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ROUND-UP: May 30-June1, 2022

Last week in travel: Hurricane Agatha made unwanted history; new Sandals and Club Med resorts opened their doors; thumbs up for Flair; and, Canada pushed border measure back at least another month.

NEWS

COVID-19 restrictions are going to remain in place at the border for at least another month. They include vaccine mandates, random COVID-19 tests, and a requirement that international travellers answer pandemic-related questions on the ArriveCan app. The Canadian Airports Council wants the government to end all restrictions, saying they are causing massive customs delays across
the country.

Hurricane Agatha made history as the strongest hurricane ever recorded to come ashore in May during the eastern Pacific hurricane season, making landfall on a sparsely populated stretch of small beach towns and fishing villages in southern Mexico. The storm hit Oaxaca state on May 30 as a strong Category 2 hurricane with maximum sustained winds 165 kph, then quickly lost power as it moved inland over the mountainous interior.

New research from the Mastercard Economic Institute has revealed global leisure and business flight bookings have surpassed pre-pandemic levels, while spending on cruise lines, buses, and trains have also seen sharp improvements this year as COVID restrictions loosen. The report says if flight booking trends continue at the current pace, an estimated 1.5 billion more passengers globally will fly in 2022 compared to last year.

BORDERS

Canada’s northernmost border opened June 1 for the first time since before the pandemic began. The Little GoldPoker Creek border crossing is only opened during the summer months, and because of COVID-19, it hasn’t been in operation since Sept. 22, 2019. Located on the Top of the World Highway, the border crossing separates Yukon from Alaska and is the main tourist route for those visiting Dawson City, the small mining and tourism town along the Yukon River, about 533 km north of Whitehorse.

Also, effective June 1, travellers to Cyprus are no longer be required to show either a valid COVID-19 vaccination or a recovery certificate and won’t need to produce a negative recent COVID-19 test.

BY THE NUMBERS

The Canada Border Services Agency reports that more than 295,000 Nexus applications have yet to be processed due to ongoing office closures prompted by COVID-19. Unlike passports, the delay comes despite a sharp downturn in applicants during the pandemic.

TRAVEL AGENTS

The Travel Agent Next Door has signed a new partnership with E-Travel Technologies, a company that specializes in risk management solutions, offering travel advisories to travel professionals with real time alerts to keep clients informed of world events immediately. TTAND has secured exclusive pricing for its independent agents who wish to utilize the service.

AIR

KLM premium comfort class

KLM Royal Dutch Airlines has unveiled its new Premium Comfort Class, an intermediate cabin offering more space, luxury, service options, comfort, and privacy than Economy Class (photo), at lower prices than World Business Class. The inflight class features its own cabin, offering a new type of seats as well as distinctive service and catering concepts. Depending on the aircraft type, capacity will vary from 21 to 28 seats, which will be wider than standard seats, offering more legroom, a larger screen, and a footrest. Seats can also recline further than Economy Class seats. The reconfiguration of aircraft cabins is underway.

Having launched its inaugural flight to Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport (ORD) from Toronto Pearson International Airport (YYZ) on May 30, Swoop will fly twice a week between the two cities, becoming four times weekly effective June 20.

A federal regulator ruled that Flair Airlines is Canadian. The decision by the Canadian Transportation Agency means that Edmonton-based Flair can keep its operating licence, bringing an end to Flair’s months-long battle to clarify its ownership and governance structure or lose its right to fly in this country.

DEALS

Holland America Line is celebrating having a full fleet back in service as of June 12 with a “Celebration Sale” offering cruise fare discounts, onboard spending credit and reduced deposits on most 2022 and 2023 departures. Bookings must be made by June 30 to take advantage of the promotion, which includes up to 50% off cruise fares from this summer through available 2023 sailings, plus $50 onboard spending money per guest and 50% reduced deposits.

TOURS

With Queen Elizabeth’s Platinum Jubilee, marking 70 years on the throne, at hand, Evan Evans Tours notes that it is offering a collection of royal tours and special exhibits in celebration of the anniversary. Tour activities range from afternoon tea overlooking Buckingham Palace, to visiting the palace itself, as well as Windsor Castle and a royal-themed walking tour of London with a Blue Badge guide.

Over the Rainbow in the Castro” is a new self-guided audio tour from the San Francisco Chronicle. This stroll through San Francisco’s preeminent gaybourhood is reported and narrated by Chronicle arts & culture writer Tony Bravo. From the plate-glass windows that made history to the queer icons engraved in the sidewalk, Bravo guides users through the Castro’s story and its streets, spilling tea on local secrets and celebrating the spirit of defiance that still endures today. The GPS-based audio walking tour is hosted on the VoiceMap app.

HOTELS

IHG Hotels & Resorts has announced the opening of its second voco hotel in Italy, voco Venice Mestre – The Quid. Located close to the bypass that connects Mestre to Venice Marco Polo airport and the areas main train station, the property combines the reassurance of a big brand with the informality and charm of a boutique hotel. As IHG Hotels & Resorts’ fastest growing brand since launching in 2018, voco now has 35 open hotels around the world, with a further 36 hotels in the pipeline, due to open in the next three to five years.

