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ROUND-UP: May 16-23, 2022

In last week’s summary: Ensemble members agreed to Navigatr purchase, registration for ACTA’s golf tournament opened, G Adventures introduced industry rates, Mike Hannah will be missed, and everyone is complaining about air travel…

NEWS

The federal government is rekindling a plan to allow travellers, immigration detainees and others who feel they have been mistreated by Canada’s border agency to complain to an independent body. The legislation would give the RCMP the additional responsibility of handling public complaints about the Canada Border Services Agency.

The Canadian Airports Council is the latest to call for the removal of random tests and public health questions at customs to ease the serious delays passengers face when they arrive in Canada. The council says the procedures are unnecessary and make processing passengers four times longer.

TRAVEL AGENCIES

Shareholders of Ensemble Travel Group voted in favour of an acquisition by Navigatr group in a deal that will yield benefits to members and suppliers alike creating a new and innovative consortium model. Privately owned Navigatr is the parent company of Kensington Tours, TripArc, and Travel Edge. Ensemble includes more than 600 independently owned travel agencies across Canada and the US. The deal is expected to close at the end of May. Ensemble will remain a standalone entity within the Navigatr group with Michael Johnson of Navigatr becoming president.

On May 18, TL Network Canada hosted a sold-out monthly mixer event at the Pan Pacific Hotel in Toronto. Sixteen suppliers and 65 members were in attendance for the event, which featured an informal mini trade show and cocktail hour, followed by dinner during which suppliers delivered a brief overview of revenue generating promotions and offers available to the TL Network membership.

ACTA

Registration is open for ACTA’s Ontario Golf Tournament, July 14 at Royal Ontario Golf Club in Milton. The 32nd annual event will be sponsored by Air Canada, along with Manulife and Globus Family of Brands joining as major sponsors. Antigua and Barbuda will be featured golf destination sponsor. The event starts at 10 a.m.; registration fee is $225 for ACTA members and $265 for non-members and includes golf, cart, lunch, networking reception, dinner with wine and prizes. The cost for the networking reception and dinner only is $125. Sponsorship opportunities are also available. Register HERE.

ACTA is reaching out to the industry for speaker proposals and suggested educational sessions for its Fall 2022 Travel Industry Summits, taking place in Toronto (Sept. 14), Vancouver (Sept. 20), and Montreal (Sept. 28). Content should be relevant to the theme: “Forever Forward.” Interested individuals can review the speaker requirements and submit a proposal by June 3 by clicking HERE.

BORDERS

Japan will begin allowing small package tours from four countries later this month – Australia, Singapore, Thailand, and the US – as an experiment before gradually opening up to foreign tourism for the first time since it imposed tight border restrictions due to the coronavirus pandemic. Tour participants must be triple-vaccinated and the tours must have guides and fixed itineraries

Myanmar has resumed issuing visas for visitors. The tourist “e-Visas”’ are provided online in a move also intended to harmonize tourism with neighbouring countries.

BY THE NUMBERS

One of the world’s biggest airlines Emirates Air, says it lost US$1.1 billion over the past fiscal year, but that figure still marks an 80% improvement from the year before. The airline said revenue was up 91%, reaching $16.1 billion

AIR

Air Transat has launched direct service between Montreal and Amsterdam, operating until mid-October with three flights per week at the height of the season: on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays. The carrier also conducted its inaugural flights to Los Angeles and San Francisco from Montreal.

Lynx Air has announced the addition of two St. John’s and Halifax routes to both Calgary and Edmonton via Toronto. St. John’s flights will commence July 14 five times weekly from Edmonton and twice weekly July 16 from Calgary. Halifax flights (5x/week) start July 14 and Calgary (2x/week) on July 30.

Direct flights from Seattle-Tacoma International Airport to Papeete, Tahiti will take flight with Air Tahiti Nui on Oct. 4, providing a direct route that Canadians can take advantage of to the destination. Service will be provided on Boeing 787-9 Tahitian Dreamliner aircraft.

