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ROUND-UP: Sept. 12-16, 2022

ACTA’s hosted a successful Summit in Toronto, despite hundreds of agents who similarly turned out for Transat and WestJet road show events during a busy week for the trade. Michelin Guide made its long-awaited debut in Toronto, a flight strike disrupted travel in France, new insurance options from Sunwing were unveiled, and Goway revealed the name of its elephant (you’ll have to read on to find out!).

NEWS

Real estate firm CBRE says Canadian hotels will return to pre-pandemic revenues next year, two years ahead of its previous forecast. The firm is projecting the Canadian hotels market will end this year at 92% of the revenue per available room achieved in 2019, before the health crisis began. It is forecasting moderate revenue growth will continue into 2023 as hotel operators push for higher room rates and projects revenue per available room will hit $107 next year.

The long-awaited first Michelin Guide selection was announced with 74 Toronto restaurants from 27 different cuisine types. The full list of restaurants can be found in the Michelin Guide Toronto and includes one Two-Star restaurant, 12 One-Star restaurants, 17 Bib Gourmand restaurants, and 44 recommended restaurants.

Many domestic and some international flights were cancelled in France late last week as air traffic controllers went on a national strike over pay and recruitment issues. Air France said it cancelled 55% of its short- and medium-haul flights and 10% of its long-haul flights. The company could not rule out further delays and last-minute cancellations, it said in a statement.

BORDERS

New Zealand removed most of its remaining COVID-19 restrictions – including vaccinations for tourists – as the government signalled a return to normalcy for the first time since the pandemic began. However, those who test positive for the virus must isolate for seven days.

BY THE NUMBERS

More than a million visitors were expected in London Monday for Queen Elizabeth II‘s state funeral. Over 100 Heathrow Airport flights were cancelled to prevent aircraft noise disturbing the event at Westminster Abbey and the queen’s committal service at Windsor Castle afterward. The west London airport said 15% of its 1,200 flights due to take off or land on Monday were disrupted.

AIR

Travel agency bookings for Porter Airlines/Escapes, are now available through the FTS platform, creating a more seamless process, says the airline. Travel agents can expect a number of upgraded processes, including faster commission payouts; detailed reports, including export functions; simplified management of branches in a self-serve fashion; and centralized promotions. Agencies can register and create a Flex Travel Solutions profile online.

Fort Lauderdale and Punta Cana are set to join Swoop’s winter schedule with service to the south Florida city to begin on Dec. 16 and the Dominican Republic destination on Jan. 11 – both from Hamilton, Ont., (YHM).

A new payment partner for Air Transat will enable the company to expand payment options for travellers and improve the management of working capital, says Transat president and CEO Annick Guerard. Through the collaboration with Nuvei, Air Transat has secured card acquiring capabilities with enhanced payment processing in 39 markets globally, a number that is expected to grow in the future.

DEALS

During the entire month of October, dozens of San Diego hotels, restaurants, attractions, museums, tours, and transportation companies will participate in the 11th annual “Kids Free San Diego,” which provides parents an opportunity to stretch their wallets with a variety of unique deals for kids, ranging from complimentary admission at local attractions to free meals at restaurants to welcome amenities and experiences at area hotels, and much more.

TOURS

Sunwing has introduced a new coverage option – Worry Free Plus. Customers can still purchase the Worry Free plan for $49, offering one change to their package or cancelling altogether up to three days before departure, or upgrade to Worry Free Plus (for $99), which allows one change, including the ability to transfer their package up to seven days before departure, or cancel their vacation package up to three hours before departure. Also available is Manulife Global Travel Insurance + Worry Free or Worry Free Plus plans, from $99 and $149 respectively. These plans combine Worry Free coverage options, plus emergency medical and quarantine coverage for fully vaccinated passengers, and unlimited trip interruption coverage following departure, including baggage loss, damage and delay, plus flight and travel accident insurance.

The Globus family of brands will lift its policy requiring all guests to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19. Guests booking a vacation that begins on or after March 1 will no longer need to be vaccinated against COVID-19 to travel on a Globus or Cosmos tour or Avalon Waterways cruise.

Four Seasons Hotel New Orleans Wedding Second Line Parade; credit/ Christian Horan Photograph

HOTELS

Couples looking for a unique wedding experience can celebrate the occasion New-Orleans style at the southern city’s Four Seasons Hotel, whose event experts can help deliver lively local wedding traditions such as a second line complete with jazz band and custom parasols (photo). Ceremonies can take place indoors and outdoors, street-level, and high above skyline and couples can choose from an array of dynamic wedding venues to perfectly match their vision.

Family-friendly Circus Circus in Las Vegas has introduced and upgraded kiddie rides, including Twistin Tea Cups, Go Karts, and Kiddie Swings at The Adventuredome, the hotel’s unique indoor amusement park.

RESORTS

AMR Collection reports that an Environmental Sanitation Tax has been implemented by the government of Los Cabos, Mexico. The mandatory tax is $33.68 Mexican Pesos per room, per night (approximately CDN$2) regardless of the room occupancy. Reservations paid prior to Sept. 8 are exempt.

New plant-based menus have been launched across all eight Club Med Caribbean and Mexican resorts. The menus were developed following an intensive training led by renowned vegan chef Chloe Coscarelli.

