ROUND-UP: Sept. 25-29, 2023
The global travel and tourism industry celebrated World Tourism Day, Sept. 27, while other round-up items include an Expedia found that travel is more stressful than, well, read on to find out. Also, global rankings were not kind to YYZ and YUL, Club Med sets its sights on South Africa, and an iconic hotel brand opened its doors in a popular American city.
World Tourism Day 2023 was celebrated on Sept. 27 with the global sector to coming together around the theme of Tourism and Green Investments. In the biggest celebration of the global travel and tourism industry to date, official proceedings were held in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, while United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) member states marked the occasion in every region through a range of special events and programs.
Nav Canada proposed reducing customer service charges by close to 6%, which would claw back some of an almost 30% implemented on Sept. 1, 2020, during the pandemic when global air traffic was significantly reduced. The proposal calls for decreased service charges averaging 5.57% across its service categories to take effect on Jan. 1, 2024.
The union representing 11,000 Canadian pilots says a newly streamlined immigration program that looks to fill job gaps in transport fails to cut to the core of a dire labour shortage in aviation. Tim Perry, president of the Air Line Pilots Association‘s Canadian chapter, says recent changes to the country’s Express Entry system may offer a temporary fix but still amount to what he calls a “Band-Aid solution” to the lack of flight crews.
A new survey reports that four in 10 (39%) Canadian travellers find air travel to be more stressful than a flooded inbox or sleeping through an alarm. Expedia‘s 2024 Air Travel Hacks Report of 1,000 Canadian flyers also says almost half (43%) of air travellers find the process of securing a good flight deal especially stressful, and 17% even checked back on ticket prices after booking to see if they could have saved more.
BY THE NUMBERS
The Bahamas recorded more than 5.89 million arrivals from January through the end of July, putting the country well on the way to closing out the year at 8 million-plus visitors, reported the country’s ministry of tourism. July year-to-date overall arrivals paced 59% ahead of 2022 and 30% ahead of 2019, the busiest year on record. Of the 5,893,118 total visitors who came to The Islands of The Bahamas in the first seven months of the year, 1,133,494 arrived by air and 4,759,624 by sea. Canada ranked as the destination’s second largest market after the US, and ahead of the UK/Europe.
Toronto and Montreal airports were near the bottom in the race for passenger satisfaction this year, according to a study by J.D. Power. The study ranks Toronto Pearson Airport second from the bottom (19th of 20) in the category for the largest airports that see more than 33 million passengers per year. Montreal-Pierre Elliott Trudeau Airport stood third from the bottom in the next category, with passenger traffic between 10 million and 32.9 million per year.
Air Canada says it has placed a firm order for 18 Boeing 787-10 Dreamliner aircraft that will be used to replace older, less efficient wide-body aircraft in its fleet. The agreement also includes options for an additional 12 Boeing 787-10 aircraft.
Beginning Feb. 1, 2024, WestJet will operate non-stop service between Victoria and Las Vegas, twice weekly, departing Thursdays and Sundays. The service reintroduces WestJet’s first transborder connection from Vancouver Island since 2017. Meanwhile, West Coast Canadians will also have an easier time to get to Loreto thanks to weekly nonstop seasonal service from Calgary to Baja Sur Loreto starting Nov. 3. Through April 26, the nonstop flight will operate once a week and is scheduled to depart YYC at 10:25 a.m., arriving in Loreto by 1:25 p.m. (local time).
SWISS is set to expand its route network in its 2024 summer schedules, adding two new long-haul destinations – including Toronto – to be served from Zurich. YYZ service will begin May 10. The new flights, provisionally planned for the summer schedule only, will be provided daily except Mondays and Wednesdays using Airbus A330 equipment. The new westbound SWISS service will depart from Zurich at 09:55 and arrive in Toronto at 13:00 (both times local). The corresponding eastbound service will leave Toronto at 16:35 and arrive in Zurich at 06:30 the following day.
EMA Marketing has added 124 on Queen Hotel & Spa in Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ont. to its portfolio. Recently featured on “The Amazing Race,” the luxury property spans an entire city block on Queen Street and boasts a renovated Gate House (photo) and 32 new guestrooms for a total of 72, meticulously designed with Canadian-made furniture and décor. A highlight is a brand new 1,100-sq.-ft. subterranean spa. With 345 sq. m. of meeting space, the property is ideal for corporate retreats, incentives, and private functions, including weddings. There are also two on-site restaurants offering farm-to-table fare and local wines. The hotel is within walking distance of the oldest existing golf course in North America. (www.emamarketing.ca)
Raffles Boston has officially opened its doors to guests. The 35-storey Massachusetts property represents the first mixed-use development in North America for the iconic 136-year-old brand ad offers an urban oasis in the heart of Back Bay with 147 sumptuous guestrooms multiple dining experiences, state-of-the-art gym, 20-metre indoor pool with expansive city views, and the prestigious Guerlain Spa at Raffles Boston, featuring treatments in partnership with the renowned Parisian beauty and wellness brand.
