All travel news.

ROUND-UP:Aug. 31-Sept 4, 2020

A travellers’ quarantine trial has been launched in YYZ; Costa Cruises is sailing again, and Discount Car and Truck rentals has a new owner.

NEWS

International travellers arriving at Toronto’s Pearson airport can now be tested for COVID-19 as part of a voluntary study to explore the effectiveness of quarantines. The month-long project, run by McMaster HealthLabs, the GTAA and Air Canada, will see participants provide a sample to researchers in the terminal and two more self-collected samples seven and 14 days after touchdown.

WestJet is raising its surcharges between $4 and $7 per passenger on domestic flights in response to a 30% rate increase by Nav Canada, which operates air navigation across the country. The carrier opposes and may appeal the fee hike and would scrap the surcharge if successful.

Enterprise Holdings Inc.’s Canadian branch has closed its deal to buy Discount Car and Truck Rental’s 300 locations. The combined company says the deal will give rental customers access to a bigger fleet of vehicles.

To highlight the power of sustainable travel in protecting wildlife around the world, The TreadRight Foundation has released a short film featuring its ‘Wildlife’ Ambassador and award-winning National Geographic photographer, Ami Vitale, in Centennial Valley, just outside of Yellowstone National Park, which is home to an abundance of diverse wildlife, and to the largest concentration of mammals in the lower 48 states. Look for it on TreadRight’s YouTube channel.

RE-OPENING/STARTED

Hamlton Princess

Visitors to Bermuda can once again stay at the Hamilton Princess & Beach Club (photo), which re-opened on Aug. 28.

Costa Cruises resumed its sailed schedule on Sept. 6, while sister Carnival Corp brand Aida plans to re-start Nov. 1. Both brands will begin in a gradual, phased-in manner with six initial ships and limited itineraries, becoming the first two of the company’s nine global cruise line brands to resume operations.

Philip Goldson International Airport (BZE) will be opened on Oct. 1, as part of the Belize’s five-phase re-opening strategy for tourism. The country had previously announced it would reopen August.

DELAYED/CANCELLED

All remaining Windstar Cruises departures for 2020 have been cancelled. Guests on cancelled cruises will receive a Future Cruise Credit valued at 125% of all monies paid on the booking to Windstar. Guests who prefer a refund can request their FCC be converted to a refund equal to 100% of the monies paid to Windstar once they receive their FCC certificate. Guests will have 24 months from the issuance date of their FCC to book and embark on any available Windstar cruise using their FCC.

Effective this week, the Vancouver Aquarium has closed to the public, putting its programming on pause while it attempts to recover from the financial devastation of COVID-19. Ocean Wise, the non-profit organization that operates the aquarium, says the decision was made in response to one of the most financially challenging times in its 64-year history.

AIR

Non-stop flights from Toronto to Montego Bay, Cancun, Las Vegas, Orlando and Tampa Bay will highlight ultra low-cost Swoop’s new winter schedule starting Oct. 25. The carrier, which has continued to fly during the pandemic, will also restart operations from Kelowna. Winter flying from Edmonton, with service to six destinations, was previously announced, while Toronto will also be connected with Abbotsford, Edmonton, Kelowna, and Halifax.

FLYGTA will add Kingston to its list of Ontario destinations beginning Sept. 10 – the first stage in working toward potential daily air service to and from downtown Toronto and a link to the Porter Airline network. Flights from Toronto will be offered Thursday to Sunday.

Change fees, with the exception of on Saver fares, have been permanently eliminated by Alaska Airlines.

DEALS

The “Back to Savings Sale” by Club Med offers rates starting at 50% off for bookings made by Nov. 4 for travel dates through May 1, 2021 at nine resorts throughout Mexico, the Caribbean, and Florida. Benefits include up to $500 air credit; no single supplement; kids under four stay free, and kids under 16 stay for up to 50% off.

TOURS

A COVID-19 Coverage and Assistance Plan, administered by Allianz Global Assistance, is now available at no additional cost to customers booking with Air Canada Vacations. The plan is designed to cover emergency medical and quarantine expenses if COVID-19 is contracted while travelling.

BY THE NUMBERS

Air Canada Vacations’ recent sixth annual #ACVDreamMakers event – the first ever to be held virtually – attracted 2,350 travel agent attendees on Day 1 and almost 1,800 consumers on Day 2, reports the tour operator.

