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ROUND-UP: May 2-6, 2022

In the news last week: CATSA apologized for chaos at Canadian airports; the CDC is urging travellers in the US to mask up, again; Carnival Cruise Line marked a pandemic milestone; TPI has a new name; and the trade celebrated Travel Agent Appreciation day with a host of incentives, many extending all month.

NEWS

With chaotic scenes at Toronto and Vancouver airports making news all week, the head of the Canadian Air Transport Security Authority apologized to air travellers for the inconvenience caused by recent increases in wait times at some major airports and insisted that CATSA is aggressively working to address the situation.

The United Nations General Assembly met last week for a first-ever dedicated session on tourism and its key role in inclusive recovery and growth. The May 4 meeting came at a critical juncture in history as the industry navigates its recent pandemic past while transitioning sustainably to the future – a future the assembly’s president warned is on a trajectory that “we cannot allow… to continue.”

United States health officials restated their recommendation that travellers in the US wear masks on planes, trains, and buses, despite a court ruling last month that struck down a national mask mandate on public transportation.

BORDERS

Greece’s civil aviation authority announced that it was lifting all COVID-19 rules for international and domestic flights except for the wearing of face masks during flights and at airports. Previously, air travellers were required to show proof of vaccination, a negative test, or a recent recovery from the disease. And visitors to Italy no longer have to fill out the EU passenger locator form, a complicated online ordeal required at airport check-in.

New Zealand welcomed tourists from Canada, the US, Britain, Japan and more than 50 other countries for the first time in more than two years last week after dropping most of its remaining pandemic border restrictions. “Today (May 2) is a day to celebrate and is a big moment in our reconnection with the world,” said Tourism Minister Stuart Nash.

AGENCIES

TPI is now TTG. Travel Professionals International (TPI) announced that it is changing its corporate brand name to Trevello Travel Group, featuring a new logo and identity, but retaining the same mandate of “helping our advisors succeed,” according to CEO Zeina Gedeon, who adds, “We’ve got big plans and we knew that to achieve these plans, we needed to make ourselves uncomfortable and ensure we were ideally situated to expand our position…” The name is meant to signify “natural leaders, independent, individualistic, extremely ambitious, original, courageous, explorers and innovators, which truly defines today’s travel advisor.

RE-OPENING/RE-START

With the departure of Carnival Splendor from the Port of Seattle last week, Carnival Cruise Line became the first major cruise line in the US to return its entire fleet of ships to operations. Carnival Splendor was the 23rd and final Carnival ship to welcome guests back on board after Carnival’s resumption of cruising from the US last July.

AIR

Flair Airlines and Super Channel have partnered to offer Flair passengers an extensive collection of Super Channel programming inflight, with over 200 hours of content available now on select routes.

Swoop launched its inaugural flight to Charlottetown Airport (YYG) from Hamilton International Airport on May 2.

Aeroplan members are now able to directly convert Aeroplan points to Starbucks Stars to redeem for Starbucks coffee, food items and more.

DEALS
The ‘Seize Your Sunshine by AMR Collection’ promotion offers up to 40% off in savings, as well as $200 in resort coupons for guests who book by July 12 for travel through Dec. 22 The promotion is applicable at all AMR Collection branded resorts, including Secrets Resorts & Spas, Dreams Resorts & Spas, Breathless Resorts & Spas, Zoëtry Wellness & Spa Resorts, and Sunscape Resorts & Spas by AMR Collection.

The ‘Summer Vibes’ seat sale from Transat features flights to Europe from Toronto starting at $159, valid on new individual bookings made by May 23 for through Oct. 31. Some exceptions apply.

TOURS

The Lighthouse Project, the Globus family of brands’ initiative to help travellers come together to give generously for the globe’s greater good, has partnered with the Pathways Project, a coalition of leading travel organizations dedicated to broadening access to career paths in travel that lack diversity, from tour guides to entrepreneurship. Through this partnership, Globus will help the Pathways Project illuminate diverse, equitable and inclusive opportunities for people of colour to get trained and land tour director jobs across North America. Says Stéphanie Bishop, managing director for the GFOB in Canada, “We’re dedicated to being more thoughtful, inclusive, and whole as a travel community and can’t wait to train and hire new tour directors who provide a more complete representation of the world and the destinations we visit.”

HOTELS

The Saint Lucia Tourism Authority has launched a bespoke accommodations program to showcase 400-plus smaller accommodation properties in Saint Lucia. Collection de Pépites (“nuggets of gold”) features a broad range of one-of-a-kind island jewels, including local B&Bs, boutiques, inns, and luxury villas, all of which have 35 rooms or less and not be as well-known as the island’s larger hotels and resorts. The collection has a dedicated page on the Saint Lucia website, stlucia.org/collectiondepepites, where travellers can find detailed information on the types of accommodation and search by their specific criteria such as location, family-friendly or price.

Following the brand’s initial debut in Nashville several years ago, Cambria Hotels, an upscale brand franchised by Choice Hotels, has made an encore appearance with the grand opening of its second location: the Cambria Hotel Nashville Airport. The brand’s newest addition underscores Cambria’s continued quest to bring design-forward, approachable upscale accommodations with all the amenities travellers need.

BY THE NUMBERS

With Michelin’s latest guides unveiled recently, Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts reports that it earned the most Michelin stars by a single luxury hospitality brand, with 28 stars across 21 restaurants in 16 hotels around the world.

