ROUND-UP:March 21-25, 2022
Borders are opening to fully vaccinated travellers in Asia; Virtuoso is heading for Montreal; San Diego has a new theme park; Fort Lauderdale launched mlearning; and the Jamaica Tourist Board has a new BDM for Quebec and eastern Canada.
With Canadians eligible to enter Korea again visa-free starting April 1, the Korea Tourism Organization’s (KTO) office in Canada says it will be restarting FAM trips, co-promotions, webinars, and more in support of the trade’s Korea products. Canadian passport holders entering for leisure purposes will be granted entry to Korea for up to 180 days, the same as it was prior to the pandemic; however, travellers entering Korea will be required to complete a variety of new steps to gain entry including PCR testing within 48 hours of departure. See the website for full details.
Tourisme Montréal and its partners have announced that the 2023 Virtuoso Symposium will take place in Montréal from May 15 to 21. This event brings together more than 400 local and international delegates annually for four days to meet and discuss the luxury travel sector, while discovering the host destination.
Toronto travellers have a new testing option on their way to Pearson airport. The Greater Toronto Airports Authority (GTAA), Switch Health and Metrolinx have collaborated to open at facility at Union Station, located in the UPStairs lounge on the second floor above the UP Express platform. Appointments must be booked ahead, and antigen results are available within and hour, enabling customers to do their test and have the result by the time they get to the airport. PCR tests can also be booked with same or next day results.
Starting May 1, New Zealand will open its borders to Canadians and others, moving forward its previously announced date in October.
Vietnam has scrapped quarantine and other travel restrictions for foreign visitors, effective immediately. Visitors entering the Southeast Asian country only need to show a negative COVID-19 test prior to arrival.
Fully vaccinated travellers no longer need to present a negative COVID-19 PCR test taken 72 hours before their arrival in Cambodia.
Similarly, visitors vaccinated for COVID-19 will no longer need a test before travelling to Thailand starting April 1. However, they will still need to take a RT-PCR test upon arrival and a self-administered rapid antigen test on the fifth day in the country.
Indonesia has lifted all quarantine requirements for overseas visitors entering the country, although foreign tourists are still required to have a negative PCR test before entering the country. This month, Indonesia also lifted the negative COVID-19 test result as a requirement for domestic flights.
Not to be left out, Malaysia is also set to welcome back international travellers for the first time after nearly two years of COVID-19 pandemic-related closures beginning April 1. Fully vaccinated travellers will not be subject to quarantine and are only required to take the COVID-19 RT-PCR test two days before departure and undergo professionally administered RTK-Ag within 24 hours upon arrival in Malaysia.
The Canadian Tulip Festival is returning to Ottawa’s Commissioners Park again this year from May 13-23, with the event set to celebrate its 70th anniversary. More than 300,000 flowers – a legacy of the ‘Gift of Tulips’ from the grateful Netherlands to all Canadians after World War II – will bloom over one kilometer of strolling parkland on the shores of Dow’s Lake in Ottawa.
Meal service on Air Transat has been enhanced in both Club and Economy Class on certain flight segments, says the airline. For flights of more than three hours, Club Class passengers will now be able to choose between the “breakfast” or “lunch and dinner” hot meal offer, depending on the departure time of their flight. For departures starting May 1, passengers travelling in Club Class can pre-order their meal up to 72 hours before departure. On flights to and from Europe, a choice of two complimentary hot meals will be offered to Economy Class passengers.
Air France reports that its Canada-Paris summer schedule will include up to 49 flights a week including a daily flight between Vancouver and Paris. This ups the airline’s number of weekly flights out of Vancouver by two, while overall departures from Canada will be up 27% compared to summer 2019. Effective March 27, passengers will fly between Vancouver and Paris aboard B777-200s and a new Air France service from Quebec City also starts May 17, joining Toronto, Montreal, Calgary, and Edmonton gateways.
Ultra low-cost carrier Lynx Air has announced a major expansion out of the Toronto region this summer, adding four new destinations and five new routes to its network. Travellers will have access to Lynx flights out of both Toronto Pearson Airport and John C. Munro Hamilton International Airport, with six destinations across the country to choose from: Halifax, St. John’s, Winnipeg, Calgary, Edmonton, and Vancouver. By the end of July, the airline will be flying 92 flights per week in and out of the Toronto area with more than 17,000 seats per week.
The St. Patrick’s Day season is being celebrated by Collette with savings through March 29 on 19 tours to Ireland and the UK available through March 29. Clients can save up to 15% off with offer code CASTLE22. Travel dates are May 1 to Aug. 31 and Sept. 1 to Dec. 31, 2022.
Through March 31, Viking is offering special savings plus airfare from US$599 on all 2022 and ‘23 departures of its “Paris & the Heart of Normandy” river cruise itinerary in Europe.
Canadians can save up to 45% off Club Med packages through October. Additionally, clients may be eligible to receive free room upgrades, no single supplement, flexible cancellations, and free stays for children four and under. Some blackout dates apply.
On March 31, the Andean Explorer, the first luxury train in South America, will ride the rails once again after a brief hiatus. The rail trip is designed to connect guests with the nature of the Peruvian Andes while travelling through some of the most spectacular landscapes in the country. The luxury train traverses one of the highest train routes on earth and travels from the ancient Inca capital of Cusco to Puno on the shores of Lake Titicaca via the dazzling white city of Arequipa. Along the way, guests experience floating islands, fascinating archaeological sites, majestic natural wonders, and ancient kingdoms.
