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ROUND-UP:Aug. 17-21, 2020

In case you missed it, and even if you didn’t, here’s a quick look at some of last week’s need-to-know travel news, including: Carnival’s new ship name; a VIA is back on a roll; and Caribbean openings courtesy of Canlink.


With demand increasing, VIA Rail will increase in daily frequencies in the Ontario-Quebec corridor effective Sept. 1, restoring the services to close to 50% of the usual offering. VIA says it is still working towards a return to service in November for the Ocean and the Canadian, its Eastern and Western long-distance services, taking into account the most recent health developments.

The next Excel-class ship in the Carnival Cruise Line fleet has been named “Carnival Celebration,” reflecting the company’s 50th anniversary. The shop will debut in PortMiami in 2022.

The milestone float-out of MSC Seashore took place Aug. 20 at the Fincantieri shipyard in Monfalcone, Italy. The new vessel will be the cruise line’s longest ship at 339 metres. It will be moved to a wet dock until delivery in July 2021 to allow for work on her interior.

ACTA reports it now has a travel waiver document available to members that could be used with clients in light of the new complexities with the COVID-19 pandemic. It is located in the member section of its website, though the association also recommends consulting independent legal sources before use. Accompanying the waiver is a document titled “Legal Notice and Terms of Use.” The documents are complimentary with ACTA membership and $250 for non-members.


Oxford Economics research suggests that global international travel demand is currently forecast to drop 57% in 2020, equivalent to 847 million fewer visitor arrivals, with a slower recovery in the second half of the year anticipated than in earlier forecasts. Domestic travel is set to experience a quicker recovery, returning to 2019 levels by 2022, but inbound travel not recovering until 2024.


The prime minister of St. Kitts and Nevis says the federation expects to reopen its borders in October (date TBC).

As part of its phase one pandemic protocols, Anguilla has started accepting applications for entry from visitors wishing to travel to the island. Visitors wishing to enter Anguilla may start the pre-registration process online at the Anguilla Tourist Board’s website. Once conditions are met and the application is approved, an electronic certificate authorizing travel to Anguilla will be issued.


In response to COVID-19, nightlife and entertainment establishments on the Dutch side of St. Martin have been closed until further notice. Restaurants and other beverage outlets must close at 10 p.m. at the latest. At same time, inter-island ferries between St. Martin and Anguilla are suspended until Nov. 1.

Seabourn will cancel upcoming voyages for three cruise ships in its fleet as a part of its pause in global ship operations. They include Seabourn Encore, now paused through Nov. 25; Ovation through Dec. 20; and Sojourn through May 24, 2021. The brand had previously announced a pause in its global ship operations through Nov. 20.


Effective Sept. 21, PAL Airlines will be launching a new five days a week service connecting St. John’s and Moncton. The route will be extended to include Ottawa restrictions on travel to Atlantic Canada are progressively reduced. The new service will operate on Mondays, Wednesdays, Thursdays, Fridays, and Sundays.

Toronto’s “cottage country” airline FLYGTA has resumed flights on Fridays, Saturday’s and Sundays from Billy Bishop City Airport (YTZ) to Muskoka Airport (YQA). Flight time is 30 minutes, eliminating the hassle of traffic gridlock to and from Gravenhurst and environs. Pandemic measures are in place for all flights.


The new “Here Comes the Sun Promo” from Transat offers extra flexibility on new bookings of South packages made by Sept. 11 as well as perks like Transat’s Price Drop Guarantee, a reduced deposit of only $100, and Option Flex included for free, which allows travellers to cancel or change their booking at no charge or to transfer their package to a family member or friend. Agents will also receive bonus Bonbon rewards on every booking.

The “Save Now, Cruise Later: Have it All” promotion by Holland America Line has been extended through Sept. 30. The promotion offers guests free drinks, free gratuities, free specialty dining, free WiFi and more. “The biggest offer HAL has ever introduced” applies through to winter/spring 2022 cruises and Alaska Land+Sea Journeys (excluding Grand Voyages).


A Private Group Option is now available from Insight Vacations on 38 select itineraries to Europe, the Eastern Mediterranean and North America that are part of the tour operator’s 2020-21 Fall, Winter and Spring collection. The option allows group of 12 or more to “create their own travel bubble” for an extra fee ranging from 10 to 30% depending on the size of the group (no surcharge for groups over 26). Travel plans can be changed up to 30 days prior and a 5% discount is available when booked by Aug. 27.

