Global Travel and Lifestyle News Network

ROUND-UP: Sept. 11-15, 2023

In last week’s news, Transat posted a record third quarter, Air Canada paid back some government debt, Britain looked ahead to record visitation numbers from Canada, Sunwing unveiled its annual ‘Best of the Best List,’ and ACTA revealed a long-discussed name change.

NEWS

Transat reported its highest net income ever for a third quarter and turned a profit for the first time since 2019, prompting a brighter financial forecast for the year. Healthy demand for leisure travel boosted revenue per passenger by 29% compared with four years earlier, an indication of fare hikes on tickets to Europe. To meet the sustained demand, Transat plans to expand capacity by nearly a quarter next year, increasing its fleet to about 40 planes.

TICO says it will launch a broad and comprehensive consultation process with registrants and stakeholders in the coming weeks about its funding framework and fee model proposals, including the Compensation Fund. Members can expect to receive a package during the first week of October that outlines the proposals that came out of the review. The Council further plans to host both virtual and in-person sessions to hear directly from members and will provide an opportunity to share feedback via an online survey.

The Association of Canadian Travel Agencies (ACTA) has expanded its name – now to be known as the Association of Canadian Travel Agencies & Travel Advisors. As befits the new moniker (no word if ACTATA will be the new acronym), the association will also officially call retail travel sellers “travel advisors” in all matters rather than “travel agents.”

BY THE NUMBERS

Canadian arrivals into Britain are poised to set an all-time record this year. And with an expected 944,000 visitors from this country forecast to find their way to the UK – significantly more than not only 2019 (874k), but also the previous high-water mark in 2017 (911k) – VisitBritain officials are eyeing the magic million mark in 2024. Canadian visitors are also expected to break the billion-pound spending mark this year, itself a 27% increase over the already record £934 million mark in 2022.

AIR

Beginning Dec. 15, WestJet, will again connect Kelowna, BC, and Las Vegas, reintroducing a popular transborder connection from the Okanagan, for the first time since 2020. The non-stop service will operate twice weekly, departing at 8 a.m. and 1:15 p.m. With the addition of service to Las Vegas, WestJet will operate a total of two direct transborder connections from Kelowna, with non-stop weekly service to Phoenix, Arizona.

Air Canada says it has repaid about $589 million in debt that it used to buy aircraft. The company says it repaid a $462-million loan from Canada’s Export Development Corp. that it used to pay for the purchase of 14 Airbus A220-300 aircraft. The airline also repaid $127 million in a partial repayment of financings supported by the Export-Import Bank of the United States that was used to buy four Boeing 787-8 aircraft.

Caribbean low-cost carrier Arajet – a new entrant in the Canadian market – will introduce connections to Argentina from Toronto and Montreal via its hub in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. The flights add to a roster of recently announced service from Canada to Sao Paulo, Brazil; Santiago de Chile; Cartagena and Medellin, Colombia; as well as several Caribbean islands, such as Jamaica, Aruba or Curaçao. The first flight from Toronto to Santo Domingo will be Oct. 24 and the first from Montreal will be Nov.  7.

DEALS

Last-minute deals for the upcoming 2023/24 Antarctic expedition season (photo) from G Adventures give travellers up to 30% off when booked by Sept. 30. Not forgetting those seeking out warmer climates this fall and winter, travellers can also save 15% on more than 100 trips across a range of G Adventures’ travel styles in destinations as varied as Sri Lanka, Vietnam, Peru, and overground Africa.

Visitors are invited to extend the summer with the Bermuda’s annual ‘Endless Summer Sale,’ which offers of up to 30% discounts on island-wide accommodations. Bookings must be made by Oct. 15 and can be found at gotobermuda.com.

TOUR OPERATORS

Sunwing Vacations’ popular ‘Best of the Best List’ is back. Based on a combination of travel expert recommendations, star ratings and customer feedback, the list is meant to serve as an “MVP of vacation inspiration” for customers and agents. The list is based more than 200 expert recommendations for the 2023-24 season – all in one place – from the best new resorts to award-winning hotels, best spots for family-friendly and adults only escapes, the most luxurious swim-up suites, 5-star properties, best solo travel destinations and more. See the full list at www.sunwing.ca/en/best-vacations.

Collette has launched its new Travel Advisor Reward Program, which will reward advisors for booking more travellers on Collette tours. Starting with reduced rates of 50%, advisors will receive bigger savings on land tours the more travellers they book within a single year. And they’ll have the opportunity to increase that number to 100% if they book over 40 travellers. Advisors will also receive reduced rates for companions, starting at 25%.

HOTELS

Marriott International opened its 50th hotel in Thailand. The debut of the Madi Paidi Bangkok, Autograph Collection reflects Marriott’s long-term vision for Thailand and its belief in the country as a world-leading travel destination. Marriott expects to add a further 10 hotels by the end of 2024 across its luxury, premium, select and longer stay brands.

IHG Hotels & Resorts has launched its new midscale conversion brand, Garner – an IHG Hotel. The brand is aimed at guests wanting great value stays at high-quality properties. Garner arrives at a lower price point than Holiday Inn Express, and will complement IHG’s new-build midscale brand, avid hotels, as the focus on accelerating growth in the segment continues. The first hotels are expected to open by the end of 2023. With a goal to expand globally, IHG expects the brand to reach an estate of over 500 hotels over the next 10 years and 1,000 hotels over the next 20 years in the US alone.

RESORTS

Saint Lucia’s Coconut Bay Beach Resort & Spa has a special double bonus offer for Canadian travel agents, who can earn rewards of up to US$112 for 7-night stays booked by Sept. 30 (valid for travel from Jan. 2 through April 16, 2024). Join the resort’s rewards program at CBAYRewards.com to qualify. Clients savings are also available on seven-day Air Canada Vacations packages from Toronto, starting at CDN$2179 p.p. The resort’s 3rd Annual Rum & Rhythms Festival will take place Oct. 15-28 featuring top Caribbean musical performers as well as a full schedule of rum tastings.

