ROUND-UP: May 9-13, 2022
Last week, temperatures frayed over airport passenger congestion; countries continued to ease entry rules; air and cruise lines inaugurated new routes/ships; new hotels to note in LA and NYC; and new agent incentives were announced.
Tourism is rebounding across Canada, but won’t hit 2019 levels until 2023, according to the World Travel and Tourism Council. The WTTC says the sector will come within sight of pre-pandemic levels of activity in Canada this year but won’t match 2019 numbers until next year as bottled-up demand is uncorked across the globe. The international trade group forecasts that travel and tourism’s economic output in Canada will reach $138 billion in 2022, 88% of pre-pandemic figures. That number is estimated to hit $157 billion in 2023, nearly on par with the $158.1 billion of 2019.
Joining other trade groups, ACTA said the chaotic situation at airport security and customs, and significant delays in trying to renew passports, is creating a major obstacle to the recovery of travel and is urging the federal government to fix the problem “expeditiously.” ACTA president Wendy Paradis adds, “administrative hurdles such as these are unacceptable.” Canadian transport minister Omar Alghabra said staffing issues were not to blame, suggesting instead it was out-of-practice travellers and congested flight schedules.
The Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) is gradually resuming border services at select airports affected by the temporary measures put in place as a result of COVID-19. The CBSA resumed services at 47 small airports through May 15.
Starting May 20, arrivals in Israel in will no longer have to take a PCR test upon arrival (or quarantine for up to 24 hours while waiting for the results). Visitors will continue to have to produce a negative test before travelling to Israel, however the new guideline (as of May 10) also allows for an antigen test to be taken within 24 hours of travel.
Laos has reopened to tourists and other visitors. Vaccination certificates or virus tests will still be required for Lao citizens and foreigners entering the country. The tests (rapid antigen, taken within 48 hours of departure for Laos) are for unvaccinated travellers 12 years of age or older.
Oktoberfest, Munich’s famous festival of beer and Bavarian culture will take place this year from Sept. 17 to Oct. 3, marking a return after two years off due to the pandemic.
BY THE NUMBERS
The final week of April saw nearly 460,000 travellers touch down in Canada on international flights, more than 17 times the number of arrivals in the same week a year earlier but still just two-thirds of 2019 levels, according to the Canada Border Services Agency.
WestJet launched its long-awaited service to Rome with the departure of WestJet flight 32 from YYC Calgary International Airport on May 9. The first-ever scheduled connection between Calgary and Rome, operated on a 320-seat 787 Dreamliner, was celebrated alongside several dignitaries (photo). The service will operate during peak season up to three-times weekly. The flight was originally set to launch in May of 2020 but was postponed due to the pandemic.
Yukon’s airline Air North celebrated its first-ever scheduled direct service between Whitehorse, Yellowknife, and Toronto on May 10. The twice-weekly service is expected to help boost tourism to the territory.
The very first Air Transat flight between Quebec City and London took flight May 11. The service will operate weekly on Wednesdays from Quebec City and Thursdays from London-Gatwick, until late September.
Available through July 31, travellers can receive 15% off their stay at Hyatt hotels and resorts in Canada with the code 15OFF, redeemable for stays between before Sept. 6.
Sunwing’s latest promotional offer, valid on bookings made by May 29, offers clients a complimentary room in a variety of sun destinations. The free room upgrades are available on a first-come, first-served basis and upgrade categories vary by resort and are applicable to select destinations and resorts for new bookings on a seven-night vacation package (double occupancy) between June 1 and Oct. 31. Plus, agents can still earn STAR Agent Reward Points on final payment, in accordance with STAR Program Terms and Conditions.
G Adventures has announced its relaunch list for June and, for the first time since the pandemic, more than 1,000 departures are on the list, representing a return to 50% when compared to 2019. The June list sees the return of Borneo, Cuba, and Madagascar, as well as the reopening of the Thailand Hilltribes trekking route, and restart of the popular Mont Blanc hiking season. This follows May returns to Vietnam, Indonesia and South Korea, and Eastern Europe and “the ‘Stans.” Preferred partner travel agents are eligible for up to 50% off rates on departures (and 25% off for up to three travelling companions), some exclusions apply.
More than 9,000 new hotel rooms will be coming online in New York City this year, including the highly anticipated Aman New York, a new urban sanctuary opening Aug. 2 on Fifth Avenue; the Ritz-Carlton, NoMad, a new experience inspired by the essence of the new Madison Square Park coming soon; and the Hard Rock Hotel New York, which just opened this month. Additionally, the Renaissance Hotels brand will soon open properties in Harlem and Flushing; the Virgin Hotel New York City and Hotel Barrière Le Fouquet’s New York are expected to open this summer; Moxy Hotels will open properties on Manhattan’s Lower East Side and in Williamsburg, Brooklyn later this year; and The Fifth Avenue Hotel is expected to open this fall.
Short Stories is a new 66-room hotel in Los Angeles featuring contemporary guest rooms, a full-service destination restaurant, outdoor courtyard, pool oasis and event space. Just across the street from the Original Farmers Market and The Grove and a short walk from LACMA and the Academy Museum, the hotel lies in a prime location of LA’s thriving arts and culture scene.