Opened May 24, The Slate Denver, Tapestry Collection by Hilton, is located across the street from the convention centre at the former site of the historic Emily Griffith Opportunity School, featuring 251 upscale guest rooms, literal old school-designed hallways, inspired meeting spaces, and a restaurant, bar, and lounge. It also feature a new outdoor retail block, Emily’s Alley, which will host several seasonal activities, including music performances, artisan showcases, farmers’ markets and more.

RESORTS

Sandals Royal Curaçao welcomed its first guests on June 1. It is the 16th resort in the Sandals portfolio. Located within the exclusive 1,200-hectare Santa Barbara estate, 25 km from the Airport, the resort includes a number of first, including a “island-inclusive” dining program and complimentary MINI Coopers. (Stay tuned, TIT will be visiting the resort later this month).

Club Med’s newest resort, Club Med Magna Marbella, welcomed its first guests on May 20, marking the all-inclusive brand’s return to Spain, where the first Club Med resort was founded on the Balearic Islands in 1950. The 485-room four-star family-friendly property features 14 hectares of colourful gardens and terraces offers spectacular views of the Mediterranean Sea, and Sierra Blanca at every corner.

CRUISE

Carnival Cruise Line announced says it is taking reservations again for weddings and vow renewals (photo) on sailings starting in September. The program had been suspended since March 2020, before the line’s pause in guest operations. The wedding program, while available across the fleet, will initially be limited to ships sailing from the US.

River cruise line AmaWaterways is extending its Portugal river cruising season through December with 14 additional sailings round trip from Porto on board AmaDouro. Discounts are effect through June 30.

ATTRACTIONS & THEME PARKS

Celebrating its 30th anniversary, “Fantasmic!” – Disney’s longest-running nighttime spectacular – is once again igniting the night at Disneyland. In this beloved show, Mickey Mouse dreams he is the Sorcerer’s Apprentice and faces dastardly villains, including a 14-m., fire-breathing Maleficent dragon. Central to the magic of “Fantasmic!” are three mist screens, each 18 by 9 m. tall, which bring moments from Disney stories to life on the Rivers of America.

FAMS & INCENTIVES

Canadian travel agents are eligible for 10% bonus commission on all new MSC Cruises’ bookings (on qualifying sailings), including the cruise portion of Fly & Cruise packages, made by July 31 for sailings departing through May 31. 2023.

EVENTS

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.

The Annual General Meeting for the Travel Industry Council of Ontario (TICO) will be held online at 5 p.m. on June 28. Members in good standing are entitled to participate in and vote at the meeting while members of the public are also invited to attend. Anyone wishing to access the webcast is required to register at https://live.webcastplatform.com/go/TICOAGM2022. Registration will close on June 24, at 5 p.m.

PEOPLE/APPOINTMENTS

Air Canada Vacations has announced the appointment of Marco Gagnon to the role of General Manager, Sales – Eastern Canada. He takes the place Guy Marchand, who is retiring at the end of June. Gagnon has been an area sales manager and groups supervisor at ACV; in his new role, he will be responsible for the implementation of sales strategy in the Quebec and Atlantic markets.

Discover the World has appointed two new national sales manager. Kim Barbisan boasts four decades of travel industry experience, including having worked at Travelsavers, Ensemble, WestJet, and Cruise Strategies. She will head up sales and marketing for Tradewinds Voyages and Hebridean Island Cruises. Meanwhile, Kevin Pohlmann will take the lead for Singapore Airlines in Western Canada. In his career, he has worked for Cathay Pacific and mostly recently as a BDM for WestJet.

DESTINATIONS

With 44 varieties of mango grown on the island, the flavourful fruit is celebrated annually at the Nevis Mango Festival, taking place July 1-3 this year. It’s an entire weekend totally dedicated to the humble mango, as some of the island’s (and the Caribbean’s) best chefs make some deliciously creative cuisine with the fruit. Other activities include mango-eating competition mango-inspired cocktail competition. Meanwhile, Nevis Culturama, the annual Carnival, takes place July 21-Aug. 02 celebrating all aspects of Nevisian arts and culture, including a spectacular parade.

The tourism sector of Jamaica is set to invest US$200 million into infrastructure upgrades and new product development in the burgeoning parish of St. Thomas, located on the southeast coast of the island. Tourism officials recently announced for a large-scale revitalization project intended to position the parish as a new prime tourism destination. Plans for enhancing the region’s lifestyle tourism attractions include developing Rocky Point Beach and heritage sites such as Fort Rocky and the Morant Bay Monument, establishing way-finding stations in Yallahs and rehabilitating the road to the Bath Fountain Hotel and Spa – a popular wellness resort renowned for its healing mineral waters.

Send info to baginski@travelindustrytoday.com

First published at Travel Industry Today

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