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ROUND-UP: Nov. 21-25, 2022

Among last week’s notable news, Destination Canada revealed this country’s latest travel recovery projections, Canada Jetlines will be seeing (rock) stars on an upcoming flight, Transat unveiled its summer 2023 program, Carnival ‘celebrated’ a new ship in Miami, and details emerged for New York’s upcoming Hotel Week.

NEWS

Despite ongoing challenges, Destination Canada says the recovery trajectory for Canada’s tourism sector is strengthening, bolstered by the lifting of COVID-19 restrictions and resilience in travel demand. Leisure travel is now expected to recover to 2019 levels by 2024 – considered a remarkable feat – one year earlier than previously forecasted in the Spring. Domestic travel market spending is expected to reach 92% of 2019 levels by the end of 2022 and fully recover in 2023.

Globally, the UNWTO says international tourism is on track to reach 65% of pre-pandemic levels by the end of 2022 as the sector continues to bounce back from the pandemic. An estimated 700 million tourists travelled internationally between January and September, reports the UNWTO, more than double (+133%) the number recorded for the same period in 2021. This equates to 63% of 2019 levels.

The Greater Toronto Airports Authority (GTAA), operator of Toronto Pearson International Airport, reopened Runway 06L/24R, the airport’s second-busiest runway, after an eight-month rehabilitation. The project is one of the largest in Pearson’s history and extends the life of the runway for another 30 years.

BY THE NUMBERS

With 275 flights a week to more than 40 destinations at the height of the 2023 summer season, Air Transat will strengthen its position in Europe, increase the number of connections to the South and the United States, and enhance its domestic service. At the height of the season, the airline will offer 88 direct flights weekly to 19 European destinations from Montreal, including 14 to Paris, seven to London and Rome, and six to Marseille. Out of Toronto, 73 direct flights a week are scheduled to 15 cities in Europe, including 14 to London, seven to Glasgow, Rome, and Paris, and six to Dublin and Manchester.

AIR

Gene Simmons

Passengers flying from Calgary to Toronto with Canada Jetlines on Dec. 8 will have a special opportunity to meet rock star Gene Simmons. The KISS co-founder will join passengers after boarding, where he will share samples of his new MoneyBag Vodka to all interested guests during an on-board meet and greet before departure. The spirit will be offered to all passengers aboard any flight in the Canada Jetlines network.

Air Canada has launched Live TV on select aircraft and domestic routes, notably offering customers the ability watch sports teams in real time or watch live national news onboard a flight. Live TV on Air Canada flights currently features six Canadian English and French channels which are available as part of the airline’s complimentary inflight entertainment programming.

Direct flights from Edmonton to eight different sun destinations are now underway with Sunwing, with the carrier serving Cancun (5x weekly), Liberia (1x), Los Cabos (3x), Mazatlan (1x), Montego Bay, (1x), Puerto Vallarta (2x), Punta Cana (2x), and Varadero (1x). Flights continue to various dates through April.

Air France and KLM are launching their first credit card in Canada – Air France KLM World Elite Mastercard – with partner Brim Financial. Issued and managed on Brim’s state-of-the-art digital platform, the card will provide Canadians with the ability to earn Flying Blue Miles with their everyday purchases.

Commercial flights between Colombia and Venezuela have resumed as relations improve between the South American neighbours following the election of Colombia’s first leftist president. The first flight to connect both countries was operated by Turpial, an airline owned by a retired Venezuelan air force coronel, while Satena, owned by Colombia’s air force, operated the second flight between the countries from Bogota’s international airport.

DEALS

Sandals Resorts and Beaches Resorts is offering instant savings available on select Air Canada Vacations packages booked through Dec. 4 for travel Dec. 1-April 30, 2023. Based on a 5-night minimum stay in any room category, savings range from $250 to $1,300 depending on the resort and room category. Booking ID: ACV Black Friday Instant Savings.

Starting today (Nov. 28), Uniworld Boutique River Cruises is launching its first-ever “12 Days of Christmas” event, with new offers and savings that will be unveiled each day through Dec.13. Travellers can check Uniworld.com/ca/12Days daily to explore new deals, which will vary widely across ships and over 15 itineraries around the world. Deals will include complimentary roundtrip airfare, category upgrades, trip extensions and savings of up to 50% off.

Contiki is celebrating the cyber holidays with up to 25% savings on over 60 trips worldwide in 2023. The sale continues through Dec. 1.

TOURS

G Adventures says it has made a significant financial investment in restorative travel technology start-up Reforest to start taking action via tree-planting. The Australia-based digital platform connects travellers with local communities that are actively restoring their ecosystems using reforestation.

This festive season, the Venice Simplon-Orient-Express will glide through some of Europe’s most picturesque winter-scapes on one-night journeys to Florence, Paris, Venice, and Vienna, marking the first December journeys for the Belmond Train. Expanding its annual season (typically March-November), the 10 routes available this December will include classic journeys from Venice to Paris and Vienna to Paris as well as recently launched routes to/from Florence.

HOTELS

Hilton has announced the reopening of the 478-room Hilton New York Times Square, located on 42nd Street in the heart of Times Square and easily accessible from Grand Central, Penn Station and several subway lines, The pet-friendly hotel is within steps of dozens of Broadway and off-Broadway shows, attractions and Restaurant Row. Soaring 44 stories above Times Square with some of the largest standard size rooms in the neighbourhood, guests will have incredible skyline and Hudson River views, with select rooms looking out to the iconic New Year’s Eve ball drop.