W Dubai – Mina Seyahi is now open in Dubai. Situated on the scenic Arabian Gulf coast, the 31-story hotel boasts striking glass architecture, the property reflects the city’s historical, cultural, and social fabric in its 318 rooms and suites – all sea-facing with a private balcony. Highlights include the BAR-B Spa, sleek rooftop lounge ATTIKO (opening in June), and exclusive Malakite beach club and pool, set on a private beach (coming in 2023).
Effective May 16, all bookings made by AMR Collection guests that require a COVID-19 test to return to their home country will be able to schedule their test for a fee with the concierge on property. For bookings made prior to May 16 for guests who booked in a club level or xhale club, as well as guests staying at Zoëtry Wellness & Spa Resorts for three or more nights will have the previously communicated complimentary testing policy honored. Additionally, resorts will continue to offer quarantine reassurance for affected guests through reduced nightly rates and special services.
Norwegian Cruise Line celebrated the completion of its ‘Great Cruise Comeback’ with the sailing of Norwegian Spirit in the South Pacific on May 7. The departure was the 17th and final ship in its fleet to return to service after a 500-day pandemic pause. Since then, the brand has systematically relaunched its ships around the world.
A day later, Holland America Line welcomed its ninth and 10th ships back into service on May 8 and 12 respectively, as Oosterdam embarked guests in Trieste (Venice), Italy, and Zaandam set sail in Fort Lauderdale. Still to come: the Westerdam on June 12.
Canadians will soon be able to sail on MSC Cruises’ newest flagship – MSC Seascape – when it comes into service later this year in New York City. The ship’s Naming Ceremony will take place at New York’s Manhattan Cruise Terminal on Dec. 7, with a star-studded inaugural event featuring godmother Sofia Loren that will precede the ship’s inaugural Caribbean season. Travel agents from Ontario, Quebec and BC are invited to contact their BDM for a possible invitation to the event. After the ceremony, the ship will position to Miami for a winter in the Caribbean (eastern and western itineraries).
ATTRACTIONS & THEME PARKS
The world’s only official exhibition of ‘Frida Kahlo, The Life of an Icon’, is making its North American debut in Montréal on June 10 at Arsenal Contemporary Art Montreal. Tickets can be purchased at fridakahlomontreal.com with ticket price starting at $34.99 for adults (before taxes and fees), with discounts available for students, children, and families.
FAMS & INCENTIVES
Continuing throughout May, travel advisors can earn a $20 gift card for each new 2022 AmaWaterways FIT booking and earn a reward cruise when they confirm three FIT bookings made between Oct. 1 and Dec. 31 for 2022 sailings. The company will also give away complimentary river cruises with round-trip business class airfare to two lucky travel advisors who attend its popular Webinar Wednesday series during the month of May.
During May Travel Advisor Appreciation Month of May, Silversea Cruises is offering a CDN$250 bonus commission per booking on any 2022 voyage. In addition, it is extending travel advisors an invitation to sail on select 2022 Alaska and Northern Europe voyages for as low as US$150 p.p. per day.
“African Romance & Honeymoons” is the next webinar in a summer series presented by Africa Travel. Set to take place May 24, the webinar follows the inaugural session on May 10, with several more to follow through August. Collectively the tour operator (a division of TravCorp) is thematically highlighting “the many compelling reasons to visit Africa.” For more information, dates, and registration, click HERE.
Friends and colleagues of the late John McKenna are invited by his family to a Celebration of Life on June 25, 2-5 p.m. at the Fergus legion, branch 275. The hall is located at 500 Blair St., Fergus Ont.
Uniworld Boutique River Cruises has announced the appointment of Ernie Balint to Strategic Account Manager for Uniworld’s Eastern Canada market, and Peter Nowicki for Uniworld’s Western Canada market, effective immediately. Based in Toronto, Balint has worked in the travel industry for 10-plus years, including Collette Vacations, and G Adventures. Based in Vancouver, Nowicki has over 20 years experience in travel and cruises, including nearly a decade at Crystal Cruises.
H.I.S.-Red Label Vacations Inc. (RLV) and Merit Travel have named Lora Hamre as Director of Retail and Independent Consultant Program. An experienced business leader, Hamre assumed responsibilities on May 2, focussing on growing the retail and independent travel divisions and fostering new business development activities that drive greater engagement and opportunity.
Fremont Street Experience, the six-block entertainment district located in downtown Las Vegas, is ready to rock the city with the return of its epic free concert series, “Downtown Rocks.” The jammed-packed lineup is filled with fan favourite and chart-topping bands appealing to music fans of all ages set under the glow of the world’s largest digital screen, Viva Vision. The free concert series features top artists covering multiple decades of music including Rick Springfield, Jelly Roll, X Ambassadors, The Pretty Reckless and more. The series culminates with the Stone Temple Pilots. Downtown Rocks continues through the fall and additional dates and performances are expected to be added.
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First published at Travel Industry Today