All travel news.

ROUND-UP:July 19-23, 2021

Canada finally has plan to open its border, the US does not; the Inca Trail is open again; Bezos blasted into space, and Bureau’s back – all among last week’s news…

NEWS

Canada announced that it will re-open its borders to fully vaccinated travellers on Aug. 9 (US) and internationally (Sept. 7) respectively. The US did not reciprocate the gesture, leaving Canadians crossing at land borders for non-essential purposes barred until at least Aug. 21. A flurry of response, both pro and con, ensued on both sides of the border to the non-concurrent, but related, announcements.

In final preparations for the launch of consumer space travel, Amazon founder Jeff Bezos blasted into space July 20 on his rocket company’s first flight with people on board. Joining him were his brother, an 18-year-old from the Netherlands, and an 82-year-old aviation pioneer from Texas – the youngest and oldest to ever fly in space.

RE-OPENING/RE-START

The Disney Dream will kick off the long-awaited return to cruising for Disney Cruise Line from the US on Aug. 9. Voyages will include tropical trips to the Bahamas departing from Port Canaveral, Fla. Three- and four-night cruises will include a visit to the private island, Castaway Cay.

US headquartered small ship cruise line Windstar Cruises resumed cruising in French Polynesia/the Islands of Tahiti with vaccinated guests and crew aboard the line’s 148-passenger Wind Spirit sailing ship. Half of the line’s six yacht fleet is now back in the water cruising.

AIR

A new phased-in flight schedule to the US from Air Canada starting Aug. 1 encompasses 220 daily flights on 55 routes to 34 destinations. The airline also notes that its app will enable customers to scan, upload, and validate COVID-19 test results on all flights to Canada. Service to all 57 previously offered US destinations will be restored “as conditions allow” says the airline.

WestJet says it is not seeking financial aid from the federal government after months of talks between Ottawa and the airline. It says each party has agreed to shift focus to restarting the travel and tourism sector, given encouraging vaccination rates.

Porter Airlines is adding new ways to pay as it prepares to restart flights in September and add jet services next year. The regional airline says passengers who use the company’s website will be able to use PayPal and WeChat and adds that new channels may be added. Purchases of $300 or more can also be financed using Uplift. The total trip cost will be seen at the time of booking, along with the monthly payment amount. There are no late fees or prepayment penalties, and customers can travel even before they are finished making their prepayments. Travel agents may also select payment financing for their clients when booking through Porter.

BY THE NUMBERS

Air Canada reported improving but still big losses in the second quarter as travel demand started to rise. The airline says it lost $1.17 billion compared with a loss of $1.75 billion a year earlier, however the airline sees a positive trend ahead. Revenues for the airline during the three months ended June 30 surged 58.8% to $837 million from $527 million in the second quarter of 2020 based in part based on an increase of seat capacity by 78%, compared with the prior year’s quarter when capacity was reduced by 86% from the second quarter of 2019. It plans to increase available seat miles 85% in the third quarter.

DEALS

The Westin Fort Lauderdale Beach Resort is inviting guests to relax and rejuvenate with the Heavenly Spa Package which includes a US$150 spa credit and 20% off services to use at the resort’s spa, which includes a hair and nail salon, new men’s services, separate men’s and women’s hot tubs, steam rooms and relaxation lounges. The offer requires a minimum stay of two nights.

The Saint Lucia Tourism Authority has created a one-stop shop online for love birds, detailing a wide range of romantic hotel packages. The site has links to deals for couples looking to tie the knot, renew their romance or just take that trip abroad together that might have been postponed due to the pandemic. To see the full list of romance packages and offers, click HERE.

TOURS

Self-guided motorcycle tours fulfilled by Hertz Ride can now be booked through TravelBrands. To kick off the program, the premium motorcycles experiences will be offered in Portugal, north and south. When booked through TravelBrands, tours include 4-star accommodations, a top brand motorcycle, and daily breakfast. Through Aug. 31, travel agents will earn 3x the Loyalty Rewards Points for any self-ride itinerary booked.

Air Canada Vacations has released its new lineup of 2021/22 flights from Western Canada, featuring Cancun, Puerto Vallarta, Los Cabos, Mexico City, and Ixtapa. Service begins in November with gateways including Vancouver, Calgary, and Winnipeg (directly or connecting). There are also options to Hawaii and Las Vegas, the latter via non-stop flights from Vancouver and Calgary. Customers who book by Aug. 22 for travel until Dec. 15 can benefit from 50% off travel protection.

HOTELS

San Diego’s iconic Hotel Del Coronado is embarking this month on a US$400- multi-year, multi-phase plan that, when complete, will have touched every aspect of the property. Among the renovations will be a restoration of the historic hotel’s original front porch, an updated lawn and landscaping, lobby restorations, and much more.

Now open, the new Hard Rock Hotel Madrid, located in the city’s Triangulo
de Oro del Arte, caters to both business and leisure travellers with 161 contemporary rooms. At the heart of the property, guests will find a dramatic architectural hanging guitar sculpture, as well as music memorabilia and vibrant artwork throughout the hotel, including a life-size pink ‘Las Meninas’ adorned with Rosalía lyrics, inspired by Diego Velázquez’s masterpiece hanging in the Prado Museum, and mural in GMT+1 bar inspired by the La Movida movement in Madrid.

