Global Travel and Lifestyle News Network

ROUND-UP: Nov. 27-Dec. 01, 2023

In last week’s news, Porter and Transat airlines announced a special “alliance” taking advantage of their complementary networks; the latter also was also issued a strike mandate from bargaining flight attendants, though the company says not to worry yet; elsewhere, Canadian are flocking to Florida again amidst record numbers to the state; Copa Airlines announced a boost to flights from Canada; and the Airport Improvement Fee at YUL is on the rise.


ADM Aéroports de Montréal has announced an increase in the Airport Improvement Fee (AIF) from $35 to $40 for passengers departing from YUL Montréal-Trudeau International Airport, effective March 1, 2024. The airport says all revenues from the AIF will be used to fund infrastructure and facility upgrades to accommodate growth and enhance the quality and experience of airport users, as YUL continues to record the largest increase in passenger traffic among major Canadian airports.

Amid what the company characterizes as “cordial and respectable” bargaining, Transat says it is confident that agreement will be made with its flight attendants, who have voted to strike as early as Jan. 3, 2024. The union representing 2,100 flight attendants at Air Transat says workers voted overwhelmingly to approve a strike if they cannot reach a new contract with the airline.

The first commercial airliner to cross the Atlantic on a purely high-fat, low-emissions fuel flew last week from London to New York in a step toward achieving what supporters called “jet zero.” The Virgin Atlantic Boeing 787 flight was powered without using fossil fuels, relying on so-called sustainable aviation fuel made up largely of tallow and other waste fats.


Florida has set a visitations record in the third quarter of 2023, with an estimated total of 35.1 million people arriving in the Sunshine State between July and September 2023. Visitations were comprised of 32.2 million domestic visitors, 2.2 million overseas travellers and 666,000 Canadians. The number of overseas and Canadian visitors in 2023 increased 19.3% and 60.3% respectively from the same period in 2022. The total percentage increase of all visitors is at 0.7% from the first nine months of 2022.


Citing “highly complementary” route networks, Air Transat and Porter Airlines are creating a joint venture “alliance” that the companies say will transform the current Canadian aviation competitive landscape. To be implemented gradually in 2024, the arrangement will extend the airlines’ existing code-sharing agreement to give travellers access to a broader network through enhanced commercial collaboration and optimization. The feeder network strategy is designed to facilitate the acceleration of both airlines’ expansion in their respective markets: domestic and transborder short- and medium-haul for Porter, and international medium- and long-haul for Air Transat.

Air Canada has earned two honours in this year’s federal Employment Equity Achievement Awards: the Outstanding Commitment to Employment Equity award, recognizing Air Canada’s holistic strategy premised on the CARE approach encompassing community outreach, accountability, representation, engagement and belonging. And the Sector Distinction award recognizes that Air Canada is at the forefront of elevating under-represented peoples within the airline sector through initiatives such as its All-Black Flight to celebrate Black History Month, and others.

Inaugural flights: Porter Airlines further expanded its Florida offering from Eastern Canada with flights from Toronto Pearson and Ottawa to Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport (FLL) for the first time on Thursday (Nov. 30). And Lynx took flight to the Fort Myers from YYZ on Friday (Dec. 1). The low-coast airline will operate four flights per week between the cities on new Boeing 737 aircraft.


AmaWaterways has a ‘2-for-1 Land Package’ offer for guests reserving a full six- or eight-night land package in conjunction with select 2024 and 2025 seven-night river cruises in Vietnam and Cambodia. Guests reserving select ‘Charms of the Mekong’ or ‘Riches of the Mekong’ itineraries are able to take advantage of this offer until Dec. 31. It can be combined with Referral Savings, Loyalty Benefits and the Future Cruise Benefit Program. Guests not opting for the 2-for-1 Land Package offer may take advantage of 20% Savings on the cruise-only portion on select dates.

Crystal and Abercrombie & Kent have teamed up for a unique new offer: Through Dec. 31, guests who book a Crystal cruise will save 25% on a select Tailor Made luxury safari journey – by land or sea – with Abercrombie & Kent.


To complement its previously announced year-round flights to Morocco from Montreal starting next June, Transat has launched a suite of packages, hotels, tours, and excursions in the north African country. The offerings are designed to highlight the country’s unique cultural and historical richness, says Transat Chief Sales and Marketing Officer Joe Adamo, who adds, “Travelling is much more than a simple trip, it is an adventure that broadens our horizons.”

TTC Tour Brands has announced a new itinerary from Insight Vacations for 2024 plus new Make Travel Matter experiences, focused on culinary and active adventures across Canada and the US.  With these new additions Trafalgar, Insight Vacations, Costsaver, and Luxury Gold are zeroing in on more local focused experiences and now have at least one Make Travel Matter experience across 100% of their North American itineraries. In 2024, Insight’s new “Yellowstone Discovery” tour explores Montana’s Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks over the course of seven days. Guests on this itinerary will stay centrally located within the park at the Yellowstone National Park Lodge, allowing for easy access to all the park’s sites while discovering Mammoth Hot Springs, Old Faithful, the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone and more.


W Hotel

Now open, the W Hotel Edinburgh (photo) is the hotel brand’s debut property in Scotland. Located in the heart of the St James Quarter, the 12-storey structure symbolizes the festival spirit of Edinburgh through the unique exterior façade and features a lively destination bar, chef’s table, and outdoor rooftop terrace offering guests and locals 360-degree panoramic views of the historic skyline.

