ROUND-UP:July 26-30, 2021
Canadian airlines and cruise lines are soaring and sailing again; three’s the charm for travellers in Quebec; WestJet and KLM make news; and a flip-flop at Pearson…
The Quebec government says fully vaccinated residents who have received the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine can receive a third dose of an mRNA vaccine before travelling, but recipients are on their own for weighing the risks of doing so. The extra shots are being offered because some countries don’t recognize the version of the vaccine made at the Serum Institute of India, and Canadians who have received it could find themselves barred from entry.
Both Transat and Sunwing launched their first flights Friday after a six-month pandemic pause.
From Aug. 1, tourists who have received their two doses of the COVID-19 vaccine will no longer be required to show proof of their travel medical insurance policy to enter Costa Rica. People under the age of 18, as well as those who are fully vaccinated can enter Costa Rica as tourists, providing they have received their second dose of an approved vaccine at least 14 days prior to arrival in the country. Approved vaccines are Moderna, Pfizer, AstraZeneca or Johnson & Johnson and travellers will need to show proof of vaccine that includes the full name of the person, the date of each dose, the formula, and the lot number.
To the benefit of Canadians, the government of Antigua & Barbuda’s has approved the mixing of the AstraZeneca vaccine with either Moderna or Pfizer vaccines, or the mixing of a Moderna and a Pfizer vaccine. As such, visitors who have had mixed doses of vaccines as noted above will be able to enter the country. Antigua & Barbuda had already been welcoming fully vaccinated travellers who have received both doses of a World Health Organization (WHO) approved two-dose Covid 19 vaccine.
WestJet is strengthening its codeshare relationship with KLM Royal Dutch Airlines through the placement of its “WS” codeshare on KLM-operated flights. Clients will now have access via Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport (AMS) to 18 cities across Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, Portugal, Spain and the UK. The enhanced partnership builds on the airline’s new non-stop 787 Dreamliner service between Amsterdam and Calgary.
Toronto’s Pearson International Airport says it will longer be splitting passengers coming from the US or other international destinations into vaccinated and partially or non-vaccinated queues to help streamline the border clearance process. The process proved to show little benefit, said the airport.
Sun-seekers booking with Sunwing by Aug. 9 can take advantage of last-minute deals, including complimentary Price Drop Cash Back of up to $800 per couple, reduced deposits of just $100 p.p. and the flexibility to change or cancel their plans with ease.
Through Aug. 4, Contiki clients can save up to 25% off worldwide trips with the brand’s “Bucket List Sale.” A deposit of $99 is required.
The 2021 Alaska season kicked off for Holland America with Nieuw Amsterdam setting sail July 24, while for Princess Cruises, Majestic Princess sailed on July 25. Each line will operate 10 cruises sailing out of Seattle through September. The departures marked the return to cruising and Alaska for both lines, which combined have more than 125 years of experience sailing to the state. Historically, one in two guests who cruise to Alaska sail on Princess or Holland America.
Carnival, which also began its Alaska season out of Seattle last week, launched both its newest ship, the Mardi Gras, and cruises out of Florida again on Saturday.
Norwegian Cruise Line commemorated its cruise comeback with a double debut: Norwegian Jade was not only the first of its 17-ship fleet to welcome guests after 500 days in July 25, it also made NCL history as the first vessel to homeport in Athens (Piraeus).
The official restart of river itineraries in France by Viking, marking the latest milestone as the company resumes operations in Europe. Guests are now embarking on journeys on the Seine and Rhône rivers for the “Paris & the Heart of Normandy,” “Lyon & Provence,” and “France’s Finest” itineraries. Viking’s voyage in Bordeaux, “Chateaux, Rivers and Wine,” will resume in August.
Chicago’s newest Vista Tower skyscraper, the third-tallest building in Chicago, is being rebranded as The St. Regis Chicago, including a luxury hotel that will open later this year. Amenities will include a fine dining restaurant with an outdoor terrace, an all-day restaurant and lounge overlooking the Chicago River, and a bar with an outdoor terrace as part of the luxury hotel.
AC Hotel by Marriott Maui Wailea is the first AC branded property in Hawaii and one of the state’s newest hotels. The property features 110 guestrooms, an infinity-edge pool, ocean-view bar and restaurant offering guests international- and Hawaiian-inspired cuisine. The hotel also includes a library and 24-hour fitness centre. Guestrooms feature hardwood floors and a private lanai.
A multi-million-dollar complete renovation of Four Seasons Resort and Residences Vail, phased over the past three years and marking the most significant investment the resort has undergone since its inception in 2010, will be completed this summer. Enhancements includes a “mountain chic” refresh and remodel of all hotel guest rooms, plus redesigned lobby and all public spaces. Located in Vail village at the base of Vail Mountain in the Colorado Rockies, the resort is a two-hour drive from Denver International Airport.
BY THE NUMBERS
New research from Expedia Group suggests the influence of inclusion and diversity on post-pandemic booking decisions. The global survey, which included Canadians, said nearly two-thirds of travellers (65%) say they are more willing to book accommodations that have policies focused on diversity and inclusion. However, there is a significant generational gap when it comes to how much booking choices are influenced by whether or not accommodations have inclusive policies: 57% of respondents over the age of 40 say they are likely to book inclusive accommodations, while 77% of those under the age of 40 say that they are likely to do the same.
ATTRACTIONS & THEME PARKS
The Dollywood Company is embarking on an ambitious investment strategy that will see the Smoky Mountain vacation destination invest more than half a billion dollars over the next 10 years across its properties. One of the first projects is Dollywood’s HeartSong Lodge & Resort, a 302-room property currently under construction and due to open in 2023. Adjacent to Dollywood near Knoxville, Tenn., it will serve the three million annual visitors to the Dolly Parton theme park and Splash Country water park.
FAMS & INCENTIVES
Discover the World Canada is now representing Cobblestone Freeway Tours, a small group tour operator specializing in culturally rich tours to Central and Eastern Europe, and agents are invited to take part in a nine-day fam to the Ukraine departing Oct. 9 designed to introduce the company and the country. Details at discovertheworld.com or by calling 1-800-684-7014.
Former Toronto Tourism president and CEO David Whittaker, who served in the city for eight years from 2007 before taking a similar role at Choose Chicago is now heading home to Miami, where he spent 17 years (1990-2007) at the Greater Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau (GMCVB). He returns as president and CEO starting in August.
Tourists are once again able to hike Peru’s Inca Trail to reach Machu Picchu. After more than a year closed, the reopening of the hiking route is part of a new stage in the tourist reactivation of Cusco and Peru. The Inca Trail joins other hiking trails in the region, most of which reopened in July 2020, that are part of the Qhapaq Nan – a network of roads that once united the far reaches of the Inca empire.
NYC Restaurant Week has returned to in-person dining after 18 months. Continuing through Aug. 22, the program includes nearly 530 participating restaurants offering more than 50 distinct cuisines in 75 neighborhoods across all five New York boroughs, as well as updated, inclusive pricing with lunches priced at either US$21 or $39 and dinners priced at either $21 or $39 (both inclusive of one entrée and at least one side and aligned to the individual restaurant price points). Check out the website HERE.
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First published at Travel Industry Today