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ROUND-UP: May 23-27, 2022

It’s tourism week in Canada this week; positive travel recovery news percolated; border measures around the world continued to ease; a major hotel boost in the Bahamas was revealed; and Rendez-vous Canada returned for the first time in three years.

NEWS

Tourism week (May 29-June 4) is a seven-day celebration of tourism in Canada and an annual invitation for all tourism partners to come together to champion and promote Canada’s destinations, tourism businesses, and employees – from coast to coast to coast. Visit the Tourism Industry Association of Canada’s website to get involved, including downloadable social media assets to share.

The federal government will conduct a public interest assessment of WestJet Airlines Ltd.’s deal to buy Sunwing Airlines and Sunwing Vacations. The review will be done with input from the Commissioner of Competition, who will assess impacts on competition and will include consultations with industry and other stakeholders, other government departments, other levels of government, as well as the public. Transport Canada has been given until Dec. 5 to complete the process.

The World Travel & Tourism Council’s latest Economic Impact Report (EIR) says Canada’s Travel & Tourism sector will catapult the nation’s economic recovery with its GDP contribution set to reach pre-pandemic levels next year. The forecast from the WTTC shows the sector’s contribution to Canada’s GDP could reach $157 billion next year, just 0.8% below 2019 levels.

BORDERS

Starting June 10, Japan will allow visitors from close to 100 nations and territories to enter the country. Among them is Canada. Travellers, however, must be part of a pre-packaged tour group. Japan has maintained one of the world’s strictest border controls during the pandemic.

Fully vaccinated travellers to Barbados no longer have to take a COVID-19 test to enter the country. Meanwhile, as of June 1, unvaccinated travellers will require a negative pre-flight result (taken within three days of travel) and will be tested again (antigen) upon arrival at the airport. Unvaccinated travellers who have had COVID in the previous 90 days do not need a pre-test, but must test on arrival.

Travellers flying into Israel are no longer required to take a PCR test upon arrival at Ben Gurion Airport, thus allowing travellers to depart the airport without having to take a COVID test and quarantine. At the same time, all pre-departure COVID testing requirements have also been lifted (regardless of vaccination status).

Germany plans to suspend a pandemic rule requiring people to show proof of vaccination, a negative test result or recent recovery from COVID-19 to enter the country starting June 1 to the end of August.

RESTART
For the first time in three years, Canada’s largest international tourism marketplace, Rendez-vous Canada (RVC), was back in-person from May 24-27. The event (photo), hosted by Destination Canada, in partnership with the Tourism Industry Association of Canada welcomed over 1,000 attendees in Toronto and more registered for the virtual component. This included over 300 international buyers from Destination Canada’s key markets who were able to meet with over 750 tourism industry delegates from 450 Canadian organizations.

BY THE NUMBERS

Despite challenges in 2021 stemming from the global pandemic, VIA Rail Canada reports that ridership increased by 31.9% and passenger revenues jumped 54.3% compared to 2020. At the same time, the crown corporation says it’s stayed on budget.

AIR

WestJet reports that its flight dispatchers, represented by the Canadian Airline Dispatchers Association (CALDA), voted more than 90% in favour of a 10-year agreement. This ratified agreement starts June 1 and expires on May 31, 2032.

The Canadian Transportation Agency (CTA) has determined that Canada Jetlines has met the agency’s financial requirements. The CTA had previously determined that company met the Canadian Control requirements. With the satisfaction of this significant milestone, the formal CTA commercial license will be issued following the issuance of the Air Operator Certificate (“AOC”) by Transport Canada.

Air Transat is diversifying and expanding its international offerings for winter 2022-23 in an “ambitious” move designed to provide an “unprecedented range of destinations” as Canadians return to travel. More than 50 destinations in the South, North America, and Europe, will be offered, as well as others through code-sharing agreements.

The inaugural Swoop flight from YYZ to Nashville International Airport (BNA) took off on May 26. The service operates four times weekly.

DEALS

Canadian travellers can help beat the currency exchange rate with Holland America Line’s “Canada Super Sale” with savings up to 20% on select cruises and running through 2022. The sale is offered on select 2022 Alaska, Canada and New England, Pacific Coast, Hawaii, and Panama Canal cruises that sail to or from a Canadian homeport. Cruises to Mexico roundtrip from San Diego also are included in the special. The cruise line has also extended its “Worry-Free Promise” to Dec. 31, 2022, for all cruises booked by Sept. 30.

The “Book early, get plenty” promo by Transat applies to new individual bookings of South packages made before July 15 for travel between Sept. 1, and April 30, 2023. With this promo, travellers get up to $200 off p.p.; reduced deposit of only $100; Transat’s Price Drop Guarantee; 50% off Option Flex Standard. Plus, travel agents earn five times the Bonbon rewards on South packages, which means $25 per room.

TOURS

Until June 5, Sunwing’s inaugural “Sun Week” sale will enable travel agents to book clients to Mexico, the Caribbean and Central America with savings up to 40% per couple on applicable all inclusive vacation packages completed by Dec. 15. At the same time, clients will also be entered to win one of many prizes, including gift cards, destination excursions, and complimentary vacation packages for two.

