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ROUND-UP:April 19-23, 2021

Canada has banned flights from India and Pakistan, extended the US border closure, and committed funds to travel and tourism in the federal budget. And get ready to for JetBlue in this country. Read on for the rest of last week’s round-up.

NEWS

Effective April 22, Canada suspended all commercial and private passenger flights from India and Pakistan for 30 days due to the surge of coronavirus in the countries. Passengers who travel via an indirect route will need to obtain a negative COVID-19 pre-departure test from a third country before continuing their journey to Canada.

The closure of the Canada-US border to non-essential travellers has been extended for another month until May 21,

Canada’s federal budget April 19 committed over a billion dollars to travel and tourism-related sectors; $500 million to create a tourism relief fund to support investments by local tourism businesses in adapting to and recovering from COVID-19; $82.5 million this year to help Canadian airports better test for COVID-19; $6.7 million to acquire and use sanitization equipment; $271 million for pandemic screening efforts; and $656.1 million over five years, and $123.8 million ongoing, to the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) to modernize Canada’s borders, including touchless and automated systems, contraband detection systems and infrastructure security.

In line with The Travel Corporation’s newly announced five-step Climate Action Plan, Contiki will be 100% carbon neutral by Jan. 1, 2022.

RE-OPENING/RE-START

Greece says its tourism services will open on May 15 when a ban on travel between different regions of the country will also be lifted.

On July 2, Bahamas Paradise Cruise Line will resume operations, and is now available for booking. The Grand Classica will return to Grand Bahama Island with stringent on-board safety protocols for its 2-night cruise sailings from the Port of Palm Beach.

AIR

JetBlue says it is looking to shake up the status quote and take on Air Canada and WestJet as it launches its first flights to Canada starting in the summer of 2022. The US discount carrier is planning flights between Vancouver and New York, as well as seasonal service to Boston.

Emirates has announced the latest updates to its booking policies. Customers holding tickets issued before Sept. 30, 2020 for travel before Dec. 31 December 2021, can now rebook to travel anytime within 36 months, an extension of 12 months from the previous policy. Those holding tickets issued after Oct. 1, 2020 for travel before Dec. 31, 2021, can utilise their tickets anytime within 36 months from the date of their original booking. Fees for reissuing any ticket will be waived, and vouchers or unused portions of Emirates tickets may be refunded without penalty. The airline has also extended its multi-risk travel insurance for all passengers until further notice.

DEALS

St. Kitts is rolling out the red carpet for visitors with several hotels offering value-added perks as part of the Five-Day Getaway promotion, available through Sept. 5, 2021. Among them, the Park Hyatt St. Kitts & St. Kitts Marriott are offering complimentary room upgrades, free breakfast for four, and a few additional extras. The Four Seasons Nevis Resort is offering its own deal with a complimentary third night for those staying two consecutive nights, valid through Dec. 16.

TOURS

Weekly Sunwing flights from London, Ont., to Punta Cana, Cancun, and Varadero, will lift off Dec. 15, 16, and 17 respectively, continuing for the winter season until April 20, 2022. EBBs of $1,000 per couple and flexible booking options are available through April 30. A host of hotels can, of course, be packaged with the flights. Meanwhile, the airline reports that it will also be returning to Thunder Bay, Ont. for the 16th consecutive year this winter with packages to Mexico, Cuba and the Dominican Republic beginning in December and continuing through mid April, 2022. Flights to Cancun start Dec. 13, Varadero on Dec. 14, and Punta Cana on Dec. 15.

HOTELS

Three Hilton hotels will comprise the newest resort in Las Vegas when it opens its doors on June 24. Resorts World Las Vegas is the first ground-up resort development on the Strip in more than a decade and also represents the largest multi-brand deal in Hilton’s history. Located across from the convention centre and beside Circus Circus, RWLV will offer 3,500 luxury guest rooms and suites in total across three premium Hilton brands, including the largest Conrad Hotels & Resorts property in the world, one of the first LXR Hotels & Resorts locations in the US, and a marquee Hilton Hotels & Resorts hotel.

RESORTS

Sandals Dunn’s River

Three new hotels are set to be added to Sandals’ roster of all-inclusive resorts in Jamaica. The company plans to ‘Sandalize’ two existing resorts purchased last year – the former Jewel Dunn’s River Beach Resort & Spa in Ocho Rios and Jewel Runaway Bay Beach Resort & Waterpark – plus a prime parcel of beachfront land adjacent to the Ocho Rios resort, into three distinct resorts under the Sandals and Beaches brands. The expansion plans will return one of them, the Dunn’s River property in Ocho Rios, back to the Sandals family as Sandals Dunn’s River, the same moniker as when it was originally added to the portfolio in 1990. An adjacent resort will be called Sandals Royal Dunn’s River. Also, the Runaway Bay resort, located midway between Ocho Rios and Montego Bay, will become Beaches Runaway Bay Resort.

BY THE NUMBERS

Demonstrating the brand’s commitment to its “Save The Planet” motto, Hard Rock International once again joined the World Wildlife Fund in its Earth Hour movement. In 2019, 18 Hard Rock Hotels around the world participated and conserved 11,919.41 kilowatts – enough energy to power more than 50 outdoor concerts. On March 27 this year, the brand upped its numbers drastically with participation from 24 hotels, 10 casinos and 67 cafés, conserving over 200,000 kilowatts.