Club Med fans will soon be able to add an African safari experience to the all-inclusive resort chain’s traditional beach and ski offerings at Club Med Tinley. Projected to open in 2026, the resort will be Club Med’s first in South Africa. Nestled on the north coast of KwaZulu-Natal, dubbed the ‘Dolphin Coast,’ the resort will offer both beach and bush experiences, providing guests with the opportunity to reconnect with nature and the wild while featuring a surf-lifestyle concept for healthy beach holidays shaped by art and local culture. Additionally, guests will have the chance to embark on a safari experience to discover the wildlife of Africa.
With its recent addition to the Blue Diamond Resorts portfolio, Royalton CHIC Antigua is set to debut in early April 2024. Designed exclusively for fun-seeking adults, the 235-room beachfront resort is set on the northwest coast of Antigua and is now available for bookings. Located 20 minutes from VC Bird International Airport along Dickinson Bay Beach, Royalton CHIC Antigua is designed as “a tropical hotspot for vibrant couples, groups of friends and energetic solo travellers, featuring the brand’s exuberant “Party Your Way” concept that promises that guests enjoy “a lively atmosphere with something to celebrate every day.”
Quark Expeditions, a global leader in polar adventures, has announced its new global membership in the Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA), the world’s largest cruise industry trade association. CLIA represents 95% of the world’s ocean-going cruise capacity, as well as 65,000 global travel agents, and 15,000 of the largest travel agencies in the world.
Carnival Cruise Line has opened for sale approximately 400 cruises that will bring guests to Celebration Key, its new exclusive cruise port destination in The Bahamas, beginning with the first calls in July 2025. Guests can book cruises on the first 12 Carnival ships, sailing regularly from eight homeports, visiting Celebration Key in 2025 and 2026.
At its 8th Annual Charity Golf Classic held at the picturesque Eagles Nest Golf Club north of Toronto, TravelBrands raised nearly $300,000 for the Sick Kids Foundation. The event was attended by 144 partners and industry colleagues, resulting in a staggering $296,646 raised (photo) in support of the Labatt Family Heart Centre at The Hospital for Sick Children. “Our Annual Charity Golf Classic is always an event we look forward to,” said Nathalie Tanious, President and CEO of TravelBrands. “As a proud SickKids Foundation donor, our collective efforts have now raised over $2 million for SickKids to help enhance and save countless lives in their cardiac department.”
African Travel, Inc., (ATI) has launched its new 2024 brochure offering authentic wildlife and cultural encounters across 16 destinations in Africa from Cape Town to Cairo. Featured is ATI’s newest destination, Morocco, with four new journeys, focussing on the North African nation’s vibrant culture, history and incredible beauty. The journeys will also feature ‘Make Travel Matter’ experiences, which benefit wildlife conservation or local communities.
VisitBritain Canada is planning a four-city trade workshop in Ontario Nov. 13-16, inviting travel agents to engage with VisitBritain and key tour operators in-market including the tourism officials from VisitWales and VisitScotland. The key objective is to empower and educate the travel agents to help them sell Britain better to their clients. While more details are to come, key cities will include Kingston, Ajax, Barrie, and London, with plans to roll out the sessions across Canada at later dates.
The Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) has announced the appointment of Noor Ahmad Hamid as its new Chief Executive Officer, effective Oct. 1. Noor’s appointment for a three-year term will usher in a new era for PATA as the influential industry association dedicates itself to promoting responsible travel and tourism within the Pacific Asia region.
Maui Mayor Richard Bissen and members of his Lahaina Advisory Team have shaped a phased approach to the re-opening of West Maui to visitors following an announcement by Gov. Josh Green that West Maui will re-open on Oct. 8. Phase 1 will see the area from the Ritz-Carlton, Maui Kapalua to Kahana Villa re-opened on the 8th, followed by an assessment of Phase 1 re-opening for Mahinahina to Maui Kaanapali Villas. Phase 3, Royal Lahaina Resort to the Hyatt Regency, will be the last to re-open. The only locations on Maui that have been completely closed have been historic Lahaina Town and the surrounding areas impacted by the fire of Aug. 8.
Long-anticipated passenger rail service between Orlando and Miami was inaugurated Sept. 22 with the arrival of ‘Bright Pink,’ the first Brightline train, in the central Florida city. Brightline launched operations in South Florida in 2018, connecting Miami, Fort Lauderdale, and West Palm Beach. Stations in Boca Raton and Aventura opened last year. It now covers 400 km between Miami and Orlando and the new route takes between 3 and 3.5 hours.
LAST WEEK IN TRAVEL HISTORY
In 2019, British tour operator Thomas Cook fell victim to multiple setbacks including shifting travel habits, the rise of online booking sites, the sinking pound and even unusually hot weather that encouraged fewer Northern Europeans to travel. Specific problems of its own, like a 1.6 billion-pound ($2 billion) debt pile, made it less able to react to change. It all added up to a perfect storm that led the 178-year-old company to cease operations, stranding hundreds of thousands of travellers.
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First published at Travel Industry Today