ukrainians, part of a larger commitment from the Netherlands to accommodate 50,000 people who fled the war in their homeland.
Transat A.T. has launched a fundraising campaign to assist SOS Children’s Villages, its long-time partner, which has rapidly scaled up its response in Ukraine to meet the critical needs of approximately 500,000 vulnerable children and families affected by the conflict with Russia. The campaign calls on its employees, as well as those of the nearly 300 travel agencies that make up its distribution network. Air Transat passengers are also being invited to make a donation on board its flights.
Canada has once again been added to Korea’s visa-free/waiver list. Canadian passport holders entering for leisure purposes will be granted entry to Korea for up to 180 days, as it was prior to the pandemic. As of April 1, travellers entering Korea are required to complete a variety of new steps to gain entry such as K-ETA (electronic authorization), Quarantine or Quarantine Exemption, and PCR testing within 48 hours prior to departure. Korea Tourism Organization Toronto Office Assistant Director Randy Snape said, “We will be restarting FAM trips, co-promotions, webinars and much more in support of our partners’ Korea products. We look forward to working with all travel agents in the near future.”.
The Ministry of Health in Anguilla has released new guidelines for Anguilla’s entry protocols, effective April 1: All fully vaccinated travellers 18 years and older no longer need to apply for permission to enter the island via the travel portal at IvisitAnguilla.com. They will still need to present evidence of full vaccination status with an approved vaccine and a negative COVID-19 test taken within three days of travel or a rapid antigen test taken within two days of travel. Other protocols apply and can be found online.
All international visitors to St. Kitts and Nevis arriving by air can now enter the country with a negative COVID-19 antigen test taken within the 24 hours prior to arrival. This is a revision of the previous requirement, which only allowed for RT-PCR tests.
To meet growing demand, Megabus.com, will resume cross-border bus service between Canada and the United States effective May 11. With routes from Toronto to a dozen US cities, the new schedule will also include significant seasonal service increases between Toronto and Montreal, Niagara Falls, and Ottawa. For information and tickets, visit https://ca.megabus.com/
Air Canada and Aeromar have announced the launch of an interline partnership for customers between destinations in Mexico and Air Canada’s global network via Mexico City, Puerto Vallarta, and Cancun. Customers are now able to book flights on both airlines on a single ticket itinerary and experience the benefits of seamless check-in, boarding, and baggage transfer throughout their entire journey. Tickets can be booked online and through travel agents. Aeromar’s connecting destinations include Acapulco, Aguascalientes, Colima, Ciudad Victoria, Flores/Tikal, Guadalajara, Havana, Ixtapa/Zihuatanejo, Ixtepec, Piedras Negras, Puerto Escondido, Tepic, and Villahermosa.
Passengers flying Turkish Airlines with a stopover duration of 20 hours or more can once again take advantage of the carrier’s Stopover Accommodation Service, which will provide a one-night stay in a 4-star hotel for economy class and a two-night stay in a 5-star hotel for business class passengers with a hotel voucher that is issued after the ticket purchase. In addition, passengers will also have the option of staying at contracted hotels with prices starting at US$49.
The Greater Toronto Airports Authority (GTAA) announced that it is playing a leadership role in environmental sustainability by becoming a launch member of the newly formed Canadian Council for Sustainable Aviation Fuels (C-SAF). The council’s mission is to accelerate the deployment of sustainable aviation fuels (SAF) in Canada to ensure that the Canadian aviation sector remains competitive as it transitions to a net-zero future. C-SAF membership includes a consortium of 60 airlines operating in Canada, as well as key stakeholders in the Canadian aviation ecosystem.
BY THE NUMBERS
In a bid to avoid Russian airspace, Cathay Pacific’s New York-Hong Kong service will become the world’s longest flight. The 16,618-km. route overflies the Atlantic Ocean, the UK, southern Europe, and central Asia, making it the longest commercial flight measured by distance. The new flight path will take around 17 hours beating the current longest flight – Singapore Airlines’ Singapore-New York route (15,349 km.) – by 1,269 km.
Sunwing is offering customers savings of up to 30% on escapes to the tropics when they book by April 17 for travel between May 1 and Oct. 31, 2022.
‘Spring Adventure Savings’ from UnCruise Adventures range from cruising discounts to no single supplements on a variety of Alaska cruises when booked through June 15. The sailing season starts April 8 out of the small ship cruise line’s Juneau homeport. E-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org for individual offers.
Public tours of the White House in Washington DC will resume April 15 after a more than 14-month hiatus due to the coronavirus. Tours of the executive mansion were suspended indefinitely by President Joe Biden when he took office as he tightened virus protocols in line with guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The free tours must be requested through a congressional office and will resume on Friday and Saturday mornings.
Collette is now booking travel to Australia and New Zealand for departures beginning in September, following a nearly two-year-long pause due to Covid-19. South Pacific opened to travelers earlier this week after closing its borders for more than 700 days. A variety of itineraries are being offered throughout the countries, including a new small group explorations tour, the 22-day “Australia and New Zealand Uncovered.”
Located in the west of the Egyptian capital, Crowne Plaza West Cairo-Arkan is the first premium hotel in the heart of Sheikh Zayed, strategically located for both business and leisure travellers. The property is the first for IHG Hotels & Resorts in the country, and includes a host of amenities for business travellers, such as a combination of flexible working and relaxation spaces, food and drink options, and five meeting rooms and event spaces available for hire along with an exclusive Club Lounge.
