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ROUND-UP:March 29-April 02, 2021

TIAC urges agent action ahead of the Canadian federal budget; Billy Bishop airport needs cash; Israel opens its border with Egypt, and other news from a busy week in travel:

NEWS

Air Canada and Transat AT announced Friday that they have mutually agreed to terminate the Arrangement Agreement for the proposed acquisition of Transat by Air Canada after being advised by the European Commission that it would not approve the transaction.

With the announcement of the federal government tabling the 2021 Budget on April 19, TIAC is urging a last push for members of the travel and tourism industry in Canada to contact their MPs to urge government support. Letters can be sent through TourismCounts.ca.

The owner of Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport is looking for a private sector investor to operate the downtown island airport as the industry continues to struggle from the impact of COVID-19. PortsToronto issued a request for interest, a step toward potentially identifying a financial investor to run the airport under lease.

RE-OPENING/RE-START

Israel has reopened its border crossing with neighbouring Egypt for the first time since the start of the coronavirus pandemic. Israeli authorities have started allowing 300 citizens per day to enter and exit for the purpose of tourism in the Sinai Peninsula, provided they pass coronavirus tests before each crossing and are vaccinated against COVID-19 or recovered from it.

DELAYED/CANCELLED

The World University Games that were due to open in China in just over four months have been postponed until next year. The multi-sport event, which features about 8,000 athletes, was to have opened in Chengdu in western China on Aug. 18, just days after the closing of the Tokyo Olympics. A rescheduled date has not been announced.

BY THE NUMBERS

Based on current trends, including 32% of all global destinations completely closed to international tourists at the beginning of February, the UNWTO expects international tourist arrivals to be down about 85% in the first quarter of 2021 over the same period of 2019. This would represent a loss of some 260 million international arrivals when compared to pre-pandemic levels.

AIR

Air Canada, the longest-serving North American airline in France, celebrated the 70th anniversary of its Montreal-Paris route.

Ultra-low-cost airline Swoop plans to expand its summer schedule, including new flights to Victoria from Toronto (6x/week) and Edmonton (daily) starting May 20. Also, June 20 service to Kelowna will now be available from Hamilton (6x/week) and Winnipeg (3x/week).

Aeroplan Elite Status members will retain their status until the end of 2022, in addition to a previous extension through 2021, as well having the possibility to accelerate their status qualification in the years ahead. Air Canada is also extending the validity of all unused Priority Reward vouchers issued in 2020 by one full year, making them valid for use until October 2022.

The last US airline still blocking middle seats – Delta Air Lines – says it will end that policy in May as air travel recovers and more people become vaccinated against COVID-19.

DEALS

Clients booking AMResorts “Free 4 All” promotion through May 25, are eligible for $200 in resort coupons, free COVID-19 antigen test, free beach dinner, free 25-minute spa treatment at adults-only properties and kids stay free at family-friendly properties, as well as savings starting at 40%. Travel must be by Dec. 22, 2021.

TOURS

From a pedal-power tour of a temple in India to visiting a women’s cooperative in Jordan and “plastic fishing” in the canals of Amsterdam, Unique Boutique and U river cruises have added a number of new “Make Travel Matter” experiences to their rosters for 2021 and ‘22. The activities are designed with Uniworld’s long-standing commitment to having a positive impact on the people and communities visited on sailings in mind.

Anticipating strong demand for the 2022 iteration of the Netherlands’ once-a-decade Floriade International Horticultural Expo, Tauck says it will offer the famed flower show as part of four different cruises. The tour operator notes that it offered the expo on just one tour a decade ago and it sold out quickly. More than two million visitors attended in 2012, quadruple the attendance of the Oberammergau Passion Play, similarly held every 10 years. Tauck tours will include early entry and a guided tour.

HOTELS

The new AC Hotel by Marriott Maui Wailea is preparing to welcome its first guest arrivals this month. The four-story hotel — the AC Hotel brand’s first in the Hawaiian Islands — is nestled on three acres of gardens, with a design inspired by its surrounding environment. It features 110 guestrooms with 12 suites, a business centre, fitness area, and an infinity edge pool complete with a poolside tiki bar and cabanas. AC Hotel by Marriott Maui Wailea is located at 88 Wailea Ike Place.

