ROUND-UP: Oct. 30-Nov. 3, 2023
Last week, WestJet said so long to Swoop while Air Canada hello to Dubai (from YVR); in other round-up news, Viking is seeking reimbursement for its COVID refunds, CATO continued to question TICO’s review in Ontario, and G Adventures launched its “biggest, boldest,” sale of the year.
The Canadian Association of Tour Operators (CATO) is continuing its campaign calling for the Ontario government to initiate a thorough review of the province’s Travel Industry Act, reiterating its belief that the ongoing TICO review is merely a “cosmetic change” that does not address that Act’s fundamental flaws, including providing adequate consumer protection.
India’s high commission in Canada has resumed processing some types of visa applications for Canadians applying from across the country as well as abroad. The decision came a month after New Delhi suspended the services in Canada and for Canadian citizens worldwide. The high commission said it is resuming business, medical and conference visas, as well as entry for people with family ties in India. Restrictions seem to remain in place when it comes to visas for tourists, students, journalists, and missionaries.
Viking filed a lawsuit against Arch Insurance Group alleging its failure to fulfill its financial obligations during the COVID-19 pandemic by refusing to refund Viking unearned travel protection premiums. The cruise line says it issued compensation for travel protection premiums in excess of US$3 million.
A survey from Ipsos for US Travel shows nearly two-thirds of recent air travellers (65%) are willing to share biometric information such as fingerprints and facial recognition if it reduced the airport security process by 20 minutes.
WestJet’s “ultra-not-expensive” airline Swoop said farewell last week, completing its last day of operations on Oct. 28 before joining WestJet’s mainline fleet as part of the company’s evolutionary exercise that now sees it moving on to integrating newly purchased Sunwing Airline as well. The airline was launched in 2018.
Porter Airlines launched daily, roundtrip service between Toronto Pearson International Airport (YYZ) and Tampa (TPA).
Inaugural service Air Canada from Vancouver to Dubai took flight on Oct. 28 linking Western Canada with the Middle East with four-times weekly service aboard Boeing 787 Dreamliner aircraft. This new service complements Air Canada’s existing daily service between DXB and Toronto. Outbound flights operate from YVR at 21:15 on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays, returning at 02:05 Mon.-Wed.-Thur.-Sat.
United Airlines has begun boarding passengers in economy class with window seats first, a move it says will speed up boarding times for flights. The plan, known as WILMA – for window, middle and aisle – was tested at four domestic locations and one hub and was deemed to shave up to two minutes of boarding time. The change will begin with passengers in Group 4. Those with window seats will board first, followed by those with middle seats and then those with aisle seats. United said that multiple customers on the same economy reservation, such as families, will be allowed to board their flight together.
BY THE NUMBERS
Air Canada reported surging profits in its latest quarter as consumers continued to spend on travel, despite higher inflation and interest rates weighing on their wallets. The country’s biggest airline saw net income for its third quarter jump to $1.25 billion from a half-billion-dollar loss in the same period a year earlier. Passenger revenues for the quarter ended Sept. 30 leaped 22% year-over-year. Adjusted earnings also surpassed those from 2019, the last year before the COVID-19 pandemic wreaked havoc on the travel industry.
Calling it it’s “biggest, boldest sale of the year,” G Adventures is offering travellers up to 30% off a large selection of trips worldwide throughout November for trips departing up to April 30. For those looking to travel later in the year, there will be a 10% discount on select trips departing between 01 May and 30 June 30 2024. For a full list of trips on sale, please visit: https://www.gadventures.com/travel-deals/cyber-sale/.
Palm Island Resort & Spa in St. Vincent and the Grenadines is offering a US$1,000 air credit for all-inclusive package bookings made by Nov. 15 for travel through March 31, 2024. For reservations and more information, call 800-858-4618 or visit palmislandgrenadines.com.
Travellers who like being in the driver’s seat can explore Jamaica’s scenic roadways from behind the wheel during a guided MINI Cooper Tour with Island Routes. Tours begin with a safety lesson and orientation session before drivers take the wheel in a bright green MINI Cooper convertible to zip along the island’s stunning coastline. Half-day and full-day experiences include multiple pitstops to sample roadside jerk, check out waterfalls, or take a bamboo raft along the Martha Brae River. These fully guided tours are an ideal activity for travellers who enjoy driving in a new destination but want to avoid the added stress of renting a car and navigating unfamiliar roads.
Railbookers has unveiled its latest set of interactive online brochures, featuring itineraries inclusive of rail transportation, hotel accommodations, sightseeing and activities with options to customize and enhance each trip. Among them are “Worldwide Independent Rail Vacations,” “Cruise Extensions,” and updated brochures that explore in-depth two of its most popular destinations, the Italy and Switzerland by Rail guides, as well as a brochure dedicated to luxury rail journeys. Travel agents can view all the shareable brochures online, along with resources curated for agents, HERE.
As of Nov. 10, travellers visiting (or stopping over) in Fort Lauderdale will have a new hotel option by the airport. The 138-room Aloft Hotels by Marriott at Fort Lauderdale Airport is located at 501 SE 24th St. about five kilometres from the airport and 2.5 km the Port Everglades cruise terminals. Amenities include rooftop pool, fitness centre and yoga terrace.
Dubbed Dubai’s “vertical resort,” One&Only One Za’abeel is due to launch operations in December. The unique urban hotel reimagines the traditional horizontal resort concept with a groundbreaking vertical design. Anchoring the architectural marvel is The Link, the world’s longest cantilever, an avant-garde feat of engineering, housing dining concepts, leisure experiences, and a rooftop infinity pool offering breathtaking 360-degree views of the Dubai skyline.