RESORTS

The second hotel project from Xcaret Hotels in Riviera Maya, Hotel Xcaret Art, has officially opened its doors to guests. The adults-only hotel features 900 luxury suites designed as an homage to the arts of Mexico with an impressive investment of $427 million supporting the tourism industry in Riviera Maya and highlighting Mexican traditions through art. The hotel integrates the brand’s “All-Fun Inclusive” concept, offering hotel guests unlimited access to Grupo Xcaret’s Parks and the most attractive experiences in Cancún and Riviera Maya. The hotel is also home to an exclusive Culinary Collective, representing eight internationally renowned chefs combining different culinary traditions that originate from different cultures.

CRUISE

Silversea Cruises has opened an exclusive pre-sale on its World Cruise 2024, entitled ‘Far East-West.’ The 132-day journey throughout the Pacific Ocean will visit 65 destinations across 14 countries, including 40 new destinations for a Silversea World Cruise. Plus, 23 overnight stays will unlock deeper cultural immersion. Hosted aboard the 388-guest Silver Shadow, the voyage will depart San Francisco on Jan. 15, 2024, on a round-trip itinerary that will encompass most of the Pacific Rim, and back across the Pacific to Alaska, Canada, and California. Featured for the first time will be the volcanic Russian Far East and Alaska.

Three more ships Carnival Cruise Line ships will resume operations in September, and another four in October – bringing the total number of ships to 15 – as the line’s restart of operations continues to ramp up. They are Carnival Glory from New Orleans, starting Sept. 5; Pride from Baltimore, Sept. 12; Dream from Galveston, Sept. 19; Conquest from Miami, Oct. 8; Freedom from Miami, Oct. 9; Elation from Port Canaveral, Oct. 11; and Sensation from Mobile, Oct. 21.

ATTRACTIONS & THEME PARKS

The CN Tower and Ripley’s Aquarium in Toronto are now open to visitors. The Blue Jays begin playing in the city again on Friday (July 30) with a capacity of 15,000.

After more than a year of virtual races, runners will return to racing at Walt Disney World in Orlando this fall, kicking off the runDisney 2021-22 race season. The season will include four race weekends: Disney Wine & Dine Half Marathon Weekend, Nov. 4-7; Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend, Jan. 5-9, 2022; Disney Princess Half Marathon Weekend, Feb. 24-27, 2022; run Disney Springtime Surprise Weekend, March 31-April 3, 2022.

EVENTS

July 28: VisitBritain is inviting the Canadian travel trade to an ‘Explore the West Midlands, the heart of England’ virtual event on Wednesday (4 p.m. EST) marking ‘One Year to Go’ until the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games. Updated information on the region, which includes Stratford-upon-Avon, plus top attractions and key highlights will be presented, as well as a fun quiz. To register click HERE.

Sept. 27: Skal Toronto is inviting Skal members, plus industry friends and family to its annual golf tournament, to be held at the Royal Ontario Golf Club on Monday, Sept. 27. The COVID-sensitive event day will include 18 holes of golf, shared golf cart (private carts will be available at an extra cost), lunch, dinner and one drink ticket. There are hole sponsorships available and sponsors are welcome. Registration deadline is Aug. 15 and spots are limited so it is advised to register soon. For information or to register, click HERE.

PEOPLE/APPOINTMENTS

Duncan Bureau has joined Canada Jetlines as Chief Commercial Officer, tasked with building the various commercial platforms and distribution networks for the organization, which plans to operate, pending CTA approval, as an airline and tour operator with flights into sun destinations in the US and Mexico. Well known in the Canadian travel industry as an executive at WestJet and later VP for Air Canada and president of Rouge, Bureau has also worked abroad at Malaysia Airlines and most recently as Sr. VP Sales & Distribution at Etihad in Abu Dhabi.

Transat has announced two changes to its Commercial team: Lindsay Merrill is appointed Sales Manager, Ontario, Atlantic and Western Canada and Marjorie Larose has been named Sales Manager, Quebec and Ottawa. Merrill has over 14 years of experience in various roles at Transat, including as Inside Sales Supervisor in Ontario since October 2016, while Larose, who joined the company in 2005 has been a Business Development Representative since 2017. Emails: Lindsay.merrill@transat.com and Marjorie Larose at marjorie.larose@transat.com.

DESTINATIONS

Eilat, photo – Rony Balahsan

Israel’s ministry of tourism reports that the global Miss Universe pageant will be held for the first time in its history in Israel, in the city of Eilat. The competition, taking place for several weeks in December will mark the organization’s 70th anniversary and delegations from over 100 countries plus thousands of pageant enthusiasts and tourists are expected to attend. The final pageant will air in over 170 countries across the globe.

Nevis has reduced the reduced Vacation in Place period for fully vaccinated international visitors from nine days to four, with testing on day four and the ability to fully integrate into the island upon receipt of a negative test result.

The Château du Clos Lucé in France’s Loire Valley continues to build on its mission to showcase the many facets of Leonardo da Vinci’s universe by unveiling a new 500-sq.m. cultural centre and museum. The immersive experience features a virtual gallery that screens an animated display of 17 masterpieces by da Vinci, combined with his drawings. The interactive space will feature 3D experiences, video games and more dedicated to the artist, who spent the last years of his life at the Clos Lucé.

Send info to baginski@travelindustrytoday.com

First published at Travel Industry Today

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