ROUND-UP:Feb. 1-5, 2021
Among last week’s noteworthy news: Canada banned cruises for another year, rouge was grounded, and Carnival extended commission tier status.
Canada’s ban on cruises in Canadian waters, which was set to end on Feb. 28, has been extended for a full year, until the same date in 2022. The ban includes most Arctic expeditions and cruise vessels carrying more than 100 people.
Quebec’s provincial government has announced that it will waive the OPC permit from March 31, 2021, till Feb. 28, 2022. The Office de la Protection du Consommateur (OPC) collects hundreds of thousands of dollars annually from Quebec travel businesses.
Amid “unprecedented contraction and loss of revenues,” Indigenous Tourism BC (ITBC), in partnership with the Ministry of Tourism, Arts, Culture and Sport, is distributing $5 million to local Indigenous tourism businesses through the BC Indigenous Tourism Recovery Fund. The fund offers grants of up to $45,000 to support businesses navigate the ongoing economic impacts of COVID-19.
Toulouse, France, and Montreal have signed a cooperation agreement Toulouse to pursue their mutual goals of growth and development in advanced economic sectors, including tourism. These areas of common interest will be at the heart of their exchanges and will allow the sharing of common issues, best practices and innovative initiatives put in place to support economic development.
Effective Feb. 10 all arrivals to Saint Lucia (five years or older) must have a negative result from a COVID-19 PCR test taken no more than five days before arrival.
Effective today, Air Canada has temporarily grounded all Rouge flights as part of the Canadian airline industry’s federal directive to cease flights to the Caribbean and Mexico until April 30.
All Sunwing customers who have been impacted by cancelled travel due to the pandemic and who made non-refundable bookings will now be able to use their credits for travel up to Sept. 30, 2026.
IATA is partnering with the government of the Republic of Panama and Copa Airlines to trial IATA Travel Pass, a mobile app to help passengers easily and securely manage their travel in line with government requirements for COVID-19 testing or vaccine information. Panama is the first government to participate in a trial of the IATA Travel Pass, which is designed to help to re-establish global connectivity while managing the risks of COVID-19. Copa Airlines will be the first carrier in the Americas to trial the Pass.
BY THE NUMBERS
IATA says results for 2020 show that demand (revenue passenger kilometers or RPKs) fell by 65.9% compared to the full year of 2019 – the sharpest decline in aviation history; furthermore, forward bookings have been falling sharply since late December. North American airlines full year traffic fell 75.4% compared to 2019. Capacity dropped 65.5%, and load factor sank 23.9 percentage points to 60.1%. December demand was down 79.6% compared to the same month a year ago.
With Valentine’s Day gift-giving in mind, Insight Vacations’ “Get Back to What You Love” offers $750 p.p. off its “Country Roads” Europe and Americas tours when booked by March 4 for travel between July and November 2022.
Quark Expeditions has announced an early booking bonuses on voyages in its Antarctic 2022-23 season. With 40 departures across nine itineraries – many on the technologically-advanced ship, Ultramarine – guests can save 20% for a limited time plus another 10% when paid in full by May 31 and a further 5% if paid by March 31.
Coinciding with the start of Black History Month in North America, Trafalgar has launched “Journey Along the Civil Rights Trail,” a new itinerary for 2021/22 that brings to life the struggles and triumphs, music and milestones, legends and heroes of the US Civil Rights Movement. The nine-day Memphis-Atlanta tour highlights the significant events and acknowledges the people and icons involved in the ongoing fight for equality and freedom while enjoying the music, art and hospitality synonymous with America’s Southern states. The trip focuses on the pioneers of the period, particularly Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
A new program of 36 culturally immersive “Mini Adventures” has been launched by G Adventures. The two- to six-day short breaks are available across 28 cities in 19 countries and can be booked as extensions to an existing G Adventures tour or as a standalone for those wanting to make the most of an extended stay in a city they are visiting for leisure or work purposes. Sample tours include the three-day “Classic Marrakech Mini Adventure,” and six-day “18-to-Thirtysomething Laos Mini Adventure.”
The Fairmont Ambassador Seoul is set to debut next month with its 326 rooms and suites offering stunning panoramic views of the city skyline, and a collection of venues for unforgettable social gatherings such as the hotel’s rooftop restaurant and bar. The Korean capital city will also be home to the new Sofitel Ambassador Seoul Hotel & Serviced Residences, set to open in late 2021. The property will boast an impressive outlook over Seokchon Lake Park and feature 563 rooms and suites, an all-day dining restaurant and bar, indoor swimming pool, outdoor Jacuzzi, fitness, spa as well as meetings and events spaces.
One hour away from San José del Cabo Airport in Baja, Mexico, Todos Santos has a barefoot, bohemian vibe and is a haven for surfers and outdoor enthusiasts. The Paradero Hotels property, with 35 suites is situated within the Le Mesa farming community and an agricultural area comprising more than a dozen family-owned farms. Amenities include a large botanical garden with 60 endemic species; artisan-made furniture from Mexico; suspended ‘star nets’ that offer high-altitude views of the surrounding farmlands, mountains and ocean; below-ground spa that is inspired by a secret watering hole in Todos Santos; and an open-fire kitchen with a traditional Oaxacan clay oven.
