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ROUND-UP: Oct. 10-14, 2022

Amongst last week’s news, ACTA put in its wish list for the upcoming federal budget; Air Canada revealed flights and destinations for Summer 2023; Holland America kicked off 150th anniversary celebrations; MSC announced new options for rooms at the upcoming World Cup; and New Orleans revealed FAM rates for agents during December.

NEWS

ACTA submitted a pre-budget consultation paper to the House of Commons Finance Committee for parliamentary review earlier last week. The submission included several key priorities including increased funding for travel and tourism labour support; improving the traveller experience through additional investments in airports, security, passport, and NEXUS services, allocating funding for hard-hit travel and tourism businesses, including travel agencies and independent travel agents, should border measures return; federal emergency loan deferrals and forgiveness for pandemic programs including CEBA and HASCAP; the implementation of a federal policy to protect travel agent commission in all future airline support programs; and more.

The UNWTO reports that international tourism continued to show strong signs of recovery in the first seven months of this year, with arrivals reaching nearly 60% of pre-pandemic levels. According to the latest UNWTO World Tourism Barometer, international tourist arrivals almost tripled in January to July 2022 (+172%) compared to the same period of 2021, at the same time recovering 57% of pre-pandemic levels.

A third cruise ship, the MSC Opera, has been hired to operate as a soccer fan hotel docked in Doha Port, Qatar, adding much-needed rooms for the World Cup of Football – one of the largest sporting events in the world – which is scheduled to start on Nov. 20. The 1,075-cabin MSC Opera will be available from Nov. 19 to Dec. 19. Prices are listed on MSC’s website starting from 470 Swiss francs ($650) p.p. per night during the group stage, with a minimum two-night stay.

BORDERS

The government of St. Vincent and the Grenadines has announced the removal of Covid-19 protocols for cruise passengers during the upcoming 2022/23 season. According to the tourism minister, St. Vincent and the Grenadines took the decision to relax its health protocols for arriving cruise passengers following a period of low infections globally and low Covid-19 related admissions to the island’s health facilities.

AIR

New European services to Brussels, Toulouse and Copenhagen highlight the strategic expansion and restoration of Air Canada’s international network for 2023. The carrier will also resume key Asia services to Tokyo-Haneda and Osaka as well as restoring frequencies to popular destinations in the Atlantic, Pacific and South America regions. Increased frequencies to Toronto to LHR, Edinburgh, Copenhagen, Barcelona, Madrid, Dubai, Tel Aviv, Algiers, and Narita; Montreal to Frankfurt, Geneva, Nice, Sao Paolo, and Narita; and Vancouver to Brisbane, Hong Kong, and Seoul.

BY THE NUMBERS

Once again London Heathrow is Europe’s busiest airport. While still not at pre-Covid numbers, The UK’s largest airport saw 5.8 million passengers during September, and while that beat Paris, Amsterdam, Frankfurt and Madrid it was 15% below 2019 passenger traffic. The London airport handled more passengers than other European hub between July and September.

DEALS

Rocky Mountaineer is offering $150 off per couple on select journeys in Spring and Fall 2023. Bookings made by Oct. 31 for travel in April, May, and October on both SilverLeaf and GoldLeaf service are eligible.

Clients booking their getaways to select Be Live Hotels in the Dominican Republic with Sunwing by Oct. 31 can take advantage of reduced rates and travel perks as well as have a chance to win one of two all inclusive vacations. The Be Live Advantage includes Distinctive Be Live Advantage bracelets, preferred room locations, weekly cocktail party exclusive to Sunwing travellers, Canadian sporting events broadcasted live every weekend at the resorts’ sports bar, poutine bar available at least three times a week, and free 24-hour Wi-Fi resort-wide. Travel counsellors can also earn 3X STAR Agent Reward Points on all new seven-night bookings to Be Live Hotels in Punta Cana, Puerto Plata, and La Romana, plus the exclusive chance to win a seven-night hotel stay with Be Live Hotels.

TOURS

With Japan reopening to tourists for visa-free, individual travel on Oct. 11, TTC Tour Brands, Trafalgar, Contiki and Luxury Gold are reporting Japan itineraries are filling up fast with several departure dates already sold out. “We’ve seen a rush to book with several of our itineraries selling quickly for 2022 and 2023,” says Melissa DaSilva, President TTC Tour Brands North America. “It’s encouraging to see yet another highly sought-after location become accessible to travellers once again…”

RESORTS

Grand Wailea

Grand Wailea, a Waldorf Astoria Resort has announced the phase-one completion of its property-wide refresh, marking the most extensive renovation since its launch more than 30 years ago. The iconic resort, perched along 16 hectares of lush, tropical gardens fronting Maui‘s Wailea Beach, presents a newly revitalized Botero Lounge at the heart of the resort, a total revamp of Grand Wailea’s exclusive Napua rooms, suites and private lounge, and the transformation of two popular dining venues into brunch restaurant, ‘Ikena, and grab-and-gourmet market, Loulu. A completely reimagined wellness and Spa experience will be revealed in 2023.

