Global Travel and Lifestyle News Network

ROUND-UP: March 6-10, 2023

The return of world’s biggest travel show (ITB) highlights last week’s round-up, along with protests in France and Israel, improving results from Transat, more summers seats at WestJet, cruise line booking records, and big resort news in Toronto’s north end.


ITB Berlin took place last week marking its first in-person event since 2019. And as the global travel industry flocked to the German capital for the world’s largest travel show, the UNWTO announced that more than twice as many people travelled internationally in January as they did at the start of last year. According to UNWTO Secretary-General Zurab Pololikashvili, the message is clear: “Tourism always comes back!”

Despite a $56.6-million loss in its latest quarter, Transat chief executive Annick Guérard said the company is on an upswing and is headed for a return to profitability. The 2023 Q1 result compares to a loss of $114.3 million a year earlier as its revenue more than tripled. Revenue for the Montreal-based travel company totalled $667.5 million, up from $202.4 million a year earlier.

Plane, trains, and art museums were among the affected in France last week as protests against the government over pension reform continued to rage across the country. The protest even extended to the Louvre museum in Paris, where about 150 employees gathered in the room where Leonardo da Vinci’s “Mona Lisa” is displayed, brandishing a huge banner writing “No to working longer” in front of the iconic painting.

The Biden administration is suing to block JetBlue Airways‘ US$3.8-billion purchase of Spirit Airlines, saying the deal would reduce competition and drive up air fares for consumers.


Scotiabank recently surveyed millennials on the features they value in a travel credit card. The top four answers: redeeming points towards the cost of the trip (45%), travel insurance benefits (44%), no foreign transaction fees (14%), and airport lounge access (10%); 14% of respondents cited other features. The survey also found that nearly half of Canadians aged 18-34 (42%), 61% of Gen Z, and a third of Millennials (32%) plan to travel this spring. Those 18-34 are mostly looking to travel domestically (53%), compared to Canadians aged 35-54 (58%) and 55+ (70%) who want to experience an international destination.


The extension of non-stop service between Montreal and Lyon next winter will make Air Transat the only the carrier to operate the route year-round. Flights will be offered three days a week on Tuesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays. The carrier flies up to seven times per week between Montreal and Lyon in the summer season, one of eight French cities served by the carrier.

Travel agents are now able to view and book Canada Jetlines inventory in Amadeus.

WestJet is making significant increases to its summer schedule, bringing more seats and additional flight frequencies to routes across its network. That includes the following increases: 64% from Regina; 46% Saskatoon; 44% Edmonton; 42% Winnipeg; 27% Calgary; 13% Kelowna; and 55% Vancouver. The summer peak will feature nearly 600 daily departures to domestic, transborder and international destinations.

Azores Airlines will start a new air operation between Montreal and Terceira (Azores) from June 15. The new service will operate on Wednesdays through Sept. 14 and will compliment services already operating from Toronto to Terceira (up to two times per week), as well as up to five times per week service from Toronto to Ponta Delgada.


A flash sale at St. Maarten’s Sonesta Maho Beach Resort, Casino & Spa (photo) offers savings of up to 45% and a $100 resort credit on three-minimum night stays between May 1 and 29 when booked by March 19. The resort credit can be applied toward an upgrade (subject to availability), Serenity Spa treatment, purchases at Ocean Breeze shop, a bottle of wine from the manager’s international wine list, private romantic dinners and more. Use the promo code “FLASH.”


UK operator Evan Evan’s has launched ‘ABBA Voyage’ packages combining tickets and skip-the-line access, plus round-trip transportation on a dedicated ABBA Voyage branded Express coach from Victoria in Central London to the arena at Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in the western part of the city. The smash show blends cutting-edge technology, spectacular lighting, and the band’s most beloved songs in a concert in which virtual band members are truly indistinguishable from the real thing.

 G Adventures has relaunched operations in Peru after a pause necessitated by protests in the South American country that led to the closing of Machu Picchu in February. The tour operator says some small adjustments to tours have been made, but most itineraries will operate as normal.


A “wick-ed” promotion from Hard Rock International continuing through April 30 will give fans the opportunity to “live like” action character John Wick (Keanu Reeves) in conjunction with the fourth installment of the popular film series. Fans will have the chance to win a custom-tailored suit from Paco Delgado, John Wick’s Oscar-nominated costume designer, plus tickets for the premiere, red carpet VIP events, and elevated culinary experiences. Offerings will be available at all Hard Rock Cafe locations in North America and select Hard Rock Cafes in Europe.

