ROUND-UP:Dec. 13-17, 2021
Canada has advised again against non-essential travel; Canada Jetlines hopes to be airborne in Q2; new hotels and resorts continue to open; and the Jamaica Tourist Board celebrated its top agent specialists at an on-island gala.
With the Omicron variant rising, the Canadian government re-imposed its warning against all non-essential international travel. The move comes less than two months after the warning was lifted.
Travel industry experts say Ottawa’s advisory to avoid all non-essential travel could have significant impacts on travel insurance, with some plans specifically excluding coverage as a result. They are warning Canadians to double-check their insurance coverage before leaving the country.
After signing a Definitive Lease Agreement for its first Airbus A320-200 aircraft, Canada Jetlines says it expects the aircraft to be delivered by February, which will put it on track to be airborne in Q2.
Seasonal service to Mont-Tremblant, Que from Porter Airlines started on Friday. The non-stop service from Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport to Mont-Tremblant International Airport, will operate until March 28.
BY THE NUMBERS
Miami International Airport is finally seeing more passengers than it served before the pandemic and set new records for Thanksgiving holiday travel despite growing concerns about the spread of the omicron variant. About 3.9 million passengers passed through security last month, a 6% rise from 3.7 million ticketed passengers in November 2019, airport officials report. And during the entire 12-day Thanksgiving travel period, 1.7 million passengers passed through the airport, 14% more than the same period in 2019. The airport expects record-high passenger volume to continue through December.
Air Transat has announced the extension of its route between Toronto and Faro, Portugal to the summer of 2022. The route, which was initially offered from Jan. 18 to the end of April, will now be operated until Oct. 25 on a weekly basis, every Tuesday, with its new Airbus A321neoLR aircraft.
Known since December 1948 as McCarran International Airport, Las Vegas’ international airport was officially renamed Harry Reid International Airport after an influential former US senator last week. The airport code remains LAS.
Travelport and Cathay Pacific have a renewed and expanded multi-source content distribution agreement that includes a commitment towards advancing New Distribution Capability (NDC) initiatives. Travelport-connected agencies around the world with real-time access to search, sell, and book its Cathay content and inventory. The agreement will also see the content available to agents progressively expanded, to include a larger range of fares as well as ancillaries than had previously been unavailable.
Flair Airlines plans to expand its fleet to 30 aircraft by mid-2023, more than double the current size as it strives for a 50-plane fleet within five years. The ultra-low-cost carrier says it will lease an additional 14 new Boeing 737 Max jetliners in the next year and a half. The new planes would come on top of the dozen currently on hand as well as the four already slated for arrival next year. Edmonton-based Flair whose fleet was down to one plane last April, says it expects to have see 20 aircraft flying to Canadian cities ranging from Victoria to St. John’s, N.L., by next summer.
From Jan. 18 to Feb. 13, NYC Winter Outing, presented by NYC & Company and preferred payment partner Mastercard, will offer New York wintertime experiences at an attractive price point across hotels, dining, Broadway, museums, cultural institutions, attractions, performing arts, and tours. The program will bring together NYC & Company’s three signature programs, NYC Restaurant Week, NYC Broadway Week and NYC Must-See Week, and introduce a new program, the first-ever NYC Hotel Week to create ultimate value across the five boroughs. Offers include 22% off hotel stays; 2-for-1 tickets to Broadway shows, attractions, museums, cultural institutions, performing arts and tours; and prix-fixe menus at hundreds of restaurants. Hotel week bookings open Jan. 4, the others, Jan. 11.
Preparing to meet the increased demand for open spaces and off-the-beaten-path travel, Costsaver is expanding to two additional destinations with new itineraries in Australia and New Zealand for 2022 and ‘23. Among the options are the nine-day “Cosmopolitan Sydney and Melbourne,” the adventurous “Tropical Cairns and the Great Barrier Reef,” and “The Essence of Southern New Zealand.” The three tours also feature 40 optional experiences to enable clients to personalize their travels.
