Global Travel and Lifestyle News Network

ROUND-UP: March 27-31, 2023

A federal budget and US travel tidbits (borders crossings, vaccine mandates) lead this week’s round-up of last week’s travel news, along with the naming of a new Ontario registrar, a Disney Cruise Line milestone, and the announcement of new Dubai reps in Canada.

NEWS

The federal budget came and went last week with little obvious relief for the travel and tourism sector. ACTA said simply it was “discouraged but not surprised” but would continue to “lay the groundwork for debt relief and ramp up grassroots advocacy efforts at the appropriate time” and that it is conducting a thorough review of the budget to identify any other items that could provide help or opportunity for travel agencies.

Canadians looking to take a flight next year will face an increase in the air travellers security charge paid by those flying in Canada starting on May 1, 2024. The charge for a domestic round trip will rise to $19.87, from its current rate of $14.96. The charge for a transborder flight to the US will rise to $16.89 from $12.71, while for departing international flights travellers will pay $34.42, up from $25.91. The charges, which help pay for the air travel security system, were last increased in 2010.

BORDERS

The US Travel Association says the US Senate’s passage of a bill to terminate the government’s COVID-19 emergency declaration – and repeal vaccine requirements for visitors – will provide a much-needed boost for travel for the country. The protocols were scheduled to expire on May 11.

Opening hours are being extended at 39 border crossings with the United States and at several airports across the country as the Canada Border Services Agency returns to pre-pandemic hours. The changes went into effect on March 31. The border agency first restricted hours at land border crossings in April 2020, closing many points of entry early and stopping 24-hour service at seven crossings.

The Turks and Caicos Islands no longer require travellers to submit proof of vaccination against COVID-19 before arriving in the destination.

AIR

Three new routes between Ottawa International Airport and Boston, New York-Newark, and Thunder Bay were launched by Porter Airlines last week. Porter is the only airline providing year-round daily direct flights to Boston and Thunder Bay from Ottawa. Newark and Thunder Bay flights are twice daily.

Emirates and United Airlines have activated their codeshare agreement, allowing travellers to have access to a larger network of flights across the US, as well as Canada, the Caribbean, and South America.

Frontier Airlines has undertaken measures to further enhance its system to ensure children are seated with at least one responsible adult in their party. At least one parent will automatically be seated with any children within their family group who are under the age of 14. At no additional charge, the airline automatically assigns seats based on family members’ ages before the check-in window opens.

BY THE NUMBERS

The Greater Toronto Airports Authority reports passenger activity increased by 22.9 million or 180.8% to 35.6 million during 2022, when compared to 2021. The significant boost is attributed to the easing of pandemic-related travel restrictions and pent-up travel demand compared to 2021.

DEALS

Guests heading to Atlantis Paradise Island resort in Nassau, Bahamas, can save up to $300 when bundling their flights and hotel reservations. The booking window is now through Feb. 28, 2024, for travel until Feb. 28, 2024. Check out the special offers section of the resort website.

The new 2023 Travel Professionals Guide from Elite Island Resorts is now available offering a comprehensive set of tools to help sell the all-inclusive resorts in the Caribbean and Panama HERE.

TECHNOLOGY

Since 1988, e-Travel Technologies has been providing “know before you go” destination information in the form of its Travel Advisories, Real-Time Alerts, Travel Tracker and providing Duty of Care tools for their travel partners to resell to their corporate clients. Now eTT has launched a virtual app to complement the services and help keep travellers abreast of events that may impact their travel plans from the home screen of their smartphone. Visit the web site for more details.

TOURS

Swoop flights are now available as part of WestJet Vacations package options from Toronto to Varadero, Cuba.  Low-cast Swoop began the route in January, flying three time a week from Pearson. A sample rate starts at $866 p.p. for a week at the Allegro Palma Real in May.

Uniworld Boutique River Cruises is leveraging the power of The Travel Corporation’s (TTC) family of brands with the introduction of pre- and post- cruise customizable journeys in partnership with Adventure World. Adding to their existing collection of pre- and post-cruise land and rail extensions, the new offerings introduce customized experiences that can be paired with Uniworld itineraries across South America, Asia, Africa, and Europe.

HOTELS

Hôtel Nomad Québec reports that it has obtained Biosphere Hotel Certification, an international recognition of commitment to sustainable tourism. The hotel is the first hotel in Quebec City to receive this certification.

