ROUND-UP:July 5-9, 2021
Notable news from last week includes Flair flights to the United States, AmaWaterways aspirations in Colombia, Porter plans starting Sept. 8, and earnest hopes that the federal government will set a tourism restart plan in motion before a fall election.
Travel and tourism leaders in Canada are urging the federal government to announce a comprehensive re-opening plan before calling an election. “We all know that an election means a pause on all government activity. Canadians and Canadian businesses deserve to know what re-opening looks like long before a federal election is called,” says Perrin Beatty, President and CEO of the Canadian Chamber of Commerce, a member of the Canadian Travel & Tourism Roundtable coalition.
Contiki is a reporting a booking surge of more than 60% in the past month, with clients primarily choosing destinations in Europe and Asia and departures (92%) in 2022. The most popular international destinations are Greece, Italy, and Thailand, while shorter, more sustainable adventures are also an emerging trend, says the tour operator, which is currently offering 20% off worldwide trips.
The Government of Canada is investing $31.5 million to build a new air terminal building at the Inuvik Mike Zubko Airport. A further $10.5 million will come from the Government of the Northwest Territories to help replace the existing, aging terminal with a modern building that will improve overall capacity and enhance structural capacity to adapt to climate change impacts, natural disasters, and extreme weather events. The main level will include a public space, baggage systems, concessions, and air carrier operations.
Porter Airlines will officially return to the skies on Sept. 8, nearly 18 months after suspending flights due to COVID-19 public health and travel restrictions. The flight schedule is returning in phases, with the initial group of Canadian destinations being Halifax, Moncton, Montreal, Ottawa, Quebec City, St. John’s, NL, Thunder Bay and Toronto. US destinations Boston, Chicago, New York, and Washington follow on Sept. 17. As such, Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport, from which Porter operates, says it will begin operations on Sept. 8 as well.
The last route suspended by VIA Rail due to COVID-19, the Ocean, will be resuming service starting Aug. 11. As it had been done for the other VIA Rail services, the return to operation will occur progressively beginning with one weekly round trip.
Cirque du Soleil says five live shows are being added to its schedule for the coming months as it returns from pandemic closures. All of them will be in the US where Cirque’s “Michael Jackson One” begins new shows in Vegas at the Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino on Aug. 19 and “the Beatles Love” will reopen at the Mirage Aug. 26. “Alegria” will reopen in Houston starting Nov. 18 while the Cirque-associated Blue Man Group is planning a return to Chicago and New York on Aug. 18 and Sept. 3, adding to its restart in Las Vegas. Canada will trail behind with “Kooz” playing at the Old Port of Montreal beginning on April 28, 2022.
BY THE NUMBERS
Only 564 visitors arrived from Canada in May, according to the Hawaii Tourism Authority. This is compared to 20 visitors in May 2020, but 26,424 visitors (-97.9%) in May 2019.
Flair Airlines is entering the US market, part of an ambitious five-year expansion plan. The Edmonton-based ultra low-cost carrier says it will launch service from Canada to Fort Lauderdale; Orlando; Phoenix; Hollywood-Burbank and Palm Springs, Ca., and Las Vegas on Oct. 31.
Swoop has announced new non-stop service from Victoria to Las Vegas and Puerto Vallarta, the latter launching Oct. 31 with twice weekly service on Thursdays and Sundays. Non-stop flights to Puerto Vallarta’s Licenciado Gustavo Díaz Ordaz International Airport (PVR) are now on sale with the airline set to offer non-stop service once weekly on Sundays.
Small and medium sized businesses that sign up for Emirates Business Rewards corporate loyalty account by July 27 will receive a bonus of 10,000 rewards points, which is the equivalent of one economy class return ticket to selected destinations in Europe.
Two new booking incentives from Virgin Hotels offer savings this summer for clients seeking “the best, most lux, exhilarating experience” at brand properties in the US, including Chicago, Dallas, Nashville, Las Vegas and the soon to debut Virgin Hotels New Orleans. ‘Perfectly Planned’ gives 15% off for stays booked seven nights or more in advance, while up to 20% will be discounted for two-plus nights with the ‘Stay Awhile’ package.’ The rates are in effect through Sept. 13.
Luxury river cruise operator AmaWaterways has announced a partnership with Metropolitan Touring to introduce a new river cruise in Colombia. Starting in December 2023, guests will combine shore and onboard experiences, the latter on a new custom-built, all-suite, eco-friendly river cruise ship. Clients will be able to choose from two seven-night itineraries with pre- and post-cruise land programs exploring the Magdalena River. Full itinerary details are forthcoming.
Through Sept. 30, Goway is offering savings and vacation perks on all new bookings to Thailand, including hotel discounts, dinners at Michelin-starred restaurants, Thai massages, yoga sessions, and excursions throughout the kingdom. Thailand is reopening its borders to fully vaccinated international travellers to Phuket and Koh Samui without quarantine requirements, starting in Phuket, with other destinations to follow.