Fans of the new Matrix movie can take a walk in Neo’s footsteps and into the rabbit hole with a new self-guided tour created by the San Francisco Travel Association (SF Travel) based on filming locations in the city. Portions of the fourth Matrix installment were filmed in early 2020 in San Francisco’s Financial District, Chinatown, North Beach, Russian Hill, and South of Market (SOMA) neighbourhoods. The Matrix Resurrections film locations tour guides visitors through diverse and charming neighbourhoods into downtown and ends on the waterfront. To access a digital map, click HERE.
AMR Collection’s Breathless Cancun Soul Resort & Spa celebrated its grand opening Dec. 7 (photo). Located in the hotel zone on the Cancun strip, the 429-suite beachfront resort offers vibrant, contemporary décor and includes three pool, gourmet dining options, 11 bars and lounges, fitness centre, luxury spa, fire pit plaza for up to 35 people, and a pet playground. Also celebrating its grand opening was Zoëtry Casa del Mar Los Cabos on Dec. 15.
Located on Mexico’s Pacific coast, Club Med Ixtapa, has officially re-opened. The family-friendly all-inclusive resort is nestled between the Pacific Ocean and the green mountains of the southern Sierra Madre. Spread across 15 hectares and situated along a 730-m. stretch of white sand beach, the resort offers guests plenty of room to roam and enjoy unlimited refined culinary options, 25-plus land and water activities like pickleball, sailing, and flying trapeze, immersive destination excursions like deep sea fishing, and highly-customized kids’ clubs to keep kids busy while adults enjoy some R&R at the spa.
The Margaritaville Beach House Key West is now open, following an ongoing multi-million investment. Previously the Barbary Beach House Key West, the rebranded and upgraded south Florida resort sits oceanfront along Smathers Beach and offers 186 spacious suites, a lagoon-style pool, and lounging hammocks throughout the grounds. Amenities include poolside entertainment, daily refreshments, a 24-hour fitness centre, kids’ activities, lawn games, and easy access to the beach. The resort is located a mile from Key West International Airport, and provides complimentary shuttle service to the airport, Duval Street, and the Downtown Seaport Harbor.
Choice Hotels’ upscale Cambria brand continues to expand in the US with the opening of the newest location, the Cambria Hotel Louisville Downtown-Whiskey Row. The five-story, 128-room hotel is the second Cambria to open this month, following the Cambria Hotel Nashville Airport. Located at 120 South Floyd St. in the heart of downtown and its vibrant entertainment district, the hotel is close to Waterfront Park, Louisville Slugger Field, and nightlife, restaurants and bars on the famed Whiskey Row, once home to the Kentucky Bourbon industry.
Carnival Cruise Line has reopened Camp Ocean, its supervised children’s program for fully vaccinated children ages 5 to 11, for the first time since its ships have resumed service. Additionally, Circle “C” and Club O2 will continue to be open for vaccinated early teens ages 12 to 14 and for vaccinated teens ages 15 to 17, respectively.
Thanks to a multi-year agreement with the Panama Tourism Authority, Norwegian Cruise Line will homeport seasonally in Panama starting next spring, the first cruise line to due so. As such, roundtrip voyages will be offered from the Central American country by NCL starting on March 20.
ATTRACTIONS & THEME PARKS
SeaWorld Parks and Entertainment will open the new seven-hectare Sesame Place San Diego in March. It’s the second Sesame Place location in the country and the first located on the West Coast. Highlighted by the Elmo’s Rockin’ Rockets ride, the park will feature an interactive Sesame Street Neighbourhood complete with the iconic 123 Stoop, where kids can play in a world that plays back through immersive physical and digital character experiences. By summer, guests will be able to splash through 11 water attractions including a one of the largest wave pools in Southern California.
