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ROUND-UP:April 26-30, 2021

Transat received funding from the federal government, US cruising could begin again in July, and Sunwing has eyes on Atlantic Canada already for 2022 in news we learned last week, while this week looks ahead to Travel Agent Day on Thursday:


Transat AT Inc. reached a deal with Ottawa to borrow up to $700 million, nearly half of which will go toward refunding travellers for flights cancelled during the COVID-19 pandemic. The company says travel agent commissions will also be protected.

Reports south of the border suggest that the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention could re-open cruising in US waters soon. USA Today quoted a letter from the CDC to the cruise industry as saying, “We acknowledge that cruising will never be a zero-risk activity and that the goal of the CSO’s phased approach is to resume passenger operations in a way that mitigates the risk of COVID-19 transmission onboard cruise ships and across port communities.” The newspaper says the CDC subsequently told it that passenger voyages could begin by mid July.


Seabourn is continuing its odyssey this summer beyond US waters – which, the previous item notwithstanding, are still not open to international cruise ships – with the news that it will offer a series of new summer voyages operating round-trip out of Bridgetown, Barbados, beginning on July 18.

Culinary- and destination-focused cruise line Oceania says it will resume cruise operations with the 1,250-guest Marina in August, beginning with sailings to Scandinavia and Western Europe. Marina will resume her originally published voyage schedule, commencing on Aug. 29, in Copenhagen.

Boutique cruise line Azamara announced that the Azamara Quest will return to the high seas beginning Aug. 28 with five back-to-back country-intensive voyages and one classic Mediterranean sailing – each seven-days in length with a total of 18 late-night stays in port, including Santorini, Rhodes and Heraklion, Greece.

Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL) reports it will continue its restart of operations in Europe from the homeports of Barcelona and Rome with previously scheduled port-intensive itineraries to the Mediterranean and Greek Isles beginning Sept. 5.

Regent Seven Seas Cruises has announced its return to sailing with Seven Seas Splendor cruising from the UK beginning September. The voyage will mark the cruise line’s return to service, as well as Seven Seas Splendor’s inaugural season, with the ship having only completed two cruises with guests after being christened in February 2020.


This summer’s annual Burning Man counter-culture festival in the Nevada desert has been cancelled for the second year in a row because of the COVID-19 pandemic.


Sun-seekers in Atlantic Canada will be able to escape to the sun next winter again with Sunwing, as the travel company announced weekly flights and packages from Halifax, Moncton, Saint John, Fredericton, St. John’s, Deer Lake and Gander starting in January, through to May 2022. Destinations include Cancun, Montego Bay, Puerto Plata, Punta Cana, Cayo Coco, Varadero, and others. Travellers who book by April 30 for travel by April 30, 2022 will enjoy flexible booking options and save up to $1,000 per couple through the “Freedom 21/22” sale. Sunwing has also announced the launch of its re-platform for its website, designed to provide a faster and more dynamic digital experience from start to finish.


The global airline industry anticipates losing “only” US$47.7 billion loss this year, according to IATA, which is an improvement on 2020’s expected losses of $126.4 billion. US carriers Delta, United, and American Airlines have all reported approximately $1.25 billion in losses in Q1.


“Dream of Europe” is a new Air Canada Vacations’ immersive digital platform designed to highlight the tour operator’s 2021-22 Europe Collection. Featuring
images, video, and editorial content, including destination highlights and user-generated travel tips, agents can also guide clients to destinations by sharing links of each tour package. “This new platform is a digital solution to the physical gap created by the pandemic, giving agents the opportunity to… make our diverse collection come alive in an entirely new way for customers,” says ACV VP Nino Montagnese. The Collection features over 40,000 hotels and a total of 75 tour packages in eight countries.


Disney Wish

Bookings will open May 27 for voyages on Disney Cruise Line’s new ship, the Disney Wish, which will launch on June 9, 2022 with a five-night cruise to Nassau, Bahamas, and Disney’s private island, Castaway Cay, followed by an inaugural season of three- and four-night cruises to the same destinations from Port Canaveral, Fla. The ship will feature the first-ever Disney attraction at sea, “AquaMouse,” a water ride comprised of a 231-m. of winding tubes suspended high above the upper decks, enhanced by show scenes, lighting and special effects.” Throughout the ship, Disney says passengers can expect “innovative design and technology (combined) to create immersive entertainment environments that will surround guests in storytelling in new and unexpected ways.”


