All travel news.

ROUND-UP:April 4-8, 2022

Last week, there was good news and bad from the pandemic; new eased passport renewal protocols were introduced for Canadians; Canada cracked down on cruise wastewater; the war took its toll on Air Canada flights to India; a positively electric announcement from Hertz; and news of Ensemble Travel is set to being sold were revealed. Read on for all the news…

NEWS

Canada has expanded and simplified the application process for passport renewals issued within the past 15 years. With the simplified process, applicants don’t need to have a guarantor or to provide their original documents, such as proof of citizenship or photo identification. They simply need two photos, two references, their completed form, and the applicable fees. The government still recommends that Canadians apply early and not finalize any travel plans until they have received their new passport.

The federal government has announced new environmental measures for vessels sailing in Canadian waters. Formulated in coordination with the cruise industry, the measures will exceed international standards, say the feds. They include prohibiting the discharge of greywater and treated blackwater within three nautical miles of shore where geographically possible

On March 29, the TICO’s Board of Directors approved 19 claims against the Ontario Travel Compensation Fund totalling $32,966 to assist 27 consumers who did not receive the travel services for which they had paid from Fly Jamaica Airways, Jet Airways, and Sunmed Holidays Inc.

BORDERS

Cases go up, threat level goes down. Go figure! As Canada’s sixth wave of the coronavirus pandemic hits new heights, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has reduced its threat level for the country from 4 (very high) to 3 (high), and thus is no longer warning Americans to avoid travel here. The US health agency does continue to advise that Americans should be up to date on their coronavirus vaccinations before visiting.

The Government of Saint Lucia has officially removed all pre-entry COVID-19 testing requirements for fully vaccinated travellers entering the country. That includes pre-testing and quarantines. The requirement for registration and document upload (PCR tests and vaccine card) on the Saint Lucia portal has also been suspended until further notice. Unvaccinated travellers five years and older must have a valid negative standard COVID-19 PCR test five days before arrival. An unsupervised self swab antigen or PCR test is not accepted.

The Government of Grenada has removed all COVID restrictions for entry into Grenada for all travellers, regardless of vaccination status.

With declining cases of COVID-19, South Africa ended its national state of disaster. Most restrictions will be lifted, but people will be required to wear masks in indoor public spaces. International travellers must provide proof of vaccination, or a negative PCR test done within 72 hours.

Following the simplification of travel protocols to Singapore, fully vaccinated travellers on all SIA and Scoot flights will now enjoy quarantine-free entry into country without any on-arrival test. All travellers must still take a pre-departure test and short-term visitors must also purchase travel insurance with a minimum coverage of $30,000 for COVID 19-related medical treatment costs. Travellers aged 12 and below are exempted from being vaccinated.

WAR

Flights between Vancouver and Delhi, India, have been suspended by Air Canada due to the difficulties of avoiding Russian and Ukrainian airspace. The airline says the change is necessary because of extended flying times and a refuelling stop that would be needed for routes that avoid the area. Flights will be unavailable between June 2 and Sept. 8 but may be reinstated earlier if conditions allow.

Israel’s ministry of tourism has begun providing free tours throughout Israel for new immigrants who have fled the war in Ukraine. The program includes guiding and transportation from the 20 hotels in which the new immigrants and those eligible under the Law of Return are staying until housing solutions can be found. There are more than 160 Russian-speaking guides that have registered to participate in the project and the Ministry will operate the tours for as long as the demand exists.

BY THE NUMBERS

Based on the latest available data from the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), global international tourist arrivals more than doubled (+130%) in January 2022 compared to 2021. The 18 million more visitors recorded worldwide in the first month of this year equals the total increase for the whole of 2021.

Hawaii’s tourism industry is starting to see a rebound as people return to travel and coronavirus concerns ease. Data from the state Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism shows March domestic arrivals have been on par with 2019 levels when a record 10 million people arrived in the state in 2019.

AGENCIES

Following a notice to shareholders to advise them of an upcoming special meeting regarding a potential acquisition, Ensemble Travel Group and Navigatr Group have jointly announced that there is an agreement in principle for Navigatr to acquire the North American consortium. The shareholder meeting is to take place on April 14 when additional details will be shared including details on the voting process.