CRUISE

Holland America Line’s new “Have It All” premium package includes shore excursions, beverages, specialty dining, and Wi-Fi in one base cruise fare.
Available year-round on all itineraries six days or longer except Grand Voyages, “Have It All” is valued at US$99 per guest, per day, for a seven-day cruise, and represents savings of 50% or more off the included amenities compared to purchasing them individually.

On the heels of announcing the resumption of operations beginning on May 29, Celeystal Cruises reports that it will deploy a second ship, the Celestyal Olympia on a new, seven-night “Legendary Archipelago” itinerary from June 28 through August 30, after which the ship will operate three- and four-night itineraries out of Athens for the remainder of the season. The “Legendary Archipelago” itinerary will visit Thessaloniki, Mykonos, Santorini, Ag. Nikolaos (Crete) and Rhodes in Greece and Limassol in Cyprus.

ATTRACTIONS & THEME PARKS

Fun Spot America Theme Park in Orlando is adding a new ride. Sky Hawk is a 27-metre family swing ride that will provide guests a bird’s eye view of the park. The 24-passenger elevates guests to new heights while spinning at a quick 10 revolutions per minute. The tower will feature vivid colours and at night guests can also expect to see a beautiful programable LED package on the tower illuminating the Fun Spot Orlando skyline.

FAMS & INCENTIVES

As an introduction to the Canadian travel market, Mississippi River Country –an amalgam of American travel destinations comprised of 10 states along the Mississippi River, ranging from Minnesota to Louisiana – are holding a Canadian-exclusive contest that includes a $100 gas card and special gifts from throughout the region. For information on the region and to enter the contest, click HERE.

From June through Aug., 13 hotels throughout New Orleans are offering travel advisor rates starting at US$64 (plus tax) per night through New Orleans & Company’s Summer Travel Advisor FAM. While some blackout dates apply, many hotel packages include discounted parking, free Wi-Fi and discounts at hotel bars, available exclusively for qualified travel advisors. Agents can also request a VIP Pass that provides discounts and special offers at restaurants, museums, and other popular attractions around New Orleans. To apply, click HERE.

EVENTS

April 28-29: Tahiti Tourism is hosting a Tahiti Specialist Conference training event on both days from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. PDT in preparation for the islands’ border reopening May. 1. The two-day virtual event exclusively for retail travel advisors who are registered in the Tahiti Specialist Program and have completed the e-learning will be a series of optional live, 15-minute presentations, given by participating air, cruise, hotel, activity, and tour operator partners on their current COVID-19 prevention protocols and services, as well as any other updates. Additionally, there will be a virtual exhibit floor with four hours dedicated to connecting live with Partner Reps via 1:1 Zoom call and optional, self-managed 1:1 meetings with partners. Info, schedule, and registration HERE

April 29: Carnival Cruise Line is reprising its popular “Why Use a Travel Advisor” program in a new virtual format this year with a virtual WUATA party scheduled for Thursday at 5 p.m. EDT. The event is designed to help advisors attract new clients and strengthen existing relationships, creating sales opportunities, and driving business along the way. Plenty of prizes will be awarded. For more information, visit HERE.

PEOPLE/APPOINTMENTS

The Bamboo School, Cambodia

The TreadRight Foundation, The Travel Corporation’s (TTC) not-for-profit, has announced the recipients of its second annual Tread the Pledge Fund. Created in 2019, the fund’s purpose is to recognize and support the involvement of TTC’s family of travel directors, trip managers and travelling concierges in community support projects worldwide. The four chosen organizations are spread out globally and will each be awarded a grant of US$2,500 to support their efforts: Window of Opportunity, India (nominated by Rik Sprengers of Uniworld Boutique River Cruies); Barefeet Theatre, Zambia (from Maeve Henry, Trafalgar); Good Neighbors, Rhode Island (Robin O’Malley, Insight); and Baboo School Chum Teave (Rhiannon Bryant, Contiki).

DESTINATIONS

The Juno Beach Centre, Canada’s Second World War museum in Normandy, France, has acquired a sought-after artifact that holds special significance for Canadians: an Airborne Folding Bicycle, assigned to Canadian soldier Marius Aubé for the infamous 1944 D-Day landings. The unique bike was donated to the museum by the French family who came into possession of it after the landings. The JBC will mark the 77th anniversary of D-Day on June 6th, 2021.

Harry Potter New York, a new retail outlet opening in the Big Apple on June 3, is promising to set a new standard for themed retail, combining “breath-taking design, exquisite craftsmanship, hand-crafted props, exciting interactive elements and exclusive products” and inviting fans to experience the Wizarding World in a brand-new way. Spanning three floors and over 2,000 sq. m. the store will have 15 themed areas housing the largest collection of Harry Potter and Fantastic Beasts products under one roof. The store will be located at 935 Broadway in the Flatiron district.

Send info to baginski@travelindustrytoday.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

First published at Travel Industry Today

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