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ROUND-UP:Jan. 25-29, 2021

Canada introduces new travel restrictions; the worst travel year ever; and more Carnival cancellations are among last week’s notable news.

NEWS

Canada announced tighter travel restrictions Friday, including the suspension of all flights to Caribbean and Mexican destinations until April 30. Additionally, travellers may only arrive at four designated gateways – Toronto, Montreal, Calgary and Vancouver – and will require a COVID PCR test upon arrival, in additional to before travelling, and must quarantine for at least three days in a hotel at their own expense.

Even before the announcement of tighter travel restrictions by the Canadian government on Friday, ACTA urged “every single agency owner and every travel agent” to get involved in its urgent new advocacy effort demanding emergency aid for the sector. Details can be found at http://acta.ca/acta-advocacy-campaign

BY THE NUMBERS

The UNWTO says that global tourism suffered its worst year on record in 2020, with international arrivals dropping by 74% and 1 billion fewer international arrivals than in the previous year, due to an unprecedented fall in demand and widespread travel restrictions. This compares with the 4% decline recorded during the 2009 global economic crisis. The collapse in international travel represents an estimated loss of US $1.3 trillion in export revenues – more than 11 times the loss recorded during the 2009 global economic crisis. The crisis has put between 100 and 120 million direct tourism jobs at risk, many of them in small and medium-sized enterprises.

RE-OPENING/RE-START

Tauck has operated its first tour departures since the outbreak of COVID-19 last spring. The company recently completed its initial “Wonderland: Yellowstone in Winter” itineraries of the new year, with additional departures of the eight-day Montana and Wyoming national parks tour scheduled for February. Comprehensive safety and health protocols have been instituted across all tours and cruises.

DELAYED/CANCELLED

Canadian carriers Air Canada, WestJet, Sunwing, and Air Transat have suspended service to all Caribbean destinations and Mexico until April 30 as per Canada’s new COVID restrictions.

Carnival continues to adjust its sailing schedule. The latest:

• Related to already-announced dry dock plans for Carnival Magic, Carnival Paradise and Carnival Valor, operations of those ships will be delayed until November 2021

• Carnival Miracle’s planned seasonal service from San Diego has been suspended until further notice, and sailings out of San Diego that were available for sale through April 2023 have been cancelled, with the exception of seven voyages to Hawaii, which will move to Long Beach; the ship will assume the three- and four-day itineraries for Carnival Radiance from May 3-Nov. 1, 2021

• Carnival Radiance’s dry dock and transformation has been moved to September, with a planned arrival to Long Beach in November 2021.

AIR

Frontier Airlines has announced new twice-weekly service between Miami and St. Thomas, on Sundays and Thursdays, beginning March 7.

TOURS

Sacred Earth Journeys, known for its range of adventures exploring the spiritual side of a destination is planning to trip to Peru, each led by an expert guide who will help unlock the country’s spiritual stories. From April 18 to 27, “Welcome to Portals of Peru” with a bestselling author and ancient civilizations researcher Freddy Silva reveals the lesser-known aspects of temples from Sacsayhuaman and Machu Picchu to Lake Titicaca. And from Sept. 28 to Oct. 8, Heart of the Pachamama with Puma Quispe Singona offers the chance to have an Andean medicine man and wisdom keeper guide guests through the spiritual heart of Peru.

HOTELS

Marriott is set to add to its growing portfolio in Latin America with the introduction of AC Punta Cana in the Dominican Republic this Spring (photo). Tackling a growing trend in travel that combines business with leisure, this 129-room property will boast larger areas than commonly offered by the brand, such as pool, gardens, fitness centre, and rest areas, plus multi-functional spaces including a kitchen, store and lounge, as well as corporate event space.

A Hyatt Hotels affiliate has entered into franchise agreements with Story Hotels to bring three hotels in Sweden under the JDV Hotel brand, helping to grow Hyatt’s independent collection brand in Europe. The three boutique hotels – Story Hotel Riddargatan and Story Hotel Signalfabriken in Stockholm, as well as Story Hotel Studio Malmö, Sweden – will all retain their individual hotel names and unique identities and will be available for reservation through Hyatt’s booking channels starting April 1, 2021.