Connecting with nature might not be the first thing one associates with visiting West Hollywood, but locals know that Los Angeles is bursting with scenic trails and spectacular views. Each month, one of the most iconic venues in Los Angeles, Griffith Observatory, offers an hour-long sunset hike that starts and ends on the Observatory’s West Terrace and covers about a kilometre. It’s also an excellent spot to see the Hollywood sign! Or, one can get an up-close and personal look at the Hollywood Sign with Bikes and Hikes LA. This 5.6-km. hike ends right under the sign, the closest you can get.
Hilton is set to debut in the Galapagos Islands with signing of the Royal Palm Galapagos, Curio Collection by Hilton (photo), a 21-room boutique estate nestled among one of the world’s most distinctive island ecosystems. The property on Santa Cruz is expected to convert to Hilton by July, representing the first international hotel brand name with a presence in the destination. Sustainability is at the epicentre of the hotel’s ethos and woven into the hotel’s operations, engagement with guests and the community.
In the Osterbro neighbourhood of Copenhagen, the new Villa Canada will allow guests to book the whole former Canadian embassy for parties or a stay in extreme luxury.
Four Seasons Resort Maui at Wailea has relaunched its Maui Academy – a seasonal program designed to be a modern ‘edu-(vac)ation,’ replete with complimentary activities aimed at educating the resort’s young guests on Hawaii’s remarkable culture and landscape. Through hands-on learning and vivid storytelling, the program, which returns through April 11 and again in July and August, is designed to foster a genuine connection to Hawaii for young people that will last for years.
High-end Excellence Resorts says it will invest over US$50 million to upgrade the premises and enhance the amenities of its all eight of its resorts in Cancun, the Riviera Maya, Punta Cana, and Montego Bay. Among the projects will be building 12 additional units at Excellence Oyster Bay in Jamaica, almost tripling its current offering to a total of 17 villas once completed. The new villas, like the original five at the property, will feature over 140 sq. m. of living space, a garden with a jacuzzi, a shaded porch, an outdoor lounge area with a pool, and a private stretch of beach.
The new Category+ program from Uniworld Boutique River Cruises allows guests to bid on potential stateroom upgrades ahead of departure. Clients will be invited to browse staterooms and suites still available on their cruise in a higher category than they originally booked, and then place an offer. Bids may be placed on multiple available staterooms to increase upgrade chances, but guests will only pay for their upgrade if it is accepted. Once an offer is either accepted or declined, the guest will be notified via email and immediately charged the amount of their offered bid. Travel advisors will also receive commission on that additional amount. Bids may be cancelled or modified up to five days prior to departure provided an acceptance has not already been made, and Uniworld will notify guests of acceptance no less than three days prior to departure.
The new 386-guest ‘Viking Mississippi’ was “floated out” in Louisiana earlier this month, marking a major construction milestone and the first time the ship has touched water. Set to debut in June 2022, the Viking vessel will sail voyages on the Lower and Upper Mississippi River, between New Orleans and St. Paul.
ATTRACTIONS & THEME PARKS
The first Sesame Street theme park on the West Coast (and second in the US overall) opened March 26. Featuring Big Bird’s Beach, Oscar’s Rotten Rafts, and Cookie-Monster towers, the year-round, 6.5-hectare Sesame Place San Diego theme park is located just south of the city of San Diego and is the first theme park in nine years opened by SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment.
Visit Lauderdale has launched Lauderdale Loyalist, a new interactive mLearning (mobile learning) training and sales experience for travel advisors. Already available online, Lauderdale Loyalist supports destination learning requirements and serves as an ongoing sales enhancement resource through a series of interactive learning modules including an introduction to Greater Fort Lauderdale and central themes including nature, arts and culture, and LGBT+. Available online, the program can be accessed via the App store or online at https://www.lauderdaleloyalist.com
The World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) will host its inaugural Global Youth Tourism Summit (GYTS) in Sorrento, Italy, from June 27 to July 3, giving children and youth from every global region a platform to share their vision and hopes for the travel and tourism sector as it works to fulfil its potential as a driver of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
Destinations International, the world’s largest resource for official destination organizations and convention and visitor bureaus (CVBs), reports that registration is open for its 2022 Annual Convention – to be held in Toronto. A first for the city, the event will be held July 19-21 at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre. Information can be found HERE.
The Jamaica Tourist Board (JTB) in Canada has added Anne Palardy to the team as Business Development Manager for Québec and Eastern Canada. The travel industry veteran joins JTB from Sandos Hotels & Resorts, where she served as a BDM in eastern Canada. She has also worked in roles with Transat, Air Canada, Tourisme Montérégie, and CAA Québec. The trilingual Palardy is based in Montreal and replaces Louise Paquette, who recently retired after 26 years with the JTB. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org .
For eight seasons Game of Thrones was filmed at the Linen Mills Studio near Belfast, Northern Ireland. Now that production has ceased, the studio has been turned into a permanent attraction called The Game of Thrones Studio Tour, featuring artifacts ranging from design drawings to displays of the intricate costumes, the armoury containing thousands of unique weapons, examples of the special effects makeup, and interactive displays of how many of the special effects were created. Visitors can also see entire sets, such as the Winterfell Great Hall.
Starting this spring 2022, Knuthenborg Safaripark in Denmark will offer guests the opportunity to spend the night in Camp Zov Trigra, located in Europe’s biggest tiger forest. Believed to be only one of two such experiences in the world, guests will find only a window between them and the great cats, providing a unique insight into their lives. The Camp also offers various safari-stays that provide the opportunity to wake up to pensioned circus elephants, monkeys, giraffes, and other safari animals. Glamping tends can be booked on their website.
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First published at Travel Industry Today