HOTELS

The much-anticipated Liberty Trust hotel in downtown Roanoke, Va., is now open. The 54-room boutique hotel offers a unique visitor experience in the heart of the city’s downtown, set in a former historic bank building. The newly opened property has teamed up with the renowned local architectural salvage company to retain many of the historic building’s original features, including a bank vault where visitors can now enjoy a drink.

With the reopening of Hilton’s 1,024-room Parc 55, all large city hotels have resumed operations in San Francisco, and three new highly anticipated hotels will welcome guests in June: 1 Hotel San Francisco, LUMA Hotel San Francisco and Beacon Grand (formerly Sir Francis Drake Hotel). A fourth new property, The Line SF, is slated to open in late summer. By the end of 2022, seven new branded and independent hotels will have debuted in the city.

CRUISE

American gymnast Simone Biles, a 19-time World Champion and seven-time Olympic Medalist, has been named godmother for Celebrity Beyond, which recently debuted in Europe. Biles will name the vessel at the official ceremony in Fort Lauderdale on Nov. 4. Celebrity Cruises says aims to choose transformational and courageous Godmothers who are breaking barriers and championing change in their respective fields. Biles joins Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Malala Yousafzai and Reshma Saujani, founder of Girls Who Code and the Marshall Plan for Moms, who serve as godmothers of Beyond’s sister ships Celebrity Edge and Celebrity Apex respectively.

Maritime archaeologist Mensun Bound, who made headlines across the world in March with the discovery of Sir Ernest Shackleton’s ship, the Endurance, will head out to sea again this summer to talk exclusively to Cunard guests. Bound will join Queen Mary 2 in Southampton for a 7-night Transatlantic Crossing on June 24 before arriving in New York on July 2. Returning in 2023, the maritime archaeologist will join Queen Elizabeth for a 13-night voyage from Alaska to San Francisco, taking in some of the world’s most breath-taking scenery and wildlife.

ATTRACTIONS & THEME PARKS

Debuting on July 1, Marvel’s “Spider-Man: Beyond Amazing – The Exhibition” will be a new significant installation at the Comic-Con Museum in Balboa Park, San Diego, celebrating Marvel’s friendly neighbourhood superhero’s 60th anniversary. The exhibit will feature interactive installations, an extensive collection of Marvel artifacts from the past six decades, including original comic art, animation materials, and film production elements of the web-slinger’s rich legacy. The museum will close in June in preparation for the exhibition in July.

RESORTS
Raffles Grand Hotel d’Angkor,
one of the most iconic heritage properties in Southeast Asia (photo), reopens its doors to guests on June 1 for the first time in almost three years. During the pandemic downtown, the hotel, which opened in 1932, underwent a “meticulous facelift” and returns fresher and brighter with a host of new amenities.

An offer has been accepted for the purchase of Grand Lucayan, a beachfront resort located in the Bahamas city of Freeport. The deal, which will see a real estate investment firm buy the resort for US$100 million, is a part of an initiative called “The Return of the Grand Life to Grand Bahama,” which seeks to re-establish the destination as the vibrant entertainment hub it once was, according to the Bahamas Ministry of Tourism. The agreement is projected to be completed by summer 2022, with renovations and construction to follow.

FAMS & INCENTIVES

The Canadian chapter of the Society of American Travel Writers (SATW) is now welcoming both travel agents with extensive social media presence and PR into its ranks with special rates. The association connects public relations practitioners in the travel industry (including tourist boards, VCBs, hotels and transportation companies) with travel media (including print, digital and broadcast platforms) and members enjoy a host of benefits from professional development sessions to networking, discounts on travel-related products, and annual international conventions. For more information, visit satw.org or email mchapman@tourismmarketing.ca.

EVENTS

Having recently wrapped up their annual conference, “Unlock the Future,” at the Majestic Elegance Costa Mujeres resort in Cancun, Trevello Travel Group (formerly TPI), announced that its 2023 conference will be held at the Breathless Soul Cancun April 30-May 7.

PEOPLE/APPOINTMENTS

The Travel Agent Next Door reports that it raised approximately $46,000 at its recent conference for the charity Pencils for Kids. TTAND has been raising funds for Pencils for Kids for the last five years totalling $125,000, with this year’s contribution bringing it to $171,000.

DESTINATIONS

Antigua and Barbuda has launched a fast-track service for couples travelling to the destination during the islands’ ‘Romance Month’ next month. The experience – open to couples travelling to Antigua and Barbuda to get married, to celebrate their honeymoon, or to enjoy a romantic escape – will see them will be fast-tracked through immigration upon arrival at the airport in a special ‘Love Lane’ from June 1 to 30. Eligible couples are encouraged to pre-register prior to travel via the registration link that can be found HERE.

Jamaica’s signature summer music festival, Reggae Sumfest, is returning to the island’s calendar of events. Taking place at Catherine Hall in Montego Bay from July 18 to 23, the festival will be supported by the Ministry of Tourism through the Tourism Enhancement Fund (TEF) and the Jamaica Tourist Board (JTB. The event was last held in 2019.

Send info to baginski@travelindustrytoday.com

First published at Travel Industry Today

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