Maui’s popular Kaanapali Beach Hotel will begin to unveil a US$75-million property-wide renaissance this winter. The new beachfront restaurant Huihui will open this month and also function as a sailing academy teaching the early Hawaiian skill of wayfinding. The hotel’s Papaku South Wing and Kauhale Southeast Wing will open with upgraded rooms featuring modern design and a strong sense of culture. The hotel’s refreshed courtyard now conveys a sense of place and includes edible plants such as maia (banana) and ulu (breadfruit).
Following a US$5-million investment in improvements, the Royal Lahaina Resort in Maui is welcoming guests back to the property with new guestroom enhancements, including fresh carpeting and paint, and furnishing upgrades. Other improvements to the resort include a lobby makeover and completely reimagined restaurant and lounge experience with accents highlighting unobstructed ocean and beach views. The resort’s oceanfront swimming pools have been redesigned and deluxe beachside cottages now feature new furniture, flooring and décor offering guests a private, intimate getaway.
Australia-based Aurora Expeditions’ state-of-the-art expedition ship, the “Sylvia Earle” (photo rendering), is due set sail in November. The vessel will be the second in the fleet to sail with the patented ULSTEIN X-BOW, whose inverted bow design, in combination with Rolls-Royce dynamic stabilizers, offers unrivalled stability and comfort on ocean crossings – cutting through sea swells, minimizing vibrations and disturbances, and making quicker transits through waves. This also helps reduce fuel consumption by up to 60%.
ATTRACTIONS & THEME PARKS
To celebrate its 10th anniversary this year, Legoland Florida Resort is planning to keep the party going all year long. The park will build the biggest LEGO cake ever, in addition to giving guests all-new experiences – from weekend events, to 4-D movies, and new stage shows.
The Jamaica Tourist Board has launched a Valentine’s Day photo contest for Canadian travel agents. In the spirit of spreading the love, the JTB Sales team is encouraging agents to share photos of their pets for a chance to win some fun prizes this month.
Agents can participate by uploading a photo of their own pets – “decked out in their finest outfits” – to the contest page or email it to firstname.lastname@example.org, accompanied by a 50 words or less explanation of why your pet is the best in the world. The best entries will be posted to the JTB Canada Travel Agent Facebook group on Feb. 23, where agents can vote for the top 10. Deadline for submissions is Friday (Feb. 12) and three winners will be announced during the JTB’s Irie Hour session on Tuesday, March 2. For full rules and details, visit the JTB web site www.visitjamaica/canada/contest
FAMS & INCENTIVES
Carnival Cruise Line says it will continue to pay agents at their 2019 commission tier through 2022. The move is designed to ensure that agents will continue to earn commission at their current rates for the next two years without commission percentage changing, and during a time of decreased bookings due to the pandemic, says Carnival.
March 23-26: The first edition of Destination Montagnes Grand Ski will take place March 23-26. Organized by Atout France, the virtual event is designed to connect tour operators selling skiing and hiking (summer and winter programs) with suppliers and destination rep in the French mountain region. For details, check www.destinationmontagnes.com
TL Network continues to grow with new TL Network Canada members including Abby Travels Ltd, BC; AirBond Travel Services Inc., Ont.; Astor Travel Services, Ont.; Canada One Travel, MB; Celebration Travel, Ont.; Custom Vacations, Ont.; iLand Luxury Travel, BC; Immersion Travel, Man.; Own Your Day Travel, BC; Own Your Day Travel, Ont.; Palipad Travel And Services, Alta.; Resfeber Travels, AB; SGF Travel & Tours, NS; Travel 3000 Inc, Ont., and Tripcentral.ca, Ont.
Toronto-based Reach Global Marketing is the new agency of record for This Is Athens, the Official Visitors’ Guide to the City of Athens. Reach Global was retained to elevate This Is Athens’ presence in Canada through sales and marketing activities and public and media relations.
Weather permitting, SpaceX Crew Dragon is set to have two launches this year from the Florida’s Space Coast. Crew-2 is currently set for March 30 and Crew-3 in the Fall. Meanwhile, a United Alliance (ULA) Atlas V rocket will launch Boeing’s CST-100 Starliner on a second unpiloted test flight to the International Space Station. This launch is currently set for March 29. ULA and Boeing are shooting for June for their Crew Test Flight.
Attractions and destinations across Virginia are celebrating Black History Month with a comprehensive lineup of virtual events. Throughout February, the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, home to the renowned Rumors of War sculpture, is hosting a variety of virtual events to commemorate Black History Month, including a series of African American read-in events, highlighting the powerful works of Black authors and artists. On Feb. 20, Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello is offering a free virtual conversation, entitled “Monticello’s Descendent Community: Young Voices Rising,” with three descendants of Monticello’s enslaved community.
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First published at Travel Industry Today