Co-founded and run by the local indigenous Quechuan community, StarDome Peru provides curious travellers with first-hand cultural immersions and transformational experiences led by locals. Located in the Sacred Valley near Machu Picchu, the geodesic dome houses five guest suites with floor-to-ceiling glass walls and vivid views of the valley and mountains. The property opened recently and just started taking reservations at the beginning of February. The hotel offers “spiritual encounters for those seeking not just to travel, but to heal.”
Now that vaccinated individuals travelling or returning to Canada are no longer required to submit a negative COVID-19 test upon entry, the AMR Collection or resorts says is will no longer offer free COVID-19 antigen testing for guests staying in a club level room category. However, guests who require a COVID-19 test will be able to schedule their test for a fee with the concierge on-property.
The US Centers for Disease Control have dropped the warning they had attached to cruising since the beginning of the pandemic, leaving it up to vacationers to decide whether they feel safe getting on a ship. The news was welcomed by industry trade groups, but the CDC noted “cruising will always pose some risk of COVID-19 transmission.”
After a successful pilot of its VeriFLY digital health app allowing vaccinated guests to easily submit pre-embarkation information, Carnival has launched the app fleetwide for all ships in all of its US homeports. Guests who use VeriFLY can expect the time it takes to complete the health assessment process during embarkation to be cut in half. Guests who choose not to complete the VeriFLY process are still able to complete their pre-cruise tasks on Carnival.com and present required COVID-19 documents during their embarkation.
ATTRACTIONS & THEME PARKS
It’s official! Super Nintendo World, an innovative and immersive land, will open at Universal Studios Hollywood in 2023, and will be the first Super Nintendo World to debut in the US, following its debut in Japan last year. Based on the popular video game, the themed land, located within a newly expanded area of USH, will be “a visual spectacle of vibrant colours and architectural ingenuity,” and feature ground-breaking rides and interactive areas suitable for the whole family.
FAMS & INCENTIVES
As an incentive to check out Sunwing’s newly enhanced agent portal, for the month of April agents will have even more opportunities to earn STAR Agent Rewards Points with the ‘One Million STAR Points Contest.’ Those registered with the STAR Rewards Program, as well as those who register at Sunwingagents.ca in April, can increase their chances of winning one of 10 weekly 25,000 STAR Points prizes that can be redeemed for cash, simply by logging in and interacting with the portal. Chances of winning points increases the more you log in and interact with various elements of the platform. Visit Sunwingagents.ca.
Tourism Ireland welcomed delegates to its annual travel trade fairs Meet the Buyer and Meitheal 2022 last week. The annual events provide a platform for Irish tourism providers from around Ireland to meet new contacts and to do business with buyers from around the world, including Canada. 2022 marks the first in-person conferences of their kind since 2019. Photos: left – John McGrillen, CEO, Tourism Northern Ireland; right – Sandra Moffatt, Manager, Tourism Ireland, Canada, with Conor Duffy, VP, Royal Irish Tours.
There are still a small number of spaces available to the complimentary industry launch events in Toronto (April 7) and Vancouver (April 5) for “The Last Tourist” documentary film produced by G Adventures, and featuring leading travel and tourism visionaries including Dr. Jane Goodall (Jane Goodall Institute, United Nations Messenger of Peace), Lek Chailert (Save Elephant Foundation), Gary Knell (National Geographic), Meenu Vadera (Sakha Cabs For Women) and Melissa Matlow (World Animal Protection). Contact the tour company for details. The doc will also be available on Apple TV and Amazon starting this week.
Transat A.T. Inc. has announced the appointment of Chrystal Healy as Vice President, Corporate Responsibility, a newly created position in the company. Healy will assume her new role on April 4.
There’s a trio of new faces at The Travel Agent Next Door: Joining the organization are Annabelle Seow, formerly of Merit Travel and Travel Cuts, as Director, Marketing; Pamela Shaw and Rebecca Mueller as support staff based in Alberta; and new to the travel industry, Alaina Salita, as travel agent co-ordinator.
Long-time Direct Travel employee Ian Race will now lead the travel management company’s corporate sales team across all of Canada. Race will continue in his current role as Senior Vice President, Corporate Sales & Business Development, for both the company’s Canada West and Canada East regions.
The San Francisco Travel Association has opened a dedicated COVID-19 testing facility at Moscone Center to provide quick and easy testing from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. seven days a week. Provided by a certified COVID testing provider, the centre offers 10-minute rapid antigen tests for US$40 and 30-minute rapid PCR tests for $150. San Francisco Travel is believed to be the first DMO in the US to provide the service. Appointments are recommended but not required and can be booked online at https://calendly.com/rokketmedtesting.
The largest free blues festival in the world, the Chicago Blues Festival, returns this year featuring a diverse line-up celebrating blues past, present and future, as well as spotlighting the genre’s contributions to soul, R&B, hip hop, gospel, rock and more. The three-day event takes place June 9-12 in Millennium Park and citywide. The Chicago Jazz Festival, meanwhile, is set to take place Sept. 1-4.
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First published at Travel Industry Today