Seeking creativity to help meet the “demands of the current market,” the Riu Plaza Miami Beach hotel has a new day-pass offer, available to both residents and tourists, in which the user can enjoy the hotel’s facilities for a full day without staying the night. Riu notes that hotel sector is facing “a very atypical season” and RIU hotels are “betting on innovation” with the launch of new offers. The hotel also warns on its website: “Spring Breakers (either groups or individuals, regardless of age) are not allowed at this property, at any time during the year.”

RESORTS

Mystique Holbox by Royalton

Sunwing Travel Group reports that Mystique Holbox by Royalton will be joining Marriott International’s portfolio and is expected to align with the Tribute Portfolio brand later this year. The news follows last month’s announcement that Sunwing’s resort division, Blue Diamond Resorts, had entered into a long-term agreement with Marriott for its 19 properties. Located in the Yum Balam Nature Reserve northwest of Cancun, the 380-suite Mystique Holbox is a contemporary beach resort that blends the island’s natural landscapes with traditional Mexican design.

CRUISE

Until further notice, Windstar Cruises will require proof of a current COVID-19 vaccination for all guests sailing aboard its yachts.

Bookings have opened for Disney Cruise Line’s 2022 summer season. Highlights include new ports in Greece, Portugal, Latvia, Norway, Sweden and Dominica, plus first-ever summer sailings from Miami to the Bahamas.

Reservations are now open for the Crystal River Cruises’ 2022 season aboard the Crystal Mozart and Crystal Mahler. Routes include Europe’s Danube, Moselle, and Rhine rivers.

ATTRACTIONS & THEME PARKS

Universal Studios Hollywood in Los Angeles has announced that it will re-open, “at long last,” on April 15, albeit only to annual and season pass members and California residents. Some rides and attractions will not be ready to resume and will open at a later date and the limited capacity will be accompanied by strict health and safety guidelines, including temperature checks upon entry.

EVENTS

April 6: Toronto-based Reach Global Marketing is the new agency of record for Vegas Attraction Group, a marketing company that represents some of the Las Vegas’s top tourist attractions. Agents are invited to an introduction and virtual tour via Zoom webinar on April 6 at 1 p.m. EST. Click HERE To register.

May 17-20: The Indigenous Tourism Association of Canada (ITAC) reports that it will serve as official host of Rendez-vous Canada this year in partnership with Destination Canada and TIAC. The event, the largest gathering of travel professionals from around the world to meet with Canadian tourism industry partners, will be held virtually from May 17 to 20. Visit the Rendez-vous Canada web site for details and registration.

PEOPLE/APPOINTMENTS

Ernie Balint has joined the team at Tourism Ireland as its new Trade Promotions and CRM Executive in Canada, based at the tourist board’s office in downtown Toronto. A former sales executive at G Adventures, Balint’s main focus will involve planning and implementing a targeted program of trade marketing activities with key Canadian travel partners, tour operators, and airlines, plus managing strategic digital communications.

Vision Travel, the leisure arm of Direct Travel in Canada, reports that three of its top advisors have been named to the prestigious Condé Nast Traveler’s Travel Specialists list. Ariane Henry of Vancouver and sister team Lisa and Nancy Zupancic of Toronto are now on the list, which includes just 435 travel advisors from all around the world. Meanwhile, Travel Professionals International (TPI) also congratulates two of its agents – Donna Flanigan and Shari Tucker – for making the list as well.

DESTINATIONS
Call it an advance wedding gift: The Jamaica Tourist Board’s ‘No Wedding, No Cry’ honeymoon sweepstakes is offering couples who show proof of a wedding cancellation between April and December 2020 the chance to win an ultimate four-night deluxe honeymoon package at Moon Palace Jamaica, including round-trip airfare, airport transfers, and a romantic excursion for two. Entries can be made through April 12 HERE.

Belize has posted a video illustrating the latest entry protocols for the Central America nation. Designed to make procedures clear and easy to follow – and easier to absorb – the “Easy as 1, 2, 3, Entry Video can be viewed HERE.

Send info to baginski@travelindustrytoday.com

First published at Travel Industry Today

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