The new ‘Book Your Bubble Collection’ from G Adventures is designed to encourage friends and family to travel comfortably together in their own “bubble” with a series of incentives over and above those they would normally receive when booking private small group travel. Applicable to a program of 80 tours, the benefits include 50% off the eighth group member (discount can be divided); combine with ongoing offers; and flexible cancel and rebook options.


Disney Cruise Line has extended its “Cruise Date Flexibility” offer through Oct. 31, 2020. This means changes can be made to any sailings booked by Oct. 31, 2020, for cruises departing through May 31, 2021. Disney Cruise Line first announced the “Cruise Date Flexibility” offer in June with the offer ending on Aug. 31, 2020.

Diamond Princess will sail to South America and Antarctica in fall 2021 and spring 2022 in its maiden season, says Princess Cruises. The new ship will replace Sapphire Princess on the same deployment from December through March. First journey will be “Andes and South America” and “Antarctica, Andes and Cape Horn” on Dec. 1, 2021. In addition, the ship will sail on two new Pacific Crossings to and from Asia in fall 2021 and spring 2022 and sail the North Pacific Ocean with either Southeast Asia and Hawaii or Hawaii and Japan. These sailings are between Los Angeles and either Singapore or Yokohama (Tokyo). As a result of this change, three Sapphire Princess Baja Peninsula and Sea of Cortez cruises and three Hawaiian Islands cruises in fall 2021 and spring 2022 will be cancelled.


Now open, the Hyatt Place and Hyatt House Chicago Medical/University District, are the first combined Hyatt Place and Hyatt House hotels located in Chicago. Located in a Beaux-Arts classical-style landmark that is the former the site of the 106-year old Cook County Hospital, at 1835 W. Harrison St. on the near west side, the hotels are positioned in the epicenter of Chicago’s medical district and part of billion-dollar renovation of the area. The hotels have 210 rooms combined, substantial meeting space and tribute museum.


St Lucia

Canlink is reporting the following opening dates for its collection of luxury properties throughout the Caribbean and the U.K.:
• Antigua – Hermitage Bay, Oct. 1
• Grenada – Spice Island Beach Resort, Nov. 1
• Jamaica – Jamaica Inn and Tryall Club, open; Round Hill Hotel and Villas, Sept. 1
• St. Lucia – Anse Chastanet and Jade Mountain (photo above), open
• Turks and Caicos – Grace Bay Club and The Sands at Grace Bay, open
• London – One Aldwych, Sept. 6

Until Aug. 26, Club Med’s “Extra Savings on Winter Getaways Flash Sale” offers 55% off at nine Club Med resorts throughout Mexico, the Caribbean, and Florida. Travel must take place by April 3.


The new Canada Specialist Program from Destination Canada is intended to be a one-stop resource for travel advisors in Canada, to help them learn about the destinations, understand travel restrictions, and connect them with tour operators. There are 13 pre-recorded webinars currently available on the website, available in English and French. Advisors will hear directly from destination experts representing each of Canada’s provinces and territories, as well as our national partners Indigenous Tourism Association of Canada and Parks Canada. Advisors can discover hidden gems and unexpected experiences in Canadian destinations you might have thought you already knew. Check it out HERE.


Through Sept. 30, Canadian travel agents are invited to share their favourite Canadian recipes on the Contiki Canada’s Agent Facebook page in the comment section of the brand’s Cooking with Joel videos for a chance to win either 100 loonies or 50 toonies. Contiki is also highlighting authentic Canadian foods on the site over the next few weeks.


A new video initiative called #MadeInCostaRica, has been launched on Costa Rica’s YouTube channel, spotlighting local artisans in the Central American country. Four local artists or “makers” share their trade, culture and sustainability practices in the docu-series via four long-format video stories, which will air every Wednesday through Sept. 9.


Effective Aug. 24, Marsha Walden takes the reigns as Destination Canada’s new president and CEO. Walden has held the same role with Destination British Columbia since 2013.


Great West Way, which covers the area of England west of London all the way to Bristol, is home to some of the UK’s most picturesque country houses and gardens. And some of its best food. To help visitors plan the culinary part of their trip, GWW has launched a new map featuring the many food and drink establishments on the route as well as food markets and festivals. It also highlights related experiences such as cooking schools and distillery tours. Check out the web site for resources and itineraries and download a digital version of the map HERE.

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* Future dates and events listed here are up to date at time of printing, although obviously subject to changes due to ever-involving pandemic information. Travel Industry Today accepts no responsibility for sudden or unreported inaccuracies.

First published at Travel Industry Today

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