 Now open in the historic city of Casco Viejo, the Sofitel Legend Casco Viejo Panama, is described as the first and only luxury hotel in Panama with an authentic French identity. The hotel is the sixth address in the Sofitel Legend brand portfolio. Directly built out into the water, with unobstructed views of the Pacific Ocean and Panama city skyline, the hotel features 159 beautifully appointed rooms and suites; five food and beverage venues, including a rooftop bar and lounge; and an oceanfront pool.


Citing demand from guests who got a taste of eating at the property during the pandemic when Montego Bay restaurants were closed, Jamaica’s S Hotel has become an all-inclusive. With the shift, the 120-room S Hotel Jamaica has added two new restaurants and also introduced new room categories and other offerings including daily yoga and a Jamaican Blue Mountain espresso bar. The hotel opened in 2019 in the heart of the city, astride popular Doctor’s Cave Beach.

A massive new $1-billion entertainment resort is set transform a remote north-western section of Toronto when it opens its doors this summer with a modern Vegas-style casino, integrated 400-room hotel, 5,000-seat live entertainment venue, and multiple on-site dining options. Located at the intersection of highways 401 and 427, about 15 minutes from Toronto Pearson airport, the Great Canadian Casino Resort Toronto will be set on 13.4 hectares adjacent to the well-known Woodbine Racetrack.


Megabus, one of the largest bus companies in North America, has begun selling tickets between Detroit and Toronto for the first time as an expansion of a recent partnership with Trailways of New York, the largest and oldest intercity travel provider in New York and select Canadian cities. The partnership expansion will allow for two trips daily between the cities along with stops in Windsor, Chatham, London, and Paris, Ont.



As Viking celebrates its 25th anniversary, the company says it has marked a new milestone in January – the most successful single month of bookings in its history. During the month, the company also experienced 18 of its all-time top 20 booking days, including the strongest single day in its history. Also setting a sales record in January was AmaWaterways (photo).

 EXPLORA I, the first of up to six vessels scheduled to join the fleet of Explora Journeys, will be officially named on July 8 in Civitavecchia near Rome, Italy. The ship will then transfer to Southampton, UK, for her inaugural journey on July 17 for a 15-night sailing in Northern Europe to Copenhagen, Denmark. Explora Journeys is the privately-owned luxury lifestyle brand of the MSC Group.


Through April 30, agents booking a clients’ Flight & Hotel package, tour, or e-package to Europe with Air Canada Vacations (Feb. 1-April 30 for travel this year) will have a chance to win one of two trip prizes for two: a nine-day “Italy Express Europe Tour” package departing on Oct. 15 from Toronto, or “Italy Express Europe Tour,” from Montreal on Oct. 19.  Winners will be announced on May 15, 2023. Multiple entries are permitted; enter bookings with this FORM.


The Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) will host the PATA Annual Summit and Mart 2023 in Pokhara, Nepal May 29-June 1. The event will be hosted by the Nepal Tourism Board (NTB). The event is comprised of conference presentations, workshops, and a B2B mart, as well as the PATA Executive Board and Board meetings and Annual General Meeting on May 29.


Flight Centre Travel Group (FCTG) has announced the appointment of travel industry veteran Anita Emilio as the Vice President and General Manager, Independent and Luxury pillars in Canada, effective immediately. Emilio returns to Flight Centre after 19 years away, having held senior roles at The Travel Corporation, Travel Counsellors, and most recently Fresh Tracks Canada in the interim.

North Lake Tahoe has engaged Canuckiwi Consulting to lead its destination marketing in Canada including consumer marketing, travel trade, media relations, social media, and ski partnerships. North Lake Tahoe, which is only 45 minutes from the Reno-Tahoe International Airport (RNO) in Nevada. Contact Corey Marshall,


The 62nd Annual Can-Am Days in Myrtle Beach, SC, kicked off on the weekend, continuing until March 19. Events, specials, and discounts are on offer all week, some continuing into Spring. “Myrtle Beach has long been considered a second home for so many Canadians and it has been great to see them return over the last few months. During Can-Am Days, we want to especially express our happiness to host them… again,” said CVB president and CEO Karen Riordan. For info, click HERE.

In Antigua and Barbuda, art, music, film, and dance and will take over the twin-island nation during the inaugural Art Week, April 16-22. Themed ‘Culture in Colour,’ the event will showcase local painters, musicians, sculptors, poets, dancers through exhibitions, art walks and studio tours, movies under the stars, and an immersive “sip and paint” experience.


In 1855, the first train crossed the suspension bridge at Niagara Falls, the day after it had been declared open.

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First published at Travel Industry Today

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