All travel news.

ROUND-UP:Dec. 28-31, 2020

Canada announces PCR test requirements, the Boeing 737 Max is flying again, and Brand USA is planning a virtual event for the Canadian travel trade next week.


Starting Jan. 7, all passengers (aged five and up) on flights entering Canada will be required to present a negative PCR test taken within three days of travel to ensure they are COVID-free. The measure does not replace the 14-day quarantine period.

Paying passengers boarded a Boeing 737 Max in Miami Dec. 29 for a flight to New York – the first time since safety regulators allowed the plane to fly again after two deadly crashes.

Sri Lanka has reopened to tourists after more than nine months. The Indian Ocean island nation closed to tourists in March, amid the first wave of the coronavirus. A pilot program to attract tourists is now being implemented that will allow close to 2,500 visitors, mainly from eastern European countries through Jan. 24.

The European Commission has approved €650 million aid dedicated to LOT airlines, a major network airline in Poland and Central Europe based in Warsaw, as a COVID-19 relief.


Peru’s Inkaterra hotels have officially resumed operations with international hygiene, mask-wearing and social distancing protocols in effect. North Americans required a negative COVID test to enter the country, which began welcoming tourists on Nov. 1.


All Norwegian Cruise Line cruises embarking through March 2021 have now been cancelled. Previously, NCL had announced the suspension of cruises on all ships except Norwegian Encore, Norwegian Escape, and Norwegian Joy, but has now added those three ships to the list.

Montenegro Airlines has ceased operations after the country’s government refused to continue financing the indebted national carrier.


In November, Hawaii welcomed 802 visitors arrived from Canada compared to 50,598 visitors a year ago, a 98.4% decrease. All 802 visitors came to Hawaii on domestic flights. Year-to-date through November, Canadian arrivals were down 66.9% to 157,367. Overall, in November, visitor arrivals to Hawaii decreased 77.3% year over year, according to the Hawaii Tourism Authority.


Qatar Airways will begin incrementally increasing flights to Montréal starting on Jan. 16 with plans to have daily frequencies by Feb. 25, up from the previously scheduled four weekly frequencies. The Montréal service is operated on state-of-the-art Airbus A350-900 aircraft.

Add Bonaire to WestJet’s roster of Caribbean destinations with new non-stop once-weekly seasonal service from Toronto starting Feb. 6, 2021.


With Georgia seemingly on everybody’s mind this week (at least in respect to the US Senate election), IHG Hotels & Resorts has teamed up with Explore Georgia to promote travel to the state with a special “stay longer and save rate,” which offers 20% off on stays of three nights or more at select properties through Feb. 28.

The all-inclusive Sonesta Resorts Sint Maarten—comprising the adults-only luxury Sonesta Ocean Point Resort and the family-centric Sonesta Maho Beach Resort, Casino & Spa — are offering up to $120 p.p. in resort credits to offset the cost of COVID-19 testing. The resorts are also offering up to 50% off normal rates for travel through April. Promotions booked by Feb. 15 may be changed or cancelled without penalty for up to seven days prior to arrival.


Rocky Mountaineer is spreading its wheels to offer a new two-day rail journey in the US in 2021. “Rockies to Red Rocks” will travel between Denver, Colorado, and Moab, Utah, with an overnight stay in Glenwood Springs, Colorado. Service is scheduled to launch Aug. 15 with a preview season of 40 departures across 10 weeks through Oct. 23. Custom vacation packages, including visits to Las Vegas and Salt Lake City, will also be offered.

Based on the successful roll-out of its 2021 Cruise & Rail itinerary between Venice and Zurich, Uniworld Boutique River Cruises will launch even more Cruise & Rail experiences through Hungary, Italy, Turkey, Romania, Austria, Switzerland and more in 2022. A sample itinerary is the new “Castles of Transylvania,” tour, which will connect Golden Eagle’s Danube Express train with Uniworld’s “Enchanting Danube” cruise onboard the S.S. Maria Theresa for eight different departures


All 2021 Europe and Asia cruises booked by Jan. 31 on AmaWaterways will be protected through the temporary “Ultimate Cruise Flexibility program.” The flexible complimentary policy allows guests to reschedule the river cruise portion of their journey through 2023 without any change fees. Those booking other parts of their journey (air, land packages, extra hotel nights) through Ama, can add Travel Waiver Plus protection for US$175 p.p. to cover cancellations for any reason up to 24 hours prior to the start of the purchased services.


