ROUND-UP:April 18-22, 2022
Among last weeks noteworthy news: ACTA said pursuing more financial subsidies for agents is unlikely; a US judge junked mask mandates; Jamaica jammed pre-arrival testing; Rocky Mountaineer is rolling again; and Margaritaville at Sea says it has special rates for agents.
While ACTA is reporting that it has received a number of comments from members expressing disappointment over the end of federal financial subsidies, association president Wendy Paradis says, “At this point, it is clear that further pursuing financial subsidies after a definite ‘no’ (in the recent federal budget) is not in our members’ interest, when there is no reasonable prospect of success. We also do not want to give travel agencies and independent travel agents false hope.”
Citing increasing consumer interest in learning about the consumer protection available to them, TICO has launched an interactive quiz answering several questions about travel preferences. At the end consumers are reminded about the importance of booking with a TICO-registered travel agency or website. The TICO Traveller Quiz also reveals an individual’s travel style, whether they are a Sun Soaker, an Awesome Adventurer, a Corporate Commuter, or an Enlightened Explorer. TICO invites agents to share the quiz on social media; check it out for yourself at https://www.tico.ca/quiz
A federal judge in Florida has voided the national mask mandate covering airplanes and other public transportation as exceeding the authority of US health officials in the coronavirus pandemic. The ruling is being challenged.
The number of signatories to the Glasgow Declaration on Climate Action in Tourism has passed the 500-mark, just four months after the landmark initiative was launched at the UN Climate Change Conference. On Friday, coinciding with International Mother Earth Day, the UNWTO announced that Expedia Group, Booking Holdings and Condé Nast became the latest signatories, joining 538 stakeholders of all sizes and from every part of the tourism sector.
Canadians, along with other international visitors, to Jamaica are no longer required to present a negative result from a COVID-19 antigen or PCR test conducted within 72 hours prior to their travel to enter the island. Additionally, Jamaica’s mandate to wear a mask in enclosed public spaces has also been rescinded.
Travelling to Cyprus is now easier as the need for visitors to undergo any COVID-19 tests prior to boarding a flight or on arrival has been rescinded. According to the new regulations, only unvaccinated people who haven’t contracted and recovered from the coronavirus must undergo a PCR test 72 hours prior to boarding or a rapid test 24 hours before departure.
Cambodia has reduced the required quarantine period from two weeks to one for arriving travellers who are not fully vaccinated against the coronavirus. Travellers arriving by air who have not been fully vaccinated must take a rapid antigen test on the last day of their quarantine.
Canadians can now give cash or Aeroplan points to help bring Ukrainians fleeing the war with Russia to safety in Canada. The goal is to pay for flights to bring at least 10,000 Ukrainians and their families approved for travel to Canada (on top of targeted chartered flights announced earlier this year). The program is being managed by Miles4Migrants, a US-based charity that uses donated frequent flyer miles to help people impacted by war who have legal approval to travel but cannot afford airfare. To donate points, click https://donatepoints.aircanada.com/eng/charity/1441
Rocky Mountaineer is rolling again, having kicked off the 2022 season on April 17 with a “Rockies to Red Rock” journey out of Denver, which marked the start of the route’s first operational season. Inaugural Vancouver departures on various itineraries follow on April 25, 26, and May 7 respectively.
In an effort to offer more flexibility to clients, Air Transat is expanding its conditions for changing and cancelling bookings in both Economy and Club Class fares. It is now possible to cancel a trip, regardless of the chosen fare. For Eco Budget, Eco Standard and Club Standard fares, a cancellation fee of $200 applies. The refund will be done according to the payment method on file. For Eco Flex and Club Flex fares, cancellation is possible at no additional cost. In addition, the flexibility to change flight itineraries, which has been in effect since Dec. 1, continues. Passengers can now change their date and/or destination free of charge up to 24 hours before departure. Only the fare difference applies.
WestJet has partnered with the FlightHub Group to assist in the transportation of GlobalMedic’s field team members to and from areas impacted by the conflict in Ukraine. Through coordinated collaboration, WestJet will provide flights to and from European gateways across its network, where the FlightHub will then transport the GlobalMedic team members to Ukraine’s neighbouring countries.