AIR

Rob Palmer, VP Commercial, Strategy and CFO, Calgary Airport Authority; Merren McArthur, President and CEO of Lynx Air; Brad McMullen, VP of Sales, North America, Boeing; and Lynx cabin crew members  cut the ribbon for the carrier’s inaugural commercial flight.

Lynx Air made its inaugural flight April 7. The ultra-low-cost carrier’s Boeing 737 Max jetliner flew from Calgary to Vancouver to kick off a planned network of nine routes and 90 flights a week by June, and double that – all in Canada – by June.

New low-cost carrier Canada Jetlines has received conditional approval for flight attendant training from Transport Canada. Final approval of the program will be granted once Transport Canada has reviewed the training conducted under the program and it proves to be satisfactory. The airline plans to begin operations out of Toronto Pearson airport this summer.

JetBlue Airways has offered to buy Spirit Airlines for about US $3.6 billion and break up a plan for Spirit to merge with rival budget carrier Frontier Airlines.

The Mikinakoos Children’s Fund is thanking WestJet for donating nearly 700 lbs of hockey equipment to Cat Lake First Nation in northwestern Ontario with the help of local carrier North Star Air, a long-standing partner of Mikinakoos.

DEALS

An exclusive online offer from Club Med offering 50% off bookings at various sun resorts, including Michès Playa Esmeralda, La Caravelle, Cancun Yucatan, Punta Cana and Buccaneer’s Creek, or the newly opened Club Med Québec Charlevoix, continues through April 13. Clients will also receive perks including complimentary checked luggage, room upgrades at select resorts, no single supplement, and free stays for children under four. Blackout dates apply and offers require a one-night minimum.

The “Sweet Side of Summer” promotional campaign invites travellers to visit St. Kitts and Nevis to save at participating hotels in the islands. The promo is for travel May 1-Sept. 5 and includes such offers as a fifth night free and breakfast for two at the Park Hyatt St. Kitts and three nights free when four are booked at the St. Kitts Marriott Resort & The Royal Beach Casino. See all the offers HERE.

TOURS

Goway is expanding its Middle East travel options with the launch of travel products in Qatar. The tour company has long offered Qatar Airways and is now extending its offerings to include vacation packages throughout Qatar, one of the world’s emerging destinations, which will fall under the global spotlight in December when it hosts the 2022 FIFA World Cup (although product will not be offered during the tournament). Goway notes that Qatar is an ideal stopover option enroute to vacations in the Maldives, South Africa, Kenya, and Egypt, among other destinations.

Clients can save up to 10% off in destinations throughout South America when booking a Collette package departing in in early 2023 (Jan-April). The offer is valid through April 30.

HOTELS

The infamous Trump International Hotel in Washington DC – the historic former Old Post Office on Pennsylvania Avenue – has been sold in a US $375 million deal that will see it re-branded as a Waldorf Astoria.

This year marks a major milestone for Kempinski Hotels as the company prepares to celebrate its 125th birthday. After its beginnings as a family-run wine merchant and restaurant business in 1897, Kempinski today manages a collection of 80 elegant hotels, resorts, and residences in 34 countries around the world, with another 26 projects under development from Brazil to Beijing. To commemorate the occasion, the company has launched the dedicated website kempinski-125.com to introduce its 125 Anniversary Special: a collection of offers that include discounts of up to 25% on hotel stays through Sept. 30.

RESORTS

A new weekly video series, “Behind The Sandals Badge,” debuted April 7 and will continue with a new release weekly. Featuring the entire Canadian sales team for Sandals Resorts and Beaches Resorts, the series, hosted by Lorna Richards, National Training Manager, Unique Vacations Canada, will reveal team members through intimate and personal conversations. The videos can be accessed exclusively through the “Unique Vacations Canada Loves Travel Advisors” Facebook page.

The AMR Collection reports that equipment and product delivery shortages have led to “unforeseeable and unpreventable delays” in the completion of its Secrets Impression Moxché resort, in Playa Del Carmen, Mexcio, which will now open Aug. 1.