Discovery Cove“Flamingo Mingle” is the latest animal experience at Discovery Cove in Orlando. Featuring the all-inclusive park’s resident group of flamingos (known as a flamboyance), the Mingle begins each day at 8 a.m. during normal park hours for a group of no more than eight guests, who will feed the birds one on one before wading together in the cool reef waters. A professional photographer will capture the experience as animal care specialists answer questions and share fun facts about these amazing creatures and how they are cared for. Space is limited and prices start at US$59 p.p. Participants must be at least six years of age (ages 6 to 12 must be accompanied by an adult).


Choice Hotels will open a new 54-room hotel at Buzzard Point in Washington DC on Feb. 15. The Cambria Hotel Washington, DC Capitol Riverfront features rooftop bar views of the US Capitol near Audi Field and Nationals Park. The hotel will feature spa-style bathrooms with Bluetooth mirrors and an American style restaurant, RowHouse.

Hotel Indigo will make its Australian debut with the opening of Hotel Indigo Adelaide Markets this month. Located on Adelaide’s Market Street– a vibrant culinary hub in the heart of the city and seconds from the iconic Central Markets – the 145-room hotel features art that pays homage to city’s culture and copper mining history. Another highlight is the rooftop raw food bar, Merrymaker.


A new app from RIU Hotels & Resorts is designed to stay by the customer’s side throughout their holiday, from booking right through to the stay in the hotel. It also offers direct access to all the benefits of the Riu Class loyalty program. Features include an online check-in option; the ability to arrange many services during their stay directly from their mobile device, such as requesting fresh towels, checking the restaurant opening hours and booking a table; or finding out about the activity and entertainment program.

Travellers are invited to make the Fairmont Kea Lani Maui their home away from home with the resort’s 860-sq.-ft. suites, which feature a separated bedroom and living room, each with a large flat-screen television. The suites offer ample space for creating a virtual office or classroom for working or learning with a backdrop of Maui as inspiration. The resort’s Earn and Learn package includes 30% off stays of 30 or more nights, weekly food and beverage credit, discounts on dining and cabana rentals, a weekly Hawaiian Cultural Learning Lab, and access to the property’s executive boardroom for video conferencing.


Visit Costa Rica is running a campaign to celebrate and remind us of those who are essential to our lives by awarding 15 individuals with trips for two to Costa Rica in 2021. Canadian agents and travellers are invited to nominate a person that has made a meaningful difference in their lives through the “Who Is Essential to You” campaign and trip giveaway. Nominations (excluding residents of Quebec) can be made through Jan. 31 HERE.


Brand USA, the destination marketing organization for the US, is will host an exclusive virtual trade event for the Canadian trade on Jan. 13-14. Designed to connect participants with hundreds of US destinations and experiences, Focus On Canada is the first event solely dedicated to Canada/US travel to take place on the new Brand USA Global Marketplace. On Jan. 13, experts will share insights on Canada’s travel landscape, while on Jan. 14, the attendees can discover the comprehensive resources and tools available on the new “always-on” platform. For more information and to register, click HERE.


Air Canada Vacations has named Nino Montagnese VP of Air Canada Vacations. The Toronto-based exec was previously managing director. Other promotions at the airline include Lisa Pierce to VP Canada and USA Sales, and Virgilio Russi to VP International Sales.

NAV CANADA has named Raymond G. Bohn as President & CEO, effective Feb. 1. Bohn is currently VP and Chief Human Resources Officer; he replaces the retiring Neil R. Wilson.

Visit Orlando has announced the hiring of Casandra Matej as president and CEO. Matej brings over two decades of experience in the tourism industry, including most recently serving as president and CEO of Visit San Antonio.


From the famous “Starry Night” and “Sunflowers” to the lesser known “Garden of St Paul’s Hospital,” over 200 of Van Gogh’s paintings will come to life in Vancouver in February with “Imagine Van Gogh” at the Vancouver Convention Centre. “Original canvasses are expanded and fragmented, then projected into unusual shapes to emphasize the mesmerizing exaggerations and distortions of Van Gogh’s work. “Visitors experience their energy, emotion, and beauty like never before,” say organizers. Details and timed-entry tickets HERE.

A new museum under construction in New Orleans will explore the journey of immigrant Jews and subsequent generations to the American South who brought with them a religious way of life they struggled to maintain while seeking acceptance in the home of the Bible Belt. With multimedia interactive exhibits and a collection of more than 7,000 artifacts, the museum also examines harder-hitting issues, such as race relations, Jewish slave ownership and anti-Semitism. The museum is on track to open within the first quarter of this year.

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First published at Travel Industry Today

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