BY THE NUMBERS
Air Canada tallied 100,701 customers across its network on April 15, marking a 100k-plus total last registered on March 13, 2020. At the height of the pandemic, passenger loads fell as low as 2,175 on April 23, 2020, as global air traffic ground to a virtual halt. However, prior to the pandemic, the airline carried an average of nearly 150,000 people daily. The single-day, passenger-load record was 187,000 customers on Aug. 16, 2019.
Just in time for Crop Over, Barbados has launched a new summer campaign that offers up to 55% off accommodations, attractions, car rentals and restaurants. Visitors can take advantage of diverse accommodations from luxury hotels on the beach, to charming bed-and-breakfast spots, or private villas nestled in lush gardens. Discount can also be found for attractions and unique island experiences, such as swimming with the turtles. For more information on the campaign (running through Aug. 31 for travel through Oct. 31) and to book, visit: www.BarbadosSummerSavings.com
The new ‘Fuel Up On Us’ package at the Crowne Plaza HY36 in New York City includes parking and a US$50 gas gift card. Additional savings include up to 75% off daily parking at the neighbouring garage with guest-only parking deals (extending into the weekend) at $20/night (a significant savings from the $67 nightly cost the garage normally charges) and complimentary CitiBike pass and exclusive access code for up to two adults per stay, which provides unlimited 30-minute rides within a 24-hour period.
Kempinski Hotels’ opening of The David Kempinski Tel Aviv is the brand’s 80th global opening and the first property in Israel. Housed in a 34-story skyscraper, the 250-room-and-suite five-star property opened on April 12 on the heels of the recent announcement of Israel’s borders opening to international tourism. Among the property’s highlights are 56 suites of “unprecedented grandeur,” with magnificent views of the Mediterranean Sea. Set in the heart of Tel Aviv’s “tayelet” (the city’s boardwalk), the hotel is has direct access to the beach.
IHG Hotels & Resorts has launched a new global loyalty program. IHG One Rewards gives members richer benefits, more ways to earn, and newly enhanced credit cards, all powered by leading technology on a new mobile app. The reimagined program connects IHG One Rewards members to IHG Hotels & Resorts’ growing portfolio of 17 brands. The launch of IHG One Rewards follows the announcement in January of the program’s new tier and bonus point earning structure – designed to help members earn more points faster and have more ways to use them.
Palms Casino Resort reports it will open on April 27. The new chapter in the history of the Las Vegas property will be celebrated with a fireworks extravaganza on opening night. Having undergone more than a US$600 million renovation in 2019, Palms Casino Resort boasts 766 hotel rooms and suites, a diverse mix of bars, restaurants, live entertainment venues, reimagined casino, 2,500-seat theatre; expansive pool and spa area; wedding chapel; and more. The property, the first resort in Las Vegas fully owned and operated by a Native American tribe, is located just west of the centre of the Las Vegas Strip off I-15 on Flamingo Road.
Sandals Resorts International (SRI) has offered a glimpse of ambitious plans for Saint Lucia. They include adding 25 new rooms at Sandals Halcyon in February 2023, including the development of 20 beachfront, two-story villa rooms featuring large balconies, plus five Rondoval suites. At Sandals Regency La Toc, first-phase plans call for the introduction of 20 Rondoval suites with seven of them offering open air rooftop decks. Also set to open in 2023, the village will be a “resort within a resort.”
Citing a 75% increase in bookings to the Maldives, Goway has partnered with The Maldives Tourism Board to capitalize on this growing interest in the destination, including enlisting 25 dedicated destination specialists to handle bookings, ranging from luxury honeymoon escapes to a multi-generational family vacation, and snorkelling and scuba diving adventures. Goway notes that Canadians can stop over in cities such as Dubai, Doha, Singapore, Paris, and Istanbul before connecting to the Maldives for a week at the beach. Specials offers can be found at Goway.com.