Sunwing’s Best of the Best List has added more featured content on destinations based on travel expert recommendations, star ratings and customer feedback. “Featuring more than 100 all inclusive resorts, destinations and local attractions, agents and their clients can use Sunwing’s Best of the Best List as a useful tool for vacation planning, whether for their last minute or future getaways,” says Andrew Dawson, President of Tour Operations for Sunwing. Final content will be published this week (Oct. 17).

HOTELS

The newly transformed Sheraton Centre Toronto Hotel earned a 5 Key Eco-Rating from Green Key Global, marking the hotel as a leader in sustainability in the hospitality industry. To earn the rating, Sheraton met all five of Green Key Global’s pillars of sustainability, initiating several new sustainability practices, many of which directly resulted from the hotel’s largest renovation in its 50-year history.

World of Hyatt loyalty members planning upcoming travel to destinations in Latin America and the Caribbean can register for Bonus Journeys through Nov. 15 to earn double points on qualifying stays of two or more nights at over 1,100 participating Hyatt hotels globally for stays completed by Dec. 20. Each Tier-Qualifying Night completed on eligible stays at more than 65 participating Inclusive Collection properties in the Americas during the same travel period will also count as two nights towards World of Hyatt status instead of one.

CRUISE

Holland America Line is celebrating the kick-off of its 150th Anniversary this month with an offer that includes popular perks and a sweepstakes where the grand prize winner can choose from among a selection of cruises up to 21 days. Through Nov. 15 guests who book 2023 and available 2024 cruises will receive up to a $150 onboard credit, a complimentary Alaska shore excursion and 50% reduced deposits. The 150th Anniversary offer is combinable with HAL’s “Have It All” premium package that includes shore excursions, specialty dining, a beverage package, and WiFi.

A well-known fixture on the Carnival Ecstasy is on the move. With the ship’s retirement this month, its vintage 1934 Rolls Royce will be relocated to Carnival Celebration, the cruise line’s newest ship, set to sail in November. The classic car has inspired thousands of passengers and photographs for over three decades.

FAMS & INCENTIVES

New Orleans & Company is offering travel advisor FAM rates to visit the Big Easy during December, inviting agents to experience the city during the festive holiday season. The offer includes special hotel rates across the city, plus offers from the extended hospitality community. “The holidays in New Orleans are an experience like no other,” says Kim Priez, Sr VP of tourism at New Orleans & Company. Travel advisors can also request a VIP Pass which provides discounts and special offers at restaurants, museums, and other popular attractions around New Orleans. To register for the travel advisors FAM trip, click HERE.

EVENTS

The world’s largest cruise trade conference, Seatrade Cruise Global, will host its 2023 conference and exhibition at the newly renovated Greater Fort Lauderdale Broward County Convention Center, March 27-30, 2023. The four-day event is expected to attract more than 10,000 attendees, bringing together cruise professionals, thought leaders and innovators from all facets of the industry.

PEOPLE/APPOINTMENTS

Nexion Travel Group-Canada named its 2022 Rising Star at its recent annual conference CoNexion, held at Disneyland Resort. This year’s winner is Anita Gray, owner of Bliss Travels, Toronto. Awarded annually, the award is presented to a Nexion member recognizes a new talent with great potential. “Anita is one of the most disciplined travel advisors I know,” said Mike Foster, President of Nexion Canada. “She has a passion for travel and loves to learn. Anita understands that successful travel advisors are the products of a lot of hard work and establishing positive supplier relationships, and that’s what propels her to the top.”

GOOD DEEDS

TravelBrands recently hosted its 7th Annual Charity Golf Classic at Eagles Nest Golf Club north of Toronto in support of the SickKids Foundation. With the support of partners and industry colleagues, the tour company raised $283,515 for the Labatt Family Heart Centre at The Hospital for Sick Children.

DESTINATIONSOne of New York’s most popular attractions has reopened to the public. The National Park Service began allowing visitors to go up into the Statue of Liberty’s crown last week, more than two and a half years since it closed during the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in March 2020. Other parts of the statue including the observation deck had reopened previously. Due to the popularity of the crown, visitors are required to make reservations in advance and there is a limited number of tickets available each day.

The Peak Tram, Asia’s oldest funicular railway and a must-visit attraction in Hong Kong, is again taking visitors on a scenic ride to the Peak with a redesigned tramcar, terminus ushers and upgraded facilities. The new Peak Tram offers passengers with a mesmerising panorama of Victoria Harbour and a fresh, enhanced experience, making it one of the latest developments in Hong Kong’s tourist scene.

LAST WEEK IN TRAVEL HISTORY

In 1913, the first commercial inter-city flight in Canada was made by W. Robinson from Montreal to Ottawa.

Send info to baginski@travelindustrytoday.com

First published at Travel Industry Today

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