HOTELS

Sandman Hotel Group’s first Signature-branded hotel in Saskatchewan, Sandman Signature Saskatoon South Hotel is now open. Located east of the South Saskatchewan River at 2815 Lorne Ave, the ultra-modern and highly contemporary interior hotel has 230 spacious guest rooms and suites with upgraded room amenities, luxurious bedding, and deluxe bathrooms. There is also a pool and fitness centre and a Denny’s and Chop Steakhouse (November) will be located onsite.

IHG (InterContinental Hotels Group), is bound for Budapest. The 189-room Holiday Inn Express Budapest City Centre is expected to open in late 2022 and will cater to both business and leisure travellers.

RESORTS

We Care About You, the Barceló Hotel Group’s new COVID-era commitment, is designed to strengthen the protection of its customers, employees and suppliers through safety, health and hygiene protocols as its hotels and resorts begin to re-open. The lengthy list of protocols, based on World Health Organization (WHO) and local recommendations, includes adherence by Latin America properties to the respected Cristal International Standards of the Intertek Group.

CRUISE

Following a successful inaugural season sailing and exploring Antarctica, the Scenic Eclipse, has been admitted as an official member of the International Association of Antarctica Tour Operators (IAATO). For the upcoming 2020/21 Antarctica season, the vessel is planning two itineraries: the 13-day “Antarctica in Depth” and the 20-day “Antarctica, South Georgia & Falkland Islands” itinerary. Departure dates are pending.

Reservations are officially open for 2023 itineraries aboard Crystal Symphony. In all, Crystal Symphony will sail 36 all-inclusive itineraries of six to 15 nights, with 23 sailings of 10 days or fewer. For a limited time, the Crystal Confidence 2.0 program offers guests 90 days from the time of booking to place their deposit on any of Crystal’s Symphony’s newly released 2023 voyages or any 2020-23 sailings across all brand experiences – Crystal Cruises, Crystal River Cruises, Crystal Yacht Cruises and Crystal Expedition Cruises.

ATTRACTIONS & THEME PARKS

Orlando’s Discovery Cove is offering an 20% discount for guests making new bookings through the end of 2021. Rebooking without penalties or fees can be made up to 48 hours before and a full refund is available for cancellations 30 days or more from reservation date.

FAMS & INCENTIVES

Agents who book new 2021 group sailings to Grand Bahama Island or Nassau with Bahamas Paradise Cruise Line will receive up to 20% commission with no initial deposit required on bookings made by Oct. 1.

EVENTS

Sept. 17: Transat is inviting travel advisors to a special home edition of its Training Academy on Thursday, Sept. 17, from 2 to 6 p.m. Featuring winter sun product and offers, the online session will feature Air Transat and Transat Tours staff, plus supplier partners, issuing the latest news and updates and interacting with participants, who will also receive useful tools and digital sales materials. Prizes will be offered throughout the day. Register HERE.

PEOPLE/APPOINTMENTS

Wed In Destination is the newest venture of Suri Pillai, who founded Discount Coach Tours eight years ago. The Ancaster, Ont.-based online retailer (Wedindestination.com) specializes in destination weddings “from the Caribbean to the castles in Europe, and palaces in India” and cites Sunwing, Air Canada Vacations, Transat and WestJet Vacations as prominent partners.

AGENTS

The Travel Agent Next Door has added two new suppliers offering in-demand Canadian product including tours, self drive options and motorhome vacations: DMCi Inc. and CanaDream.

DESTINATIONS

Photo – Mathieu Rivard

A radically reimagined Montreal Biodôme has re-opened for visitors (photo). The popular attraction features the building’s original 1976 architecture and design, now suffused natural light, and visitors will be able to get closer to the animals, for example viewing birds in the Tropical Rainforest from tree-top level. Beyond the design, there’s 23 stations of discovery, behind-the-scenes vantages, new timed tickets (now on sale) and a new mobile app that helps visitors explore.

In collaboration with Great Western Railway (GWR), England’s Great West Way has launched the UK’s largest integrated rail and bus pass, the GWR Great West Way Discoverer. The international pass can be purchased for three or seven-day trips and includes travel on specific train routes along the 800-km touring route, which covers the territory from London west to Bristol, including iconic British sites like Windsor, Stonehenge and Bath.

Send info to baginski@travelindustrytoday.com

* 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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