DEALS

Through July 5, clients booking featured Club Med resorts for vacation dates between July and August will save up to 45% off the price of their trip. Additional perks are also available, from kids under four stay free to complimentary room upgrades from adults. For details, click HERE.

TOURS

New independent touring packages to Portugal’s Azores Islands have been launched by Toronto’s NĀRAT. Suitable for all travellers, nine- to 14-day packages feature Sao Miguel, Pico, and Terceira, as well as smaller islands of Flores and Faial. Rates include return airfare from YYZ with SATA Airlines, Azores domestic airfares, Hertz car rental, accommodations in moderate to first class hotels, and meals at participating restaurants. “With an abundance of natural scenery, history and culture, the Azores Islands encapsulates a bit of everything desired by Canadian travellers for that exotic European escape, and leaves most longing to come back,” says NĀRAT’s Renata Snidr.

Collette reports that despite a record number of calls for bookings in April, guests and travel advisors are only being placed on hold for an average of two minutes thanks to upgrades the tour operator made during the downtime caused by the pandemic. In April, Collette reported more than 29,000 calls – an increase of 50% over January. In May, Collette experienced its best sales week since 2019. A record number of calls have been met with just a two-minute average wait time.

HOTELS

Located in the city’s trendy Friedrichshain neighbourhood, sly Berlin will be the city’s coolest new hotel when it opens this summer. Housed across four modernized buildings, interconnected via inviting open courtyard spaces and a large, striking greenhouse, the Preferred Hotel will be comprised of 150 guestrooms and suites, some with private balconies. Interiors will showcase a fusion of nature and urban culture, featuring solid oak wood, Italian serpentine stone, stainless steel, and Brutalist concrete touches. Other highlights include a well-equipped gym and a large rooftop sauna with city skyline views. A lively restaurant and bar, complete with open kitchen and grill area, will be housed in the natural light of the greenhouse amid an abundance of greenery.

The Dorchester Collection will be making its Middle East debut this year with the launch of The Lana in Dubai in Q4. A striking building positioned among the gleaming skyscrapers of the vibrant Business Bay area and beside the waters of Dubai Creek, the 30-storey hotel will include 225 rooms and suites, as well as contemporary interior design. The hotel will feature a dynamic selection of restaurants, including a rooftop concept, complete with an enticing pool with views of Dubai’s skyline and Business Bay’s waterfront.

RESORTS

Sunwing reports that its newest Royalton Luxury Resorts property, Royalton Splash Riviera Cancun, is slated to open Dec. 20. The new all-inclusive Riviera Maya resort will feature 1,000 suites, 12 restaurants, nine bars, spa, four pools, a variety of beach and water sports and one of the Caribbean’s largest on-site water parks, featuring 14 large water slides, two lazy rivers, a kids’ pool and splash pad, to which guests have unlimited access.

RIU Hotels & Resorts has presented the complete refurbishment of its only hotel in Portugal, the Riu Madeira. The hotel, located on the seafront at Praia dos Reis Magos in Caniço de Baixo, opened April 29 with a new image and new services. For the first time this summer season, the 4-star hotel will offer 24-hour all-inclusive service so guests can enjoy food, drinks, and entertainment options around the clock.

CRUISE

MSC Cruises Canada is revamping its MSC Voyagers Club loyalty program with a range of new benefits for Canadian travellers. Voyagers Exclusives now replaces Voyages Selection with greater incentives for members, who will automatically benefit from a minimum 5% discount for any cruise booked. And the further out the cruise is booked, the higher the discount.

Luxury cruise line Cunard reported that the first day of bookings for new ship Queen Anne was the busiest booking day in a decade. Cunard says the demand for the brand is at record levels, including selling out the Queen Anne’s maiden voyage departing Jan. 4, 2024.