Relais & Châteaux has added 27 new members to its list of unique hotels and restaurants for 2023 and two of them are Canadian: pioneering Fogo Island Inn (Newfoundland), and Restaurant La Tanière3 (Rue Saint-Pierre, Old Quebec). Established in 1954, the R&C consists of 580 establishments in 65 countries that are owned and operated by independent entrepreneurs (most often families) “who are passionate about their craft and deeply committed to forging warm, lasting relationships with their guests.”


Karisma Hotels & Resorts will convert the Azul Beach Resort Negril in Jamaica into an adults-only property effective Jan. 7. The property will debut new programming and amenities specifically designed for adults, upgraded spa services, new wedding packages, and more.

A multi-property collaboration with Be Live Hotels will mark the growth of the Sunscape Resorts & Spas brand in the Caribbean, expanding the Inclusive Collection portfolio by nearly 2,000 rooms. Two Be Live Hotels properties are in the process of being renovated and transformed into Sunscape Resorts & Spas, with both Dominican Republic properties expected to open Jan. 15, 2024. Sunscape Coco Punta Cana is located Bavaro Beach while Sunscape Dominicus La Romana is set along the beach at Playa Dominicus, Bayahibe, with close proximity to Saona Island, Catalina Island and Altos de Chavón.


Over seven years in the making, including 900 days of construction, Royal Caribbean has welcomed Icon of the Seas to its fleet in gala hand-over ceremony from Meyer Turku shipyard in Finland. The ship will now sail to from Turku to Cadiz, Spain, where the cruise line for finishing touches before it heads to Miami where it will debut in January.

Travellers can now book Norwegian Aqua’s first voyages to the Caribbean with seven-day itineraries departing from Port Canaveral, Fla. Set to debut in April, 2025, voyages include calls to island destinations of Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic; Tortola, British Virgin Islands; St. Thomas, US Virgin Islands; and Great Stirrup Cay, NCL’s private island in the Bahamas. The ship will feature the world’s first hybrid coast, along with a digital sports complex and NCL’s first three-bedroom duplex suites.


In Scotland, The Gin Spa, located in Merchant City, Glasgow, claims to be the first-ever gin-inspired botanical day spa. The Gin Spa combines a detailed understanding of botanical ingredients with indulgent, bespoke spa treatments for “a rich, unique experience unlike any other.”


Riviera River Cruises is offering a new incentive for travel advisors through the month of December. Agents can earn a free FAM cabin on any 2024 cruise up to eight days – normally US$499 p.p. – by booking two cabins on a 2025 departure. Meanwhile, Riviera’s US$500 p.p. discount on 2024 or 2025 river cruises from eight to 15 days, including exclusive departures for solo travellers, has been extended.

Agents completing the New York City Tourism + Conventions Travel Trade Academy by Jan. 5 have a chance to win a pair of airline tickets to the city from Porter. Once you have received your certificate of completion, send it to to be entered into the prize draw. To enrol, click HERE.


Disney Canada’s Hayden Yates, Marlie Morrison and Jeff van Langeveld, International VP of Sales and Marketing for Disney Destinations

Disney Canada invited close to 350 travel advisors to a festive event in Toronto last week simply to ramp up the holiday spirit. “The big announcement is, there is no announcement, we’re just here to say thanks,” laughed Disney’s Canada’s Travel Industry Sales and Marketing Director, Hayden Yates, while Managing Director Marlie Morrison, added, “We know we’re not the simplest vacation, we can be complex, so thanks for that!” Agents were wined (well, hot chocolate and cider), dined, and treated to the Immersive Disney Animation show at Lighthouse Artspace.

TRAVELSAVERS’ Global Conference will be Sept. 24-26, 2024, at JW Marriott, Marco Island Beach Resort, Fla.


Penny Martin will be leaving her role as VP Agent Experience at The Travel Agent Next Door next August. The gregarious travel industry veteran has been with the company since its inception, working alongside Flemming Friisdahl as they built the company from scratch 10 years ago. But while Martin may be retiring from TTAND, she says “(I) hope to stay involved in the travel industry. Travel is in my blood!”


Now underway, the 41st annual Niagara Falls Winter Festival of Lights promises to dazzle visitors to the Falls with 51 nights of twinkling lights and 26 nights of spectacular fireworks. Over 3 million lights are set to illuminate various tourist districts around Niagara Falls with a focus along the Niagara Parkway & Dufferin Islands, plus a host of events for all ages throughout the holiday season.

The Grand Montréal Christmas Market runs through Dec. 30, bringing with it an impressive lineup of 80 Québécois artisans and revamped festival programming. Highlights include the 70th-anniversary celebration of the Santa Claus Parade, featuring artists from Cirque du Soleil’s renowned Corteo show, as well as several choirs, folk and jazz musical performances. All of this and more await, with festivities taking place in the heart of the city at Montréal’s Festival Square in the Entertainment District.


In 1999, Canadian Airlines accepted Air Canada‘s $92 million buyout offer, on the table since Oct. 19, ending one of the most heated corporate takeovers in Canada.

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First published at Travel Industry Today

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