A new luxury villa collection has been unveiled at the Bequia Beach Hotel in St. Vincent & the Grenadines. Adjacent to the main property, Grenadine Hill, the villas are individually inspired by the native architecture, vistas, and precious natural materials of the islands. Villa ONE and Coral Hill accommodate up to 12 guests, Amenities include an infinity pool, gym suite, indoor and outdoor space, private butler and maid services, as well as access to all the services of Bequia Beach Hotel. Rock Villa, the third villa slated to be open in the collection, will be complete this fall.

CRUISE

Viking has announced voyages on its newest Nile River ship, the Viking Sobek, are now available for booking. Set to debut in 2025, the Viking Sobek will join the company’s growing fleet as its sixth ship sailing the popular 12-day ‘Pharaohs & Pyramids’ itinerary. With Viking’s 2024 Egypt season nearly sold out and 2025 selling well, strong demand has led to an early opening of the Viking Sobek’s inaugural season and 2026 departure dates across the entire Nile River fleet.

Carnival Cruise Line unveiled more of its 2025-26 deployment by opening bookings on sailings to Alaska from Seattle on two ships: Carnival Spirit and Carnival Luminosa. Several Carnival Journeys cruises aboard the two ships are also open for sale, including a transatlantic sailing from Barcelona, Spain to Miami and a 29-day transpacific voyage from Brisbane, Australia to Seattle that features several stops in Japan.

FAMS & INCENTIVES

Travel advisors and clients can get in-depth look at what’s in store for Uniworld Boutique River Cruises’ second annual ‘Rivers of the World’ cruise for 2024. The special virtual event, hosted by Uniworld President & CEO Ellen Bettridge, will take place Sept. 20 at 7 p.m. EDT and will feature interviews a closer look at the 55-day itinerary via ship tours and sessions with destination experts. The sailing departs on Oct. 3, 2024, from Lima, Peru and will take 40 guests on a journey spanning three continents, 10 countries, and four luxurious ships. To register visit:

app.livestorm.co/uniworld-river-cruises/rivers-of-the-world-2024-virtual-event.

The Cuba Tourist Board in Canada is offering travel advisors the opportunity to take part in two special FAM group trips to the destination that will take place in October. Both itineraries – the ‘Hidden Gems of Eastern Cuba,’ and the new destinations of ‘Paredon Grande & Cayo Cruz, combined with Trinidad’ – include departures from Toronto, will take place Oct. 17-24 and will cover different parts of the country.

EVENTS

Travel Leaders Network will continue to bring members and key suppliers together at a series of Owners and Managers Mixers this fall. Attendees will have a chance to amp up their education, training, and network at a series of 11 more event across the country. Following is the remaining schedule of mixers for 2023: Sept. 12 – Saskatoon; Sept. 19 – Vancouver; Sept. 26 – Moncton; Sept. 26 – Calgary; Sept. 27 – Halifax; Nov. 8 – St. Catherine’s, Ont.; Nov. 14 – Winnipeg; Nov. 21 – Montréal; Nov. 22 – Ottawa; Dec. 6 – Richmond Hill, Ont.; Dec. 12 – Vancouver. Member agents can register for upcoming mixers through CanadaNet.

PEOPLE/APPOINTMENTS

Rebecca Seeds and Kimberly Hartley

Passing the torch: After 14 years, Kimberly Hartley has officially stepped down as the representative for Visit Myrtle Beach in Canada. Taking over is Pulse Travel Marketing and account manager Rebecca Seeds, who joined Hartley on her last day at the ACTA Summit in Toronto last week.

Following the recent appointment of Nathalie Tanious’ as President & CEO, H.I.S.-Red Label Vacations Inc. (RLV) has announced a further series of executive promotions. They include Diane Lattavo as Chief Air Commercial Officer; Sam Youssef, now Sr. VP President of Marketing & Partnerships; and Elvi Cal, as Sr.  VP of Product & Commercial. Additionally, the company has announced a strategic restructuring of its IT department with Mike Miljak returning as Chief Information Officer (CIO) and Domenic Maggi as Sr. Director of IT Operations.

Scott Beck is leaving his post as President and CEO of Destination Toronto to head south for a similar role with the San Francisco Travel Association. The move takes effect Oct. 28. Beck joined Destination Toronto in 2019 to lead the sales and marketing efforts for Canada’s most visited destination and North America’s fourth-largest city.

DESTINATIONS

South Florida rail service Brightline has announced that its extension to Orlando International Airport will begin on Sept.  22. Passengers will be able to connect from/to Miami, Aventura, Fort Lauderdale, Boca Raton, and West Palm Beach. Inaugural rides, from US$79 one way are now available for booking at gobrightline.com. Brightline expects to offer commissionable fares in the near future, and to be bookable on GDS by the end of 2023. Go to www.gobrightline.com/travel-professionals#travelBenefits.

Two new travel guides have been released by British tourism travel organizations with the aim of helping the trade plan and book travel to the UK by receiving information from and directly connecting with local suppliers. The guides – from England’s Historic Cities and the Great West Way – are invaluable resources to destinations across Britain and can be accessed online.The new England’s Historic Cities Travel Trade Guide is available to download at www.englandoriginals.com/travel-trade and GWW can be found at https://www.greatwestway.co.uk/traveltrade/travel-trade-directory.

LAST WEEK IN TRAVEL HISTORY

In 1992, PWA Corp., parent company of Canadian Airlines, agreed to merge with Air Canada.

Send info to baginski@travelindustrytoday.com

First published at Travel Industry Today

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