RESORTS

The Westin Maui Resort & Spa, Kaanapali recently completed a US$120-million resort-wide transformation, unveiling its centrepiece 217-room luxury beachfront guest tower Hokupaa. The resort’s extensive renovation also includes new restaurants and upgrades to the property’s massive pool playground.

AMResorts continues to expand in Europe with three brand management deals in Greece, adding to its existing Spanish portfolio. Set to open in 2022, five-star resort Dreams Crete will be situated on popular Malame Beach and encompass 357 luxury suites, while Dreams Corcyra, located in Corfu, will boast 327 rooms. The Alua Soul Plagos Beach in Zante will be a four-star resort totaling 161 rooms.

CRUISE

Seabourn Odyssey is scheduled to sail on a series of newly revised, seven-day voyages between Juneau, Alaska and Vancouver this summer. Promising journeys that are “different from the mainstream,” the itineraries combine ports such as Sitka and Ketchikan in Alaska with rarely visited gems like the Inian Islands and Alert Bay, a small First Nation village on Cormorant Island in the traditional Kwakwaka’wakw territory of BC, plus spectacular glacier experiences in places like Glacier Bay, Hubbard Glacier or Tracy/Endicott Arm. Four departures from May 28 to Sept. 10 are fully detailed on the company web site. www.seabourn.com

Peru-based river cruise operator Delfin Amazon Cruises has resumed sailings through the Upper Peruvian Amazon Rainforest. The first Relais & Chateaux cruise in the world, Delfin is known for its luxurious small vessels and immersive experiences, from deluxe cabins and five-star Peruvian cuisine, through to paddle boarding alongside pink dolphins, night safaris, and jungle trail walks. The 22-suite Delfin III operates with strict new Covid-19 protocols, in line with Peru’s national health and safety guidelines

ATTRACTIONS & THEME PARKS

Universal Studios Florida kicks off Mardi Gras 2021: International Flavours of Carnaval on Feb. 6, running through March 28.

The eclectic global food fest will feature 70 dishes and beverages from 13 locations around the globe (including Canada), plus a host of entertainment, including colourfully costumed dancers and brass bands. The event takes place daily at the Orlando theme park. There will also be Carnaval-themed menu options at Universal CityWalk and at the Universal Orlando Resort hotels.

FAMS & INCENTIVES

In appreciation of travel advisors’ loyalty and commitment, Carnival Cruise Line says it is honouring the commission tier each account earned in 2019 through 2022. With this move, Carnival is ensuring that travel advisors will continue to earn commission at their current rates for the next two years without commission percentage changing.

PEOPLE/APPOINTMENTS

The Affluent Traveler Collection has announced the appointment of travel industry veteran Tim Morgan to the newly created position of vice president, effective immediately. Morgan brings more than 15 years of travel industry experience to his new role at ATC including 13 years at Travel Professionals International (TPI).

Hong Kong Tourism Board Canada mainstay Karisa Lui has announced her retirement after four decades with the organization. Jorge Lee will be overseeing the PR matters in the interim until a replacement is in place at the tourist board’s Toronto office.

Aqua-Aston Hospitality, a leading hospitality management business headquartered in Honolulu since 1948, has announced the appointment of Bobbie Favela to the role of VP of Condominium Administration. Favela takes the reigns as long-time associate Ruth Okada retires from the role. In addition to its management of hotels and condominium resorts, Aqua-Aston Hospitality manages condominium associations throughout the Hawaiian Islands.

DESTINATIONS

One of Canada’s most recognizable landmarks, the rugged point of land surrounding the postcard-perfect lighthouse at Peggy’s Cove, NS., will be getting a much-needed facelift this summer. Plans have been unveiled to build a large viewing platform to improve access to the site and, at times, prevent people from venturing onto the rocks when storms roll in. The $3.1-million wood and concrete structure will include steel guardrails knitted together to look like fishing nets. Completion is expected by the end of June.

Send info to baginski@travelindustrytoday.com

First published at Travel Industry Today

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