CRUISE

Carnival Cruise Line says the one-week period of March 28-April 3 was its busiest booking week in the company’s history, showing a double-digit increase from the previous record seven-day booking total.

Guests aboard Disney Cruise Line will be immersed in the stories of their favourite toys, monsters, and heroes during the all-new Pixar Day at Sea aboard special sailings from January to March 2023 on the Disney Fantasy, departing Port Canaveral, Fla. Featuring one-of-a-kind experiences, the day-long celebration on select seven-night voyages will bring to life the beloved tales of “Toy Story,” “Monsters, Inc.,” “The Incredibles,” “Finding Nemo” and more. Themed dining, character encounters, dance parties, and a theatrical musical experience await on this fun-filled day at sea that culminates with a gala deck party of incredible proportions.

CARS

Hertz is planning to buy up to 65,000 electric vehicles from Swedish premium electric car maker Polestar over the next five years as it looks to boost its electric vehicle rental fleet. The vehicles are expected to be available in Europe in the spring and in North America and Australia later this year. The announcement comes more than five months after Hertz said that it will buy 100,000 electric vehicles from Tesla.

ATTRACTIONS & THEME PARKS

Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind, an all-new family-thrill coaster, launches May 27 at EPCOT at Walt Disney World Resort in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. The first-of-its-kind attraction will also open with the new Wonders of Xandar pavilion at EPCOT as part of the theme park’s multi-year transformation.

FAMS & INCENTIVES

Through April 17, travel agents can play TravelBrands’ ‘spin to win’ game where they can receive up to 100,000 Loyalty Rewards Points. Agents will earn an invitation to spin the wheel on all eligible bookings. Offers include 2% bonus commission on car rentals and Exotik Journeys bookings to Belize, while cruise bookings earn an extra $50 commission. To play Spring2Win, travel agents must make a new booking with a minimum net value of $100 per component before taxes. Eligible products include air-inclusive packages, hotels, car rentals, add-ons, Sunquest and TravelGenie packages, and Exotik Journeys. Four days after the booking is made, an invitation to play will be sent.

EVENTS

Today: ACTA will hold a virtual advocacy town hall at 1 p.m. today (April 11) to share analysis and action plans following last week’s federal budget. The virtual event is open to travel agencies, travel agents, and independent travel agents. ACTA will be joined by senior leaders at WestJet who will provide attendees with an update on the airline. To register, click HERE.

Walt Disney World Florida, has a 50th Anniversary Celebration webcast coming up on April 12 and 20. To register click HERE

And for the latest developments at Disneyland Resort in California, there’s a webcast also on April 12 and 20. To Register click HERE

Both webcasts are available in French and English.

PEOPLE/APPOINTMENTS

Direct Travel, Inc. has selected Sherry Saunders to lead the account management teams for both its Canada East and West regions. Saunders will serve as Sr. VP, Client Management and focus on client services, retention and strategy, managing a varied portfolio of both Canadian and global accounts for one of North America’s largest travel management companies.

Air Canada’s Audrey Tanguay Beaudette with Zach Fyne and Taylor Hartman,  Utah Office of Tourism

DESTINATIONS

Utah tourism execs are over the moon that Air Canada is preparing to return to the state this summer after a five-year absence. Representatives of both organizations (photo) shared the news of the thrice-weekly service between YYZ and Salt Lake City starting June 2 at media event in Toronto last week. Dubbed “Forever Mighty,” the theme of the event was sustainable tourism, including promoting responsible visitation, off-season trip planning, and encouraging visitors to explore beyond classic Utah destinations, such as its popular state and national parks.

The Tower of London will present a new face this summer when it is encircled by millions of flowers to help celebrate the Platinum Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II. This spring, 20 million carefully selected seeds are being sown in the Tower’s famous moat, creating a vibrant sea of flowers – dubbed “Superbloom” – which will continuously evolve from June to September, changing colours and patterns throughout the summer. Historic Royal Palaces also plans to host smaller floral displays across its other sites – including at Hampton Court Palace, Kensington Palace, and Hillsborough Castle, to mark the Jubilee.

Send info to baginski@travelindustrytoday.com

First published at Travel Industry Today

You might also like