The iconic Sam Lord’s name has returned to Barbados with the opening of Wyndham Grand Barbados, Sam Lord’s Castle Resort & Spa, built on the former site of a notorious 19th-century pirate enclave. The secluded, ocean-front hotel marks Wyndham Hotels & Resorts’ entrance into Barbados and has begun welcoming its first guests ahead of a formal Grand Opening in early 2024. Nestled on the Southeastern side of the island of Barbados, 15 minutes from the Grantley International Airport, the all-new construction, all-inclusive resort offers 422 guest rooms, including 37 suites with sophisticated architecture and sustainable designs, along with large ocean views and lanai-style private balconies.
RIU Hotels has re-opened the Riu Palace Macao in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic after a full renovation The all-Inclusive adults-only hotel was last remodelled in 2012. Guests can now enjoy fresh decor, new menus, and Elite Club by RIU, an exclusive service with perks and spaces designed for guests looking to take their experience at RIU Hotels to the next level. Built during the renovation and coinciding with the hotel’s reopening, the hotel chain is also inaugurating its largest wellness centre open to all guests of RIU Complex hotels in Punta Cana
Citing customer demand, Le Boat will offer cruises in 2024 on Ontario’s Trent Severn Waterway. Le Boat is Europe’s largest boat rental company and will boast a fleet of eight Luxury Horizon Cruisers from their base at Horseshoe Bay Marina in Peterborough. Boats range in size from two to four bedrooms and will offer several suggested self-sail cruise routes throughout the region, starting at $2,800 for a week. Shorter and longer itineraries are also available (no boat licenses or prior boating experience is required). Sales are open for sailing starting in May and agents earn 10% commission. A travel advisor site is coming soon filled with agent tools, images, and more.
MSC Cruises has become the first major line to be awarded the Green Marine Europe Certification, a voluntary environmental certification program for the maritime industry. Green Marine Europe is a partnership between North American environmental certification program Green Marine and the Surfrider Foundation, a leading European Union NGO in ocean and maritime protection.
FAMS & INCENTIVES
TravelBrands’ Encore Cruises has unveiled the latest addition to its portfolio with Seabourn. Travel agents booking Seabourn through TravelBrands until Nov. 12, will earn a bonus commission of $250.
For each booking made in November, Riviera River Cruises will enter travel advisors into a draw for complimentary cabin on a 2024 departure and US$1,000 p.p. airfare credit, up to $2,000 per cabin. And from Nov. 13 to 30, advisors will receive a $100 gift card for bookings. For additional information about Riviera and its European river cruises, call 888-838-8820 or visit https://www.rivierarivercruises.com/.
Toronto residents – including travel advisors – are invited to get an exclusive taste and feel of the Florida Keys & Key West with a limited-time Tiny Home Experience set for Monday, Nov. 6, through Wednesday, Nov. 8. The Florida Keys-themed Tiny Home will be positioned at Yonge-Dundas Square from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Keys representatives will play host within the Tiny Home, serving up free samples of key lime pie (while supplies last), offering select giveaways and prizes, and sharing the latest updates from the Florida destination.
Visit Orlando, along with theme park, hotel, transportation, and attraction partners, will host a series of training and marketplace events in Calgary, Toronto, and Halifax from Dec. 3 to 8. The “Orlando Canadian Sunshine Tour” marks the return of Visit Orlando to both Calgary and Halifax, which have new airlift to Orlando. Events are as follows: Calgary: Dec. 4, 5:30 p.m. – The Westin Calgary Airport; Toronto: Dec. 6, 5:30 p.m. – Chateau Le Jardin; Halifax: Dec. 8., 9 a.m. – The Prince George Hotel. Food and drinks will be provided and those in attendance will be entered for a chance to win a trip on the 2024 Visit Orlando Ultimate Fam. To qualify, they must complete the Orlando Travel Academy before attending the event. Register by Friday, Nov. 10 at https://cvent.me/gg4BbN.
Olivier Rochefort is the new Vice President of Operations for Atlific Hotels. Rochefort held a similar post at Crescent Hotels and Resorts, overseeing hotel operations at the corporate level, while managing brand and owner relations for the company’s Canadian portfolio.
Greek Islands and the Eastern Mediterranean cruise line Celestyal continues to invest and expand in its key markets with the appointment of Brandon Townsley as Vice President & Managing Director – North America.
Canadian residents can take advantage of a limited-time offer to explore the Bahamas Out Islands at a discount. Pre-booked hotel stays of four nights or longer at participating Out Island properties can earn up to two free airline or Bahamas Ferries tickets from Nassau. The booking window is through Nov. 13 for travel until April 30. For details click HERE.
Peru is already recognized as a destination with a culinary scene that’s among some of the finest in the world. This culinary reputation was further solidified with Lima’s Central restaurant crowned The World’s Best Restaurant 2023 – and with three more Lima restaurants making the list. Led by award-winning chefs and spouses Virgilio Martínez and Pía Léon, Central showcases the diverse flavours of Peru’s indigenous ingredients sourced from 15 different altitudes. The restaurant has made remarkable progress since its initial appearance at number 50 on the list in 2013 and made history by being the first Latin American restaurant to secure the top spot in 2023.
LAST WEEK IN TRAVEL HISTORY
In 2004, the last passenger flight took off from Mirabel International Airport just outside Montreal as it shut down after 30 years. Millions of passengers had been expected to pass through Mirabel’s modern terminal after it opened in 1975, but it didn’t live up to its promise. The airport authority was looking for developers to offer ideas for the facility.
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First published at Travel Industry Today