Hard Rock Hotels has announced plans for development of eight hotels with approximately 3,000 rooms in several key cities throughout Brazil, including Sao Paulo, Fortaleza, Ilha de Sol, Campos do Jordão, Foz do Iguaçu, Jericoacoara, Natal and Recife. The properties are slated for completion over the next eight years and three projects are already under construction, with Sao Paulo, Fortaleza and the first phase of Ilha de Sol anticipated for 2022


Hyatt Hotels and Playa Hotels & Resorts have announced plans for a new Hyatt Ziva all-inclusive resort in Mexico. Slated to open later this year, the family-friendly Hyatt Ziva Riviera Cancun will be the latest resort to join the all-inclusive Hyatt Ziva portfolio. The 436-room resort – the sixth Ziva in the Caribbean and Mexico – will be situated between Playa del Carmen and the Cancun Hotel Zone approximately 30 minutes from Cancun airport.

Sandals Royal Bahamian will re-open with a new look on Nov. 4 after a multi-million renovation that will include the addition of several new facilities and the refurbishment of over 200 rooms and suites. The make-over comes as the Sandals Resorts International (SRI) celebrates its 25th anniversary in the Bahamas.


After a 13-month closure, Disneyland re-opened April 30 with limited capacity and only for in-state visitors. Theme parks were among the last businesses allowed to re-open in California, and Universal Studios and others have already thrown open the gates.


Cliffs of Moher, Co. Clare

Throughout May, travel agents who organize a virtual consumer night on Ireland or the UK for 10 or more clients, co-hosted by Royal Irish Tours, will receive a $50 gift card from the tour operator and be automatically entered into a draw to win a space on a Royal Irish Tours fam. The event can take place any time in 2021 but must be booked in the month of May. Contact Jonathon or Orla for full details:;


May 6: The Bahamas will celebrate Travel Agents Day with a virtual party dubbed “Da Backyard.’ Both Ellison ‘Tommy’ Thompson, Deputy Director General, as well as Bridgette King, Executive Director Global Sales, will be joined by other members of the Bahamas Tourism Office team at 3 p.m. (EST) for a fun, interactive afternoon featuring Bahamian music, videos, islands updates, games, cocktail/mocktail demo, virtual photobooth, as well as prize giveaways for the best dressed advisor in tropical attire. To RSVP, click HERE.

May 6: Sandals will host the first in a series of town hall events for Canadian agents on Thursday (May 6). ‘Let’s Talk About Digital Marketing’ will take place from 1 to 2 p.m. (EST) and tackle such topics as “What are the benefits of this powerful tool?” and “How can it be used effectively?” To register, click HERE. Questions may be submitted by May 4.

May 4-June 1: The Tourism Industry Association of Canada’s (TIAC) virtual 2021 Tourism Town Hall series enable local small and medium-sized business owners the opportunity to meet with TIAC, Destination Canada, and tourism partners, to better understand efforts being made on national tourism issues. Remaining dates and locations are: May 4, Manitoba; May 6, PEI; May 10, Newfoundland & Labrador; May 11, NB; May 25, Quebec; May 26, Alberta; May 27, BC; and June 1, Ontario. More locations may be added later. For details on the individual events and to register, click HERE.


Émilie Giguère has joined Tahiti Tourisme as Trade & Marketing Associate for Canada. A 17-year travel industry veteran, she has previously worked at Rêvatours, the Transat Distribution network (, and Tours Mont-Royal-Nouvelles Frontières, and most recently as BDM for Princess Cruises and Cunard for Quebec and New Brunswick. She can be reached at:

A new executive board for 2021-22 has been announced for the Discover America Canada committee: It includes: President Susan Webb, VoX International; VP Denise Graham, Experience Kissimmee/VoX; VP Annie Cicvaric, TravelWeek; Secretary/Treasurer Stephen Fine, Snowbird Advisor; Director Randy Anger, SeaWorld; Director Raina Williams, Expedia Group; and Director Audrey Tanguay-Beaudette, Air Canada.


The Travel Agent Next Door says the time is right to enter the Quebec market and is now offering host agency services to Quebec travel agents and agencies. TTAND, now operating for seven years, is a member of Ensemble and through Ensemble will offer a French magazine, a range of French language marketing services and tools – as well as a French website for agents. For information, visit the web site.


Alaska will not require visitors to have a vaccine passport if they want to travel in the state. The order, announced by Gov. Mike Dunleavy, goes into effect immediately.

Austria plans to reopen restaurants, bars, hotels, cultural and sports facilities on May 19 after several months of restrictions and closures.

Hong Kong and Singapore plan to launch an air travel bubble (ATB) in May, months after an initial arrangement that would allow tourists to fly between both cities without having to serve quarantine was postponed. Flights will begin from May 26.

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First published at Travel Industry Today

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