Holland America Line’s newest ship, ‘Rotterdam,’ was delivered in July 2021, but the official naming ceremony will be held May 30. Princess Margriet of the Netherlands will be the ship’s godmother, carrying on a tradition that began in the 1920s. Rotterdam will depart Amsterdam on May 29 on a seven-day “Rotterdam Naming Celebration” cruise to Norway, including the official ceremony in the city of Rotterdam, as well special events exclusive to the naming sailing, including a celebratory Gala Dinner and an opportunity to participate in the blessing of the ship’s bell, along with surprises and commemorative gifts.
Viking has announced a new eight-day “Christmas on the Seine” sailing this year. Roundtrip from Paris, guests will sail through Normandy’s snow-covered countryside while enjoying the festive Christmas markets. Guests can select from holiday-centric shore excursions such as baking homemade gingerbread at the 850-year-old Abbaye du Valasse or attending a festive ornament-making workshop in Rouen. Onboard, guests will enjoy special holiday-themed festivities including regional dining specialties, seasonal treats and more.
ATTRACTIONS & THEME PARKS
Walt Disney World in Orlando has lifted the last of its mask requirements, meaning face coverings are now optional for visitors at all locations on property. Masks are still recommended, though not required, for guests who are not fully vaccinated in indoor locations and enclosed transportation.
Today (April 26), TICO is hosting a lunch-and-learn webinar to introduce and demo its new Registrant Toolkit. The session will run from noon to 1 p.m. EST and can be accessed by registering HERE.
Registration is now open for a series of online Masterclass sessions – starting this week – on Sandals and Beaches Resorts to help Canadian agents “Reignite, Refocus and Reboot” their Sandals and Beaches business, as well as their own personal goals as professional travel advisors. The live two-hour sessions take place from 10 a.m. to noon (local times) and by participating, agents will also fulfill the educational requirement in order to maintain their Certified Sandals Specialist status. Upcoming dates are as follows: Ontario – April 27, June 2 and 8, Aug. 10 and 26; Atlantic Canada and English Quebec – May 4; French Quebec – May 10; BC – May 11; Saskatchewan – May 18; Manitoba – May 24; and Alberta – Aug. 16. Travel advisors can register by contacting their local BDM or calling Inside Sales at 1-800-545-8283.
Go Turkey has launched a new online learning platform designed to provide an in-depth education on the destination to travel advisors, tour operators and tourism officials. Industry professionals who successfully complete the free ‘All in Türkiye’ online courses will be granted branded Turkey specialist certificates. Once registered on the platform, participants can take the online destination training at their own pace through 24 comprehensive courses on several cities and regions, including Istanbul; safe tourism; as well as MICE; and outdoor adventures. Also included are marketing and branding resources designed to assist in selling Turkey to clients. For details, click HERE.
Debuting on May 14, Margaritaville at Sea has announced new perks for travel advisors, including guaranteed staterooms being held on every 2022 sailing at a travel advisor reduced rate and special VIP amenities, including a Travel Advisor Concierge. To request the reduced rate, visit the trade website BookParadise.com.
The Poe Museum in Richmond, Virginia, is celebrating its centenary in this year. Celebrations and events will take place through October, with April 26 being the actual 100th anniversary date. Celebratory events will include a Poe-Rade, a ‘Masqued Ball’ in honour of Poe’s short story The Masque of the Red Death, and the ever-popular monthly UnHappy Hours. The museum also has received a major gift of Poe artifacts which will be unveiled this year.
In Florida’s Middle Keys, visitors and residents are once again cycling, walking, running, rollerblading and watching sunrises and sunsets along a section of the famed Old Seven Mile Bridge that parallels the Florida Keys Overseas Highway. A 4.5-km span of the bridge nicknamed “Old Seven” reopened to pedestrian recreation in January after a renovation that began in 2017. The section serves as the gateway to Pigeon Key, a tiny island nestled beneath the old bridge, which will be accessible via a 60-passsenger visitor tram in May. The tram is to feature a locomotive front and two 30-passenger coaches. The modern-day Seven Mile Bridge (actually 6.79 miles long) is one of the world’s longest segmental bridges.
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First published at Travel Industry Today