FAMS & INCENTIVES
The Jamaica Tourist Board recently rewarded its top-selling North American Jamaica Travel Specialists, including 20 Canadians, with a three-night, all-inclusive trip to Jamaica, culminating in an awards gala ceremony. Canadian agents were: Amanda Elizabeth Beaver – Glow Travel; Amy Marie Wood – Romantic Planet; Cheryl Jaster-Rhyno – Your Travel Boss; Dawn Ann Fairbanks – Grand Travel; Heather Kearns – Destination Weddings Travel Group; Jen Langlois – Suite Trip Travel TPI; Karen Lippett – Latitudes Plus/Smart Travels; Lois Barbour – Travel Time TPI Inc.; Melissa Jane Britton – Love Voyage; Michelle Lynn Adams – All Ways Travel; Pauline Blacoe – Shine Travel; Ramona L Noor-Ramdeo – Countryside Travel Centre Holidays; Sharon Boissonneault – House of Travel; Sigfie Constantine Salmon – TTAND; Tamara Graae – Ixtapa Travel; Tanja Steinbock – Barrett & Carlysle Travel; Theresa Annmarie Stephenson – TK Travel by Design; Valerie McEneny – Battlefield Travel; Vanessa Elizabeth Martinez – Unforgettable Escapes; and Yvonne Campbell – Yvonne’s Travel and Tours.
The Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) has announced its next Annual Summit will be held live and in-person from March 22 to 25, 2022 in Ras Al Khaimah, the northern most Emirate in the United Arab Emirates. The event will be the first time that the not-for-profit travel trade association, which serves government, tourism offices, hotels, airlines, and other travel-related companies with interests in the Asia Pacific region, will host its Annual Summit in West Asia.
Urszula Gut of The Travel Agent Next Door was the winner of the grand prize at the recent Europe Travel Xpo. The trip is a Castle & Country Ireland trip for two, sponsored by Tourism Ireland and Royal Irish Tours. The grand prize was awarded in a random draw of participants at Europe Travel Xpo – a virtual event held on Dec. 2.
Five organizations and individuals have been recognized by the Tourism Industry Association of Canada for “creativity, diversity and originality found in tourism.” Recipients of the 2021 Canadian Tourism Awards, presented at the recent TIAC congress in Ottawa include Hôtel de Glace, Saint-Gabriel-de-Valcartier, Que. (Air Canada Business Excellence Award); Squamish Lilwat Cultural Centre, Whistler, BC (ITAC Indigenous Tourism Award); Ocean Quest Inc., St. John’s, Nfld. (VIA Rail Canada Sustainable Tourism Award); Sally MacInnis, Ingonish Beach, NS (Tourism HR Canada Appreciation Award); William R. Fatt – posthumously awarded (Canadian Tourism Lifetime Achievement Award, presented by Destination Toronto).
The 39th annual Ontario Power Generation (OPG) Winter Festival of Lights, Canada’s largest free outdoor light festival, is extending its duration to illuminate Niagara Falls for a total of 101 nights, ending Feb. 21. With over 3 million lights and 75-plus spectacular displays providing colourful visuals, Niagara Falls will be transformed into a twinkling winter wonderland along the Niagara Parkway, Dufferin Islands, and across the tourism districts. Visitors to this popular annual festival can walk or drive through the Festival route to explore the self-guided experience.
Fully vaccinated international travellers, nationals and locals arriving by air into St. Kitts and Nevis are no longer required to test upon arrival or quarantine for 24-hours while awaiting test results. Fully vaccinated cruise passengers upon arrival at Port Zante, Charlestown or South Friars are also now allowed to fully integrate (free flow into the Federation). Only vaccinated travellers, 12 and over may visit St. Kitts and Nevis; exemptions apply for citizens and children 11 and under who are accompanying their fully vaccinated parents or guardians. All travellers must submit negative test results from an RT-PCR test taken within 72 hours of travel.
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First published at Travel Industry Today