Expected to be Japan’s largest hotel and entertainment complex, the massive Tokyu Kabukicho Tower will open in spring 2023. It will feature two luxury hotels – the Hotel Groove Shinjuku and the Bellustar Tokyo. The complex will also feature the Bandai Namco amusement centre, concert venue Zepp Tokyo, two floors of live theatres and cinemas, and an entertainment food hall.

RESORTS

InterContinental Hotels Group and Iberostar Hotels & Resorts have struck a long term commercial agreement that will see 70 of the latter’s hotels and 24,200 rooms added to IHG’s system under the Iberostar Beachfront Resorts brand. Iberostar will become the 18th brand for IHG, boosting its global system size by up to three percent. Through the strategic alliance, Iberostar, a 65-year-old family-run business based in Palma de Mallorca, Spain, will retain 100% ownership, preserving its autonomy and values.

A new Blue Diamond Resorts resort is on the way in Jamaica. Hideaway at Royalton Blue Waters Montego Bay will open in late 2023 as a 352-room adults-only all-inclusive experience on the shores of Trelawny. Features include elevated suite amenities, day-to-night activities for adults, a world-class spa, fitness centre with modern equipment, unlimited international and local liquors in eight bars, and eleven exclusive culinary options including its signature Dorado restaurant, set to debut for the very first time in Montego Bay. Guests will also have access to the facilities of the neighboring Royalton Blue Waters Montego Bay, An Autograph Collection All-Inclusive Resort.

CRUISE

Carnival Cruise Line’s new flagship Carnival Celebration arrived at its PortMiami homeport and was christened by actress Cassidy Gifford Nov. 20. The festivities were befitting of the ship’s name and underscored Carnival’s year-long celebration of 50 years of fun. An innovative Excel-class sister to the ground breaking Mardi Gras, Carnival Celebration is launching year-round service from its hometown of Miami.

Viking has taken delivery of the company’s newest ocean ship, Viking Neptune. While identical to Viking’s other ocean ships, the Viking Neptune is equipped with a small hydrogen fuel system, making it the cruise industry’s first ship to test the use of hydrogen power for on board operations. The Viking Neptune will spend her inaugural season sailing itineraries in the Mediterranean before embarking on the company’s 2022-23 world cruise from Fort Lauderdale to London, which spans 138-days, 28 countries and 57 ports, with overnight stays in 11 cities.

ATTRACTIONS & THEME PARKS

Real Madrid has plans to launch its own theme park in Dubai. The famed Spanish football club announced a deal with Dubai Parks and Resorts to build a Real Madrid theme park to be inaugurated “in the final quarter of 2023.” The 14-time European club champion said the park will feature “Real Madrid-related attractions,” including “a museum, amusement rides and games of footballing skill” in addition to shops.

Disneyland in Anaheim, Ca., has added two new characters in wheelchairs to its iconic “It’s a Small World” attraction, saying it wanted a “more accurate representation of diversity around the world.” The animatronic dolls are among some 300 costumed dolls representing singing children from many nations featured in the attraction. One is in the Latin American section of the boat ride and the other appears in the finale.

AWARD WINNERS

The Saint Lucia Tourism Authority (SLTA) recently honoured its best-selling Saint Lucia travel advisors at the 2022 Global Piton Awards for the top-producing Saint Lucia Experts from the US, Canada, the UK, Ireland, and the Caribbean (photo). The awards were bestowed upon travel advisors who booked the most room nights from July 1, 2019, through Dec. 31, 2021, and the Canadians included Sharon Boissonneault, House of Travel; Lois Barbour, Travel Time, TPI; Alexandra, Maloney, Glenny Trave; Kim Hartlen, Kim Hartlen Travel, TPI; Pauline Denise Blacoe, Shine Travel.

The 1000, a club for the world’s most influential travel advisors, has named its inaugural supplier award winners. The 1000 Growth Partner Award (2023) is Abercrombie & Kent (finalists: Classic Vacations, Four Seasons Hotels & Resorts, Regent Seven Seas Cruises, Tauck, and Viking Cruises); and New Partner Award winner: Micato Safaris (finalists: Aman, Belmond, Explora Journeys, The Ritz-Carlton Yacht Collection, Southern Crossings). Nearly 500 suppliers were nominated.

DESTINATIONS

From Dec. 23 to Jan. 8, the pedestrian village at Tremblant, Que., will be transformed into a Christmas wonderland. With activities, stories, carols, and even a visit from Santa Claus, there will be something for all ages. Porter Airlines flights from Billy Bishop Airport in Toronto (YTZ) restart Dec. 16 and a new mobile app for Tremblant is set to be launched.

Reservations are now open for NYC Hotel Week (nycgo.com/hotelweek), Jan. 3- Feb. 12, featuring up to 23% savings off standard room rates are available at more than 140 hotels across all five boroughs. Featured hotels include Hard Rock Hotel New York; Lotte New York Palace; The Beekman, A Thompson Hotel; The Hoxton, Williamsburg; The Langham, New York, Fifth Avenue; New York Marriott Marquis; and more. NYC Hotel Week marks the countdown to the return of NYC Winter Outing, NYC & Company’s annual citywide value program, which also includes Restaurant Week, Broadway Week, Must-See Week. Bookings for all open Jan. 10 at nycgo.com/winterouting.

LAST WEEK IN TRAVEL HISTORY

In 1977 British and French Concorde airliners made their first flights with fare-paying passengers to New York.

Send info to baginski@travelindustrytoday.com

First published at Travel Industry Today

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