CRUISE

General sales are now open for Silversea Cruises’ 136-day “Controtempo World Cruise 2025.” The luxury cruise line has created an innovative itinerary that will visit offbeat places – in offbeat seasons. The cruise departs from Tokyo on Jan. 13, 2025, and arrives in New York, its final port of call, on May 29, 2025. The 136-day voyage visits 30 countries and 59 ports on four continents. There are 33 overnight calls, seven exclusive-to-full-world-cruise-guests bespoke events, three optional overland tours and 23 world cruise maiden calls, all set aboard the 596-passenger “Silver Dawn.”

PONANT is collaborating with Smithsonian Journeys on a series of co-branded sailings for 2023. Each of the 21 itineraries will be led by two Smithsonian Journey Experts – whether an art historian, a solar astrophysicist, or an international relations expert – whose expertise and knowledge will shed new light on a destination and deepen travellers’ immersion in place. Among the new sailings is an eight-day cruise aboard Le Bellot to Panama and Costa Rica.

ATTRACTIONS & THEME PARKS

A world-record-setting themed roller coaster is part of Six Flags Fiesta Texas’s 30th-anniversary celebration in 2022. Opened this summer, the “Dr. Diabolical’s Cliffhanger” coaster has three 21-passenger trains to lift riders 45 m. in the air, then locks them in a face-first Cliffhanger hold just before dropping them down a 95-degree, beyond-vertical plummet at 100 kph. The machine travels on 760 m. of track through an Immelmann inversion, a 270-degree zero-g roll, a 23-m. near-vertical drop, a wild-banked turn, an extreme airtime hill, and a high-speed spiral finale.

INCENTIVES

Jamaica is celebrating the island’s 60th anniversary of independence this year and the Jamaica Tourist Board (JTB) invites agents to join in the celebrations. The “60 Nights of Surprises” and “60 Days of Fun Prizes” activations have been extended through Sept. 30 with daily prize giveaways and 20 trip giveaways to Jamaica. Each Jamaica booking during this time gives agents one entry into the draws.

EVENTS

Maureen Barnes-Smith and Gary Sadler of Sandals-Beaches, and Jamaica’s Raquel Queensborough, were among those on hand at the ACTA Summit

Around 330 delegates convened in the Metro Toronto Convention Centre Wednesday for the first in-person ACTA Summit since the pandemic. The mission: to assess their place in a world changed forever by the events of the past two and half years. Part town hall, info session, gripe fest, love-in, and pep rally, the gathering was universally acclaimed as a return to normalcy – a least a new normal. Additional Summits – free for agents (non-members are asked to donate to ACTA’s advocacy fund) – will be held in Richmond, BC, on Sept. 20 and Sept. 28 in Laval, Que.

Similarly, WestJet rolled out its roadshow Toronto, Calgary, and Vancouver, while Transat wrapped up a week of events in Halifax.

PEOPLE/APPOINTMENTS

ACTA announced its annual leadership awards at its Toronto Summit: 2022 winners included: Leisure Travel Agent – Angela HarrisonMowbray, CTC, Travel Escapes Vacations, Revelstoke, BC; Corporate Travel Agent – Monica Voigt, Marlin Travel (Richmond Rd.), Ottawa; Tomorrow’s Leader – Shari Tucker, Love the Way You Travel, Halifax; Ches Chard Education Award – Patricia Marques, CAA North and East; and Gerald Heifetz Advocacy Award – Shalene Dudley, Latitude Concierge Travel Ltd., Burlington, Ont.

Following the conclusion of its two-month naming contest for travel agents, Goway, in partnership with Kenya Wildlife Services, has announced the name of its sponsored Kenyan elephant: Tumaini, which means “hope” in Swahili. Every travel professional who made a booking to Africa with Goway over the past two months was invited to help name the sponsored elephant, which was selected by a panel. Ilisa Oman from Travel Planners International wins a free FAM trip to Kenya in November. Five other agents who participated will also be invited to join the FAM for a modest fee.

DESTINATIONS

Flight ride attraction FlyOver in Las Vegas is launching “Windborne: Call of the Canadian Rockies” on Sept. 26. The multi-sensory voyage uses a state-of-the-art moving platform with six degrees of motion that provides guests with the sensation of soaring via helicopter over the landscape as they feel every sweeping movement of the journey. Weather-simulating effects and location-specific scents enhance the experience as guests are suspended with their feet dangling in the air. A captivating 8K resolution film immerses riders into unexplored lands as they are surrounded by a 15-m. spherical screen.

Landmark Resort, one of the largest resorts in the Myrtle Beach area, has opened a massive new waterpark. Located on Ocean Boulevard opposite the resort, the seasonal attraction is an exclusive world-class amenity included for guests who stay through the on-site rental program. The park features three tall waterslides plus a jungled-themed aquatic play zone and kids slide. It will operate seasonally through Oct. 23, then again in early spring 2023.

LAST WEEK IN TRAVEL HISTORY

In 1936, Canadians Harry Richman and Robert Merrill completed the first Atlantic round-trip by air.

Send info to baginski@travelindustrytoday.com

First published at Travel Industry Today

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