Rail Europe has opened ticket sales for the new OUIGO high-speed train network in Spain on its B2B platforms. The network services the cities of Madrid, Barcelona, Zaragoza and Tarragona.
The historic, revival-style building once known as the headquarters of the iconic Chicago and North Western Railway is soon to become a dual-branded Canopy by Hilton Chicago Central Loop (Canopy Chicago) and Hilton Garden Inn Chicago Central Loop (HGI Central Loop). The new combined 350-room hotels are expected to open in late summer at 226 W. Jackson, featuring on-site F&B outlets, on-site fitness centre, unique event spaces, and an outdoor terrace space shared between both.
Marriott International has opened Matild Palace, a Luxury Collection Hotel, Budapest, marking the brand’s debut in Hungary. Listed as a UNESCO world heritage site, Matild Palace has undergone a meticulous five-year transformation to become a 130-guestroom luxury hotel.
Sandals Resorts International (SRI) commemorated the life of late founder and chairman Gordon “Butch” Stewart in a series of on-property and digital happenings timed to honour his July 6 birthday. On property, each resort was presented with a specially framed photograph of the founder displayed in a prominent position for viewing by guests, team members, and visitors. In addition, each resort has introduced an “Ocean Lookout,” a favourite spot identified at each hotel that was special to Stewart for its stunning views of the sea. The Lookouts are accompanied by a plaque quoting Stewart: “My idea of luxury is being by the sea…”
S.S. São Gabriel, the newest member of Unique Boutique River Cruises’ fleet debuted on June 27 on the Douro River in Portugal after a christening ceremony that include company president and CEO Ellen Bettridge. The new “super ship” promptly set sail on an 11-day journey through Portugal and Spain and including the UNESCO-recognized Douro River Valley.
Holland America Line is gearing up to restart cruising out of Port of San Diego in California beginning with a season of cruises to Mexico, Hawaii, and along the California coast aboard Koningsdam and Zuiderdam. The cruise line has expanded the season with the addition of six new cruise departures for Zuiderdam and two new cruises on Koningsdam, offering a total of 40 cruises from San Diego from September through April 2022.
ATTRACTIONS & THEME PARKS
Universal Orlando Resort reports it unwrap its 2021 Holidays celebrations starting Nov. 13 with 51 days of holiday traditions in store. Further details will be released in coming months, but in the meantime, guests booking by Sept. 8 for travel Aug. 16-Dec. 16 will save 30% on a four-day hotel/ticket package.
July 14, 22: Air Canada Vacations is hosting upcoming webinars to update the trade on a couple of its hotel partners. On July 14 at 11 a.m. (French) and 1 p.m. (English) EDT, the tour operator and Sandals will focus on the latter’s Emerald Bay resort in the Bahamas, while on July 22 at 11 a.m. PDT (English only), the focus is Highgate properties in Hawaii. Contact ACV for registration details.
FAMS & INCENTIVES
To mark its new partnership with Silversea Cruises, Air Canada Vacations is offering a 2% bonus for new bookings made by July 26. Sailings can take place through 2023 and all categories apply.
Travel advisors are encouraged to take a trip down memory lane and write a short story about their most unforgettable Jamaican memories and experiences for a chance to win one of three cash prizes courtesy of the Jamaica Tourist Board. The Jamaica Short Story contest is open until Aug 15; agent can enter their stories (1,000 words or less) HERE.
WestJet has announced the appointment of a new Executive Vice-President and Chief Operating Officer. Diederik Pen, will join the airline’s executive leadership team in the early fall, following the completion of the immigration process. At that time, acting interim COO, Robert Antoniuk will take on a new role as Chief Safety, Health and Environment Officer. Pen has more than 25 years of aviation-industry experience in the Asia-Pacific and European regions and joins WestJet most recently from Wizz Air where he was chief operations officer.
The newest all-age outdoor experience on Vancouver Island, Malahat SkyWalk, will open on July 15. Located 35 minutes north of Victoria, the SkyWalk will immerse visitors in nature and local indigenous culture along a 600 m. elevated walkway through an Arbutus and Douglas Fir forest, leading to a 10-storey, architecturally inspiring spiral tower lookout – the first of its kind in BC. Rising 250 m. above sea level, guests will have 360-degree views as far as the US, and including Finlayson Arm, Saanich Inlet, Saanich Peninsula, Gulf Islands, San Juan Islands, Mt. Baker and the Coast Mountain range. There is also an adventure net and 20-m. spiral side for the daring.
Fully vaccinated adult travellers (21 days prior to arrival) are now welcome in Anguilla; children under the age of 18 years and women who are pregnant are exempt from the requirement. International travellers must apply for entry permission on the island’s web site and must submit a negative COVID-19PCR test taken three to five days prior to arrival, with proof uploaded onto an entry application. More information is available on the web site or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
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First published at Travel Industry Today