ROUND-UP: Sept. 5-9, 2022
In last week’s round-up, the US commemorated 9/11, a day that changed the world and travel forever; a new contest and agent incentive was launched by Air Transat; Barbados dropped COVID testing for (vaccinated) cruise passengers; and The Travel Agent Next Door welcomed a surprise new marketing director back to the industry.
US president Joe Biden marked the 21st anniversary of the 9/11 attacks on Sunday by delivering remarks and laying a wreath at the Pentagon. The day commemorated the 2001 terrorist attacks when hijackers took control of commercial planes in order to use them as missiles, crashing into New York’s World Trade Center, the Pentagon, and a Pennsylvania field and killing nearly 3,000 people. The US and its allies responded by launching the Afghanistan war and the world, and travel, were never the same.
Germany plans to drop a requirement for people to wear masks on flights to and from the country, though the health minister says that it could be reimposed if coronavirus cases rise sharply. The rules mandating masks on flights run through Sept. 23.
The United Arab Emirates will grant visas to those holding tickets to the World Cup in neighbouring Qatar, the country has announced. The UAE says those registered for Qatar’s Hayya fan card will be able to apply for multiple-entry visas 19 days before the tournament starts. Those granted visas will be able to stay for up to 90 days in Dubai and Abu Dhabi. Many fans are planning to base themselves in the UAE and neighbouring countries for the month-long tournament as organizers expect a tight accommodation squeeze in tiny Qatar. Dozens of flights will leave from the UAE to the host city of Doha each day.
Barbados announced new port entry guidelines to enable fully vaccinated cruise passengers entrance to the island without a COVID-19 test. Cruise lines, however, will be required to conduct and submit health assessments of travellers conducted prior to embarkation, which includes questions to identify symptoms that indicate a traveller’s health status. In addition, travellers will be required to follow testing guidelines as determined by the cruise line prior to boarding.
As snowbirds prepare to migrate south, Fort Myers, Fla. is set to welcome back direct flights from Toronto, Montreal, and Ottawa. Air Canada will operate non-stop daily service seven days a week with four flights per day from Toronto Oct. 30-April 15, 2023, while Montreal seasonal service resumes with two non-stop flights (Sat/Sun) until Nov. 24 before increasing to five flights per week until April 15. WestJet will also offer non-stop daily service seven days a week with two flights per day from Toronto Oct. 24-April 29, as well as operating two weekly non-stop seasonal flights from Ottawa Oct. 31 to April 29.
Air Canada will recommence a weekly non-stop scheduled service from Toronto to St. Vincent and the Grenadines starting Nov. 4, increasing to twice weekly starting Dec. 20 using Boeing 737 MAX 8.
BY THE NUMBERS
For the first time since COVID-19 brought air travel to a standstill, the number of people streaming through US airport-security checkpoints over a holiday weekend exceeded pre-pandemic levels. The summer travel season ended on a busy note as more than 8.7 million people passed through security in the last four days, topping the Labour Day weekend of 2019. The busiest day was Friday when TSA screened 2.48 million travellers.
To celebrate it’s 35th anniversary, Air Transat has launched a promotion for both travel advisors and clients. Through Sept. 27, travellers can save up to 35% on South packages for travel by May 31, 2023. Additionally, the company will give away 35 South packages for two at a Paradisus resort in Cuba, the Dominican Republic or Mexico. To enter, travellers must fill out an entry form on the Air Transat website (and can increase their chances of winning by adding a booking number and subscribing to the newsletter). Meanwhile, agents will earn $15 or 3X BONBON points per eligible reservation and have a chance to win a rebate of $175 or 35X BONBON, drawn daily. Plus, a draw for five South packages for two will be held. For details, visit Agent Direct or click HERE.
Travellers can save up to 20% on this season’s G Adventures expedition trips to Antarctica and the South Shetland Islands when booked before Sept. 29 for travel between Oct. 22 and March 13, 2023. Trips in 2024 are also live to book.
Through Oct. 4 clients booking a seven-night beach vacation in Mexico, the Caribbean and Central America and select flight-and-hotel packages to Hawaii with Air Canada Vacations can get the 2nd person at up to 50% off for departures between Jan. 2 and April 30, 2023.
Based on popularity of its program in Antarctica, Quark Expeditions has expanded overnight camping opportunities to guests in Greenland. Available on the new “Greenland Adventure: Explore by Sea, Land and Air” itinerary, the adventure operator explains, “Overnight camping in South Greenland is by no means roughing it in the wild,” as guests visit one of the most exclusive camps in Greenland, sleeping in tents under the stars in a protected space on the Tasermiut Fjord, complete with fine food provided by a local chef.
Adventurous travellers at Grand Isle Resort in The Bahamas can help marine biologists with their conservation efforts by joining them on the job and tagging sharks around the Exuma Cays. The “Beneath the Waves” experiences take place from Oct. 13 to 20 and Dec. 8-18.