Few travellers to Utah’s Monument Valley visit the area without taking a tour of or staying overnight at Goulding’s Lodge – celebrating its 100th year in 2023. In the early 1920s, Harry Goulding and his wife Leone set up a trading post to conduct business with the local Navajo people. When the Great Depression hit, the Gouldings courted Hollywood to film in the region, bringing much-needed revenue. That legacy lives on at the lodge, which continues to host visitors and film crews from all over the world who, who come to experience the power of the landscape and history through Navajo-led tours of Monument Valley.

RESORTS

Coinciding with Autism Acceptance Month in April, Beaches Resorts has expanded its autism program with the release of new Sensory Guides. Developed by experts, the program enables caregivers and guests with cognitive disabilities to more comfortably navigate the on-resort experience based on specific sensory sensitivities. The guides comprise extensive resort maps with public areas – such as the resorts’ many pools, dining spaces, and sports hubs – rated on a 1-10 scale of sensory stimulation.

CRUISE

Disney Cruise Line reached a significant milestone in the construction of its next ship, the Disney Treasure, with the keel laying ceremony at Meyer Werft shipyard in Papenburg, Germany. During the ceremony, a time-honoured maritime tradition, a newly minted coin (photo) was placed under the keel of the ship for good fortune.

A new training program from Viking is designed to provide travel advisors with the tools to promote Viking and the opportunity to earn exclusive benefits. The four-module academy allows advisors to become a Viking Certified Expert and learn the sales and marketing tips that have proven successful to sell the cruise line’s Viking’s river, ocean, and expedition voyages. For more, and to register, go to the Viking Travel Advisor Portal HERE.

FAMS & INCENTIVES

Ensemble has announced a new familiarization (FAM) program for members. ‘Further Your World; Exclusive Educational Trips’ is designed to provide members with firsthand in-destination experiences to build greater knowledge of and relationships with the consortium’s partners. The program debuts with five trips in throughout 2023 including: Silversea (July) – A cruise aboard the Silver Moon to Reykjavik; AMA Waterways (Sept.) – Features a cruise along the Mekong River through Cambodia and Vietnam; Egypt & Beyond (Sept.) – An immersive experience to learn about ancient Egypt; G Adventures (Oct.) – An exploration of the culture, nature, and people of Ecuador; and Intrepid (Dec.) – An Antarctica Adventure.

EVENTS

Granite Travel Trade Expos has opened the registration platform to travel agents for upcoming trade shows occurring in the following Ontario markets: Kitchener-Waterloo – April 17; Hamilton – April 18; Mississauga – April 19; and Barrie – April 20. Attending agents can meet industry partners and learn revenue generating tips. On-site registration starts at 3:30 p.m., followed by presentations at 4 and trade show at 6. Continuing until 8:30, show will also include a light dinner and prizes. Attendance is limited and the first 75 arrivals at each event will be eligible for a $20 Gas Card while supplies last. For more details and registration, go to https://granitetravelexpos.com/agents/ .

PEOPLE/APPOINTMENTS

The Travel Industry Council of Ontario (TICO) has announced the appointment of Dorian Werda as Registrar overseeing all regulatory functions for Ontario’s travel agencies, booking websites and tour operators. Werda has been with TICO since its inception in 1997 and is a member of TICO’s leadership team. Richard Smart, who has served the dual role of President/CEO and Registrar since 2014, will continue as President/CEO with a focus on overall strategic direction and stakeholder relationship management.

US-based Lou Hammond Group (LHG) has been selected by Dubai Economy and Tourism (DET) as public relations agency of record. As part of the partnership, Toronto-based Reach Global Marketing will lead the effort in Canada. “We have big ambitions to grow tourism business in Dubai,” says Reach CEO Charmaine Singh. “By working with DET and LHG, we’ll be able to leverage the travel demands and work together to grow the visitor economy and ensure a positive outlook for the years ahead.”

DESTINATIONS

Pantheon

Rome’s most visited cultural site will soon start charging tourists an entrance fee. Visitors, but not residents, will have to pay five euros ($7.30), to enter the Pantheon. The monumental domed structure, originally an ancient Roman temple, draws millions of visitors each year.

Black Golfers Week returns to Bermuda from April 27-May 1. The event celebrates the golf community’s continued progress toward diversity and inclusion while also celebrating the island’s rich history, which includes St. George’s native Louis Rafael “Kid” Corbin being the first black golfer to compete in prestigious tournaments like the Canadian Open. The event is open to all visitors; for info on the event and available packages, visit GoToBermuda.com.

LAST WEEK IN TRAVEL HISTORY

In 1513, Spanish explorer Juan Ponce de Leon sighted present-day Florida.

Send info to baginski@travelindustrytoday.com

First published at Travel Industry Today

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