Club Med Buccaneer’s Creek, Martinique

RESORTS

Club Med has a unique job opening, open to any applicant with a “passion for sustainability.” Calling the position “the ultimate green job” the successful candidate for the role of Club Med’s first-ever Sustainability Coordinator for North America and the Caribbean includes 12 months fully hosted at Club Med Punta Cana; travel across eight Club Med resorts in Mexico, Canada, and the Caribbean to support Club Med’s ongoing CSR efforts and make a positive impact on local communities through initiatives like the implementation of food waste management systems, overseeing environmental partnerships to protect native species; and developing guest activities like beach cleanups and turtle releases. Additional perks include a tropical office, unlimited opportunity for travel and adventure; and more. Apply HERE.

CRUISE

In honour of devoted educators across North America, Norwegian Cruise Line has relaunched of its “Norwegian’s Giving Joy” program, which invites the public to nominate 100 favourite educators for a chance to win free cruises, including on the inaugural departure of Norwegian Prima from Galveston, Texas, in October, and up to $25,000 for their schools. For information and to nominate/vote for someone, click HERE.

Starting in September, Celebrity Solstice will set sail on a series of new five-, seven-, and eight-night itineraries from its homeport in Los Angeles, making its way down the coast to visit some of the region’s most popular cities including Puerto Vallarta, Ensenada, and Mazatlán with select itineraries offering overnight stops in Cabo San Lucas. The Celebrity Cruises’ ship will also offer five Pacific Coastal itineraries that take guests up and down the West Coast from Ensenada, Mexico, to Vancouver including stops California cities like San Francisco, Catalina Island, and Monterey.

FAMS & INCENTIVES

WestJet is celebrating travel agents with its Travel Agent Appreciation Month Giveaway. Having kicked off on May 2, the incentive features exclusive discount rates for travel agents and weekly prize packages to destinations in Europe, Mexico, the US, and Canada. With a total of eight prize packages up for grabs, Weekly prize packages vary, with opportunities to win round-trip flights, hotel accommodations and as an added bonus, Silver status with WestJet Rewards. Silver status includes first and second checked bags free, advanced seat selection, airport lounge access and more. To enter, go to westjettravelagents.com/thank-you.

Through June 1, Canadian travel advisors are invited to participate every week in fun challenges on the dedicated Facebook group Club Med Samantha, Amazing you! The activities will be posted every Wednesday and agents will have until the following Tuesday to complete a mission that offers a chance to win weekly gift cards, Club Med goodies or free stays for two people. At the same time, a monthly challenge, a month-long challenge will provide the opportunity to win a four-night stay for two Exclusive Collection Space of the newest Québec Charlevoix resort with VIP experiences.

Expedia Group’s ‘Fuel Up with TAAP’ booking promotion is designed to help Travel Agent Affiliate Program (TAAP) members offset the rising gas prices. A total of CDN$4,500 of ESSO gift cards up for grabs (first prize $2,000). Eligible bookings include standalone hotel bookings made between May 1 and June 30 and used before Dec 31, 2022. The more agents book, the more chances they have to win. Five winners will be drawn. To enter, click HERE.

Virgin Voyages, one of the newest ocean cruise lines to hit the high seas, is celebrating its “First Mate” travel advisors in a month-long show of appreciation. Extended from one week in 2021 to an entire month for 2022, Virgin Voyages is offering weekly giveaways on SeaCiety, an exclusive online Facebook community for First Mates. Every week, agents will have the opportunity to enter to win VV swag with the winners announced each Thursday. To sign up to be a First Mate, which includes other perks, click HERE.

Atout France Canada’s annual travel show Destination France is set to take place in person next week with four in-person events for travel counsellors across the country. Registration is now open for the May 16-19 trade show, which will feature over 30 French destinations and suppliers. Dates are as follows: Montréal – May 16; Quebec City – May 17; Toronto – May 18; and Vancouver – May 19.

For more information and to register, click HERE.

AMR Collection will host a webinar on May 26. Broadcasting live from Dreams Karibana Cartagena Golf & Spa Resort, the session will feature a site inspection of the first AMR Collection resort in Colombia and opportunities to win three-night stays for two. For details, sign in at AMRAgents.com.

PEOPLE/APPOINTMENTS

Transat A.T. Inc. has announced the appointment of Karine Gagnon, currently Commercial Director, Transat, as General Manager of Transat Distribution Canada (TDC), effective July 1. This appointment follows the decision by Louise Fecteau, who has been at the helm of TDC for three years, to retire on June 30.

Julie Golding has joined Club Med team as Business Development Manager for Quebec, in cooperation with Ariane Brouillette (BDM for Quebec and Ottawa). Industry veteran Golding is an experienced BDM who has worked at Dorval airport, in Punta Cana, as a travel agent, and with hotels and tour operators in Quebec. She can be reached at Julie.golding@clubmed.com .

DESTINATIONS

Starting this week, Canadians and other out-of-state visitors will need reservations to visit one of Hawaii’s most recognizable natural sites. State land officials announced the new policy for Diamond Head State Monument will take effect on May 12. The iconic ancient volcanic crater stands at the end of Waikiki Beach on the island of Oahu. Diamond Head is the third state park to have such a rule. Non-residents must also make reservations for Haena State Park on Kauai and Waianapanapa State Park on Maui. Reservations are required at certain times to visit Haleakala National Park on Maui.

Niagara Falls Tourism reports that the Ontario city’s fireworks program will return this summer. Canada’s longest running fireworks series will take place every night from May 20 to Oct. 10 (144 consecutive nights). The spectacular fireworks series set over the Falls offers a stunning show against the backdrop of both the American Falls and Canadian Horseshoe Falls. The Falls are also illuminated every night of the year, making the destination among the world’s best places to see fireworks displays.

Send info to baginski@travelindustrytoday.com

 

First published at Travel Industry Today

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