DELAYED/ CANCELLED

Small ship cruise line Windstar Cruises has cancelled its scheduled cruises in Asia for fall of 2022, citing the continued uncertainty regarding ports reopening in the region. The move will affect seven scheduled itineraries on the all-suite Star Breeze. Instead, Star Breeze will extend its Alaska season with an additional itinerary (Alaskan Splendors) in late August, followed by West Coast Epicurean Extravaganza down the coast of the US, a trans- ocean voyage from San Diego to Tahiti, and five sailings in French Polynesia.

ATTRACTIONS & THEME PARKS
Adventure park operator Treetop Trekking has opened a new location in Ontario, its seventh in the province. Located between Brockville and Gananoque, Treetop Trekking 1000 Islands, once known as Skywood Adventure Park, features seven zipline and aerial game courses, a treehouse Treewalk Village, and three Discovery Kids courses. The park also offers night treks, team building programs, and other activities for groups such as birthday parties, school trips, and corporate groups. Starting in June until the end of August, the park is open seven days a week from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

FAMS & INCENTIVES

Preferred partner travel agents of G Adventures will receive up to 50% discount for themselves, and a 25% discount for up to three travelling companions on June departures with the tour operator. All other agency partners receive up to 30% off, with up to 15% off for their fellow adventurers. Members of the wider travel industry community are also eligible for up to 15% off G’s portfolio of tours upon presentation of an IATA or other travel industry ID card. More information is available via Sherpa.

EVENTS

With Toronto set to host this year’s edition of Rendez-vous Canada (RVC) this week, Canadian tourism’s premier international tourism marketplace for the travel trade has already announced that RVC 2023 will take place in Québec City next year May 30-June 2.

The annual Affluent Travel Collection Symposium (ATCS) event will be held Oct. 25-27 at Resorts World Las Vegas. Hundreds of luxury advisors will convene and network with preferred travel suppliers and destination partners. ATC is a subsidiary of the American Marketing Group (AMG), and Symposium will be held two days prior to AMG’s global Travel Market 2022 conference.

PEOPLE/APPOINTMENTS

Long-time travel industry veteran Mike Hannah died May 15 after having suffered a heart attack three weeks earlier. During his distinguished career, Hannah had served as a senior executive at P. Lawson Travel, Sears Travel and as president of UFTA. He was also a long-time member of the Skal Toronto Club and a member of the executive board. A funeral will be held at 2 p.m. on May 26 at All Saints Church Kingsway, 2850 Bloor St. W., in Toronto.

Five Direct/Vision Travel advisors have been named to the worldwide list of Condé Nast Travel Specialists. The list, which features some 400 travel advisors and niche tour operators around the world, recognizes top advisors for their experience, expertise, resourcefulness, and customer care. As Condé Nast puts it: “They’ll pull off the impossible and spare you the logistics.” The Canadian agents in the group include Ariane Henry of White Rock, BC, and Lisa and Nancy Zupancic.

DESTINATIONS

In celebration of the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee this summer, a ‘Queen’s Garden’ will be created at the Tower of London as part of Historic Royal Palaces’ Superbloom display. Taking inspiration from The Queen’s 1953 coronation gown, a lawned area known as the Tower’s Bowling Green will be transformed into an elegant garden featuring a combination of meadow flowers, topiary and summer-flowering perennials, bulbs, and ornamental grasses. The Queen’s Garden will be in bloom ready for the Jubilee Weekend (June 2) and will remain in situ until the end of September.

Nationwide celebrations of the 10,000th birthday of the Belize Barrier Reef – second largest in the world and the largest of its kind in the Northern and Western hemispheres – will take place in the central American country from June 1-8. Belize has made significant sustainability strides in recent years in helping the reef to be removed from the UN’s endangered list and being registered as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The reef attracts thousands of divers and others every year to Belize.

Send info to baginski@travelindustrytoday.com

First published at Travel Industry Today

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