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ROUND-UP:Feb. 06-10, 2022

Border measures are easing around the world, though not in Canada (yet); Royal Caribbean floated out and Cunard named their latest ships; plus, in other news from last week, Air Canada unveiled some Disney fun, Insight revealed its new specialist program, and Globus incentives were introduced, including the chance to win a free cruise from Avalon Waterways.

NEWS

The Association of Canadian Independent Travel Advisors (ACITA) has initiated an official e-Petition, which is now open on the Parliament of Canada website, calling for the end of pre-arrival PCR testing requirements for international arrivals to Canada. Travel agents and industry colleagues are invited to sign and agents are encouraged to share the document with clients as well. The officially sponsored petition #e-3835 will remain open to be signed through March 10 and can be accessed HERE.

Recent research in the UK indicates that a booking boom occurred in that country immediately after mandatory COVID-19 tests for vaccinated travellers were eliminated. The data supports urgent pleas from across the Canadian travel and tourism industry for the government here to do the same. Conducted by ForwardKeys, the research reveals that combined inbound and outbound flight bookings jumped to 84% of pre-pandemic (2019) levels after the UK government’s announcement on Jan. 24. Outbound bookings increased 106% and inbound 47%.

The Philippines has lifted a nearly two-year ban on foreign travellers in a lifesaving boost for its tourism and related industries as an omicron-fuelled surge eases. Foreign travellers from 157 countries with visa-free arrangements with the Philippines who have been fully vaccinated and tested negative for the virus will be welcomed back and will no longer be required to quarantine upon arrival.

BORDERS

New COVID-19 protocols in Bermuda will come into effect March 7. All visitors will be required to show proof of current vaccination status (second dose within six months, or three doses of the vaccine) and a negative COVID-19 test result (antigen or PCR) taken within two days of arriving on the island, however no further testing will be required upon arrival unless required for return to the country of origin, in which case Bermuda will automatically schedule and provide return testing to travellers. Travellers will also need to complete a Travellers Authorization form 24 to 48 hours prior to arrival in Bermuda.

Australia will open its borders to all vaccinated tourists and business travellers on Feb. 21 – nearly two years after closing its border and imposing some of the world’s toughest travel restrictions on its citizens and permanent residents to prevent them from bringing COVID-19 home.

AIR

Swoop plans to increase its fleet to 16 aircraft from 10 beginning this summer. The acquisition of six new Boeing MAX-8 aircraft will enable the ultra-low-cost carrier (ULCC) to meet peak season travel demand, says the airline, which will also significantly expand its domestic network, adding non-stop flights to Newfoundland and increasing service in Atlantic Canada.

A steamed WestJet has cancelled 20% of its flights in March, extending schedule cuts from February amid ongoing COVID-19 restrictions and uncertainty that continue to drain demand. Calling the cuts “avoidable,” WestJet is urging the government to provide a roadmap to Canadians for the return of accessible and affordable that notably eases restrictions such as pre-travelling testing and quarantine.

Frontier is offering to buy Spirit Airlines in a US$2.9 billion cash-and-stock deal that would close in the second half of the year if approved by regulators and Spirit shareholders. The “tie-up” of the low-cost carriers would create the fifth largest airline in the US.

BY THE NUMBERS

Since early November, WestJet and budget subsidiary Swoop have cancelled 11,285 trips for March, or 48% of their scheduled flights. Air Canada has scrapped 16,617 or 41% since mid-October, according to flight data firm Cirium.

DEALS

The “Tale a Beach Break’ promo from Transat offers up to 40% off new individual bookings made between by Feb. 20. The sale applies to flights to Europe, for travel be April 30, 2022. Exceptions apply.

Coinciding with its new protocols (mentioned above), Bermuda’s ‘Pink Sale’ promotion, offering savings on participating accommodation of up to 50%, has been extended until Feb. 20.

TOURS

TravelBrands Encore Cruises has a new cruise line partner, Tradewind Voyages – a luxury small ship cruise line that sails without using main propulsion engines, thereby giving guests an authentic sailing experience. Global itineraries feature smaller locations accessible by virtue of the ship’s smaller size. Travel agents who book a Tradewind Voyages sailing through TravelBrands will earn 2,000 Loyalty Rewards points per stateroom.

For a limited time, Aeroplan members can earn bonus Status Qualifying Dollars (SQD) and Status Qualifying Miles (SQM) when booking an Air Canada Vacations flight-inclusive package with their travel agent for travel through April 30, 2022. Bonus SQD earned are equal to 50% of the total package price and extends to group bookings. Plus, additional Bonus SQM can be earned depending on a customer’s Aeroplan EliteTM Status.

CRUISE
Carnival Cruise Line’s next new ship ‘Carnival Celebration’ was floated out at the Meyer Turku shipyard in Finland, signifying a major step in her construction, before moving to the shipyard’s outfitting pier to prepare it for sea trial in the summer and delivery in the fall. The Celebration is the second of three Excel-class ships, joining Mardi Gras, already sailing from Port Canaveral, Fla., and Carnival Jubilee, set to sail from Galveston, Texas in 2023.