HOTELSHilton’s new luxury brand Conrad hotel has opened in Los Angeles. The 305-room property (photo), designed by Canadian architect Frank Gehry, is anchored within The Grand LA, a new shopping, dining, entertainment destination in the city. Highlights include two original restaurants, spa, and unparalleled views and proximity to some of the city’s most prominent cultural venues including Walt Disney Concert Hall.
Two new hotels will be launched in Japan by Pan Pacific Hotels Group in partnership with Tokyu Hotels. Housed in the heart of vibrant Shinjuku, Bellustar Tokyo, A Pan Pacific Hotel, and Hotel Groove Shinjuku, A Parkroyal Hotel, will present two unique hotel concepts within the Tokyo Kabukicho Tower, Shinjuku’s new landmark skyscraper complex. Slated to open in the first half of 2023, the former will feature “sincere, graceful service and luxurious space,” while the latter is dedicated to the Parkroyal brand essence of rich local flavours and upscale, modern living.
Mystique Regis Habana by Royalton, the newest Blue Diamonds Resorts property in Cuba, opened its doors Sept. 1. The 61-room adults-only hotel has been completely renewed while still reflecting the charm of Old Havana. The hotel is located at the intersection of Paseo del Prado and Calle Colon, in the historic centre of the old city.
The recently refurbished Riu Montego Bay has now added Riu Party events to its All-Inclusive 24h by RIU entertainment program. Every Friday, hotel guests from the Riu Montego Bay, as well as customers staying at the Riu Reggae and Riu Palace Jamaica, can join the Riu Get Together Party with either a white or neon theme on alternating weeks.
New protocols for Celebrity Cruises guests sailing from US and European ports kicked in on Sept. 5. Now all guests, regardless of vaccination status, departing on most sailings can cruise as long as they meet local testing requirements to board. Celebrity says it will also now accept any commercially available test, including unsupervised self-tests, in many destinations.
Royal Caribbean Group will implement SpaceX’s Starlink – making the Group the first in the cruise industry to adopt its high-speed, low-latency connectivity for a better onboard experience for guests and crew fleetwide. The faster internet service will be installed on all Royal Caribbean International, Celebrity and Silversea ships, along with all new vessels for each of the brands, by the end of the first quarter of 2023.
ATTRACTIONS & THEME PARKS
The 2022-23 runDisney race season kicks off Nov. 3-6 with the Disney Wine & Dine Half Marathon Weekend at Walt Disney World in Orlando. The popular race weekend features a 5K, 10K and half marathon, as well as the Disney Two Course Challenge (10K and half marathon) and Post-Race Party. The weekend is the first of four race weekends during the 2022-23 runDisney season: Next is the 30th anniversary Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend (Jan. 4-8), the 15th anniversary Disney Princess Half Marathon Weekend (Feb. 23-26), and the runDisney Springtime Surprise Weekend (April 13-16).
FAMS & INCENTIVES
Through Sept. 30, agents can earn 3X STAR Agent Reward Points from Sunwing on new seven-night bookings to Princess Hotels & Resorts in Punta Cana, for travel between Nov. 1 and April 9, 2023.
Ensemble Travel Group (ETG) is planning its first member meeting since finalizing its acquisition by Navigatr group in June. Entitled ‘Horizons,’ the meeting at Eden Roc & Nobu Miami Beach from Oct. 20 to 23 is aimed primarily at owners and managers and is focused on the future for the consortium and its members. The agenda will focus on sessions and speakers to help support members as they fully restart their businesses as the demand for travel skyrockets, says Ensemble.
The Travel Agent Next Door announced the appointment of Antje Splettstoesser as marketing director. The popular industry veteran was previously Director, Canada for the German National Tourist office based in Toronto and Vice Chair at the European Travel Commission. She took a maternity break in 2019, although she continued to teach tourism sales and marketing at Humber College. She most recently held a role at the Heart and Stroke Foundation.
Visit Seattle has engaged destination representatives Canuckiwi Consulting to manage its consumer and trade marketing, and travel trade relations in Canada. “As a border city, Canada is Seattle’s top international market and Canadian travel advisors, tour operators and OTAs are key partners to driving our visitation,” says Caitlyn Shearer, Tourism Manager, Visit Seattle. Contact Corey Marshall at firstname.lastname@example.org and visit www.visitseattle.org/travel-professionals.
DESTINATIONSAs travel continues to recover from the pandemic and restrictions lift, Dominica (pronounced Dom-in-EEK-a) is offering new hotel deals this fall and winter. Participating properties include Rosalie Bay, Manicou River, Jungle Bay Resort, Hibiscus Valley Inn, and Citrus Creek Plantation. Activities on the island, which lies south of Guadeloupe and north of Martinique in the Eastern Caribbean, include whale watching cruises, deep-sea fishing, snorkelling, diving, river tube rafting, jeep safaris, cooking classes and more.
New York’s fall iteration of NYC Broadway Week has returned for the first time since 2019. The more-than-a-week biannual event continues through Sept. 25 and offers theatregoers two-for-one tickets to 21 Broadway shows.
LAST WEEK IN TRAVEL HISTORY
In 1960, Halifax International Airport was opened.
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First published at Travel Industry Today