Cunard has named its newest ship – the ‘Queen Anne’ – which will sail in 2024, with sales set to start in May. The vessel will be the 249th in the cruise line’s historic fleet and will mark the first time since 1999 that the company will have four ships at sea (including Queen Mary 2, Queen Victoria, and Queen Elizabeth).

HOTELS

In Los Angeles, the Beverly Hills Hotel has revealed a fresh redesign, featuring 11 new poolside retreats. Decked out in pink, the new poolside cabanas present the perfect stay for visitors looking to turn back time to Hollywood’s Golden Age. The hotel is known for being featured in many classic films and its celebrity clientele, past and present.

IHG Hotels and Resorts has opened its first voco hotel in Germany – voco Dusseldorft Seestern. Located in the Lörick district of the city, the hotel is a premium option for those visiting Dusseldorf for business or leisure, located within walking to distance to the banks of the Rhine River and a short drive from the airport and the city’s main shopping and business districts.

RESORTS

Clients booking at stay any all Secrets, Dreams, Breathless, Zoëtry, Sunscape, or Now resorts by March 29, when travelling through Aug. 20, 2022, are eligible for 40% savings on room rates, as well as $200 in resort coupons, through the AMR Collection “Welcome Home” promotion. Kids also stay free at participating resorts.

Travellers can save up to 30% and receive a daily $30 resort credit at The Reef Atlantis on Paradise Island, Bahamas for stays of seven nights and more. Booking window is through March 31, 2022, for travel until March 31, 2023.

ATTRACTIONS & THEME PARKS

Billed as “going beyond anything Disney has created before,” “Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser” will take flight March 1 at Walt Disney World in Orlando. The innovative two-night vacation experience invites guests to “become the heroes” of their own Star Wars story, which interweaves with members of the crew, other passengers, droids, and familiar Star Wars characters such as Rey, Chewbacca and Kylo Ren. Included are accommodation, meals, and onboard activities.

EDUCATION

The Insight Specialist eLearning course is new and improved. The course is now streamlined into one learning path with three modules, which travel advisors can choose to complete in the order most relevant to their needs. Suited to both novice or existing specialists, the course will provide sales tips, the latest offerings and more, says the company. Successful participants also earn eligibility for Insight Vacations fam tours and receive a certificate to show clients.

FAMS & INCENTIVES
As part the Air Canada’s collaboration with Disney and Pixar, the carrier will be promoting the new film “Turning Red” through a themed livery (photo) that will fly across the country on a Canadian built Airbus A220. The animated film is set in Toronto and directed by Academy Award winner and Canadian Domee Shi. Passengers can see a special video onboard and the airline is conducting a contest through Feb. 20 offering five prize packages, each featuring a trip for four people to Toronto to attend the Canadian premiere of the film on March 8. Enter HERE.

Just in time for Valentine’s Day, the Globus family of brands wants to celebrate travel advisors’ sales successes with a plethora of incentives, including weekly prizes and a free Avalon Waterways cruise in 2022. Running from Feb. 14 through April 1, the ‘Just Say “YES!”’ booking contest awards travel advisors one entry for every passenger booked during the booking window. Winners will be announced weekly. Visit Agentlingo for details.

EVENTS

ACTA has posted a “save the date” notice for members to attend the association’s in-person conferences in September – Toronto on the 14th, Vancouver on the 21st, and Montreal on the 28th. Also on the calendar is a return of the annual ACTA Ontario Golf Tournament at the Royal Ontario Golf Club in Milton on Thursday, July 14, with proceeds going to help support the Tourism Cares Charity and the ACTA Advocacy Fund. Questions about ACTA 2022 in-person events can be addressed to Marco Pozzobon at mpozzobon@acta.ca.

PEOPLE/APPOINTMENTS

In response to the workforce shortage impacting British Columbia’s hospitality industry, the British Columbia Hotel Association (BCHA) has, for the first time in it’s 105-year-old history, created an administrative position dedicated to recruitment. New “workforce specialist” Alison Langford will lead both domestic and international recruitment efforts for the accommodation sector, developing new hiring opportunities and strengthening existing initiatives with partner organizations.

DESTINATIONS

Israel has approved a US$35 million upgrade to the Western Wall in Jerusalem, one the country’s most iconic and visited sites. The plan aims to encourage more visits to the site by improving public transportation accessibility, developing new educational programs, and continuing existing development projects.

After touring worldwide for 15 years, the Kinsey African American Art & History Collection returns to Los Angeles at SoFi Stadium (site of the Super Bowl) on Feb. 23. The collection is considered one of the largest, most comprehensive of its kind with over 9,300 sq. m. of art, sculptures, photographs, rare books, and letters. The collection documents the African American experience and illuminates the untold stories of Black Excellence throughout US history, focussing on the lives, accomplishments of African Americans from the 16th century through the years of slavery and emancipation to the civil rights movement and modern day.

Send info to baginski@travelindustrytoday.com

First published at Travel Industry Today

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