ROUND-UP:Nov. 1-5, 2021
A tax credit for Ontario staycations; more Canadian airports have been given the green light for foreign flights; it’s time to vax up on VIA; and Canadians return to Grenada highlight this week’s round up of last week.
Ontario’s government is proposing a new temporary Ontario Staycation Tax Credit for 2022. This new Personal Income Tax credit would provide eligible Ontario residents with support of 20% on eligible 2022 accommodation expenses in Ontario of up to $1,000 for an individual or $2,000 for a family. In total, the credit is expected to provide support of an estimated $270 million in 2022 to about 1.85 million Ontario families. The credit would provide up to a maximum of $200 for an individual and $400 for a family.
The federal government has green-lighted eight more regional airports to accept international flights effective Nov. 30. The move ends an eight-month ban for the facilities in Victoria, Abbottsford and Kelowna, BC; Saskatoon and Regina, Sask.; Waterloo and Hamilton, Ont.; and St. John’s, Nfld., which join 10 other airports already open to traffic from abroad.
Mandatory vaccination is now in effect at VIA Rail in line with the Transport Canada regulations. Effective Oct. 30, the policy requires everyone 12 years of age and older onboard trains to show proof of vaccination; however, to allow passengers time to become fully vaccinated, there will be a one-month transition period, ending Nov. 30, during which passengers will be able to travel if they show a valid COVID-19 molecular test within 72 hours of travel time.
A busy week for border re-openings saw Australia, Thailand, and Israel open or re-open their borders in some fashion. Later this month, India, Vietnam, Cambodia, and Malaysia intend to follow suit.
Swoop resumed international flight operations at Winnipeg Richardson International Airport on Nov. 1 with the departure of flight WO 728 bound for Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport, followed by the return of non-stop flights to Puerto Vallarta on Nov. 4. Next up, new destinations Cancun on Dec. 3, and Orlando (Sanford) on Dec. 11. From Toronto, Swoop swooped down to St. Petersburg-Clearwater on Nov. 5.
Grenada welcomed the return of air service from Canada for the first time in a year on Oct. 31, with Air Canada flight 1066 touching down on the Spice Island with 169 passengers. To stimulate demand for the twice weekly flights from Toronto (Sundays, Wednesdays), the Grenada Tourism Authority has embarked on a marketing campaign employing traditional, digital, and social media tactics in the Canadian market with Air Canada and TravelBrands/Red Tag. Travel agents who book vacations to Grenada will receive five times the regular loyalty points during the campaign. In 2019, Grenada welcomed a total of 17,911 Canadians.
WestJet launched its newest route connecting passengers for the first time between Calgary and Seattle on Nov. 4.
Air Transat has reached an offtake agreement for 90% of the sustainable e-fuel produced by SAF+ in its first plant over the first 15 years of operation. The agreement, which also includes support for the project’s development, confirms Air Transat’s desire to reduce its environmental footprint and continue its actions to combat climate change by becoming the first airline in Canada to reserve a significant volume of e-fuel over a long period of time, says the airline.
Ultra low-cost carrier Flair Airlines will boost its 2022 schedule with the addition of twice weekly non-stop service between Winnipeg and Regina as well as Winnipeg and Saskatoon. Twice-weekly service begins April 14 and 16 respectively.
BY THE NUMBERS
Air Canada reported a loss of $640 million in its latest quarter, however its operating revenue still nearly tripled compared with a year ago. Revenue totalled $2.10 billion, up from $757 million in the same quarter last year. The airline increased its capacity in the quarter as measured by available seat miles by 87% compared with the third quarter of 2020, however it was still down 66% when compared with the third quarter of 2019. In its outlook, Air Canada says it plans to increase its fourth-quarter capacity by about 135% compared with the same quarter in 2020, however, but still down 47% from 2019.
Australian adventure travel company Aurora Expeditions will be resuming operations in Antarctica in 2022 with voyages commencing from Punta Arenas, Chile, in January. Re-introductory incentives include no single supplements on cabins on select Antarctic Expeditions between January-March as well as 15% off all voyages during the same time period.
Through Nov. 30, Celeystal Cruises, which sails in the Greek Islands and Eastern Med is offering cruises starting at US$379 (representing up to 40% off) on select 2022 all-inclusive cruises. Children also sail for free and there is no single supplement for solo travellers. Reduced rates are also available for third and fourth adult guests. Mandatory vaccination policy is in effect.
Starting Dec. 16, Air Canada Vacations will introduce a twice-weekly non-stop route from Toronto to Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. The country’s capital and cultural core is the oldest city in the Caribbean and ACV offers eight different hotel options, plus seven-night city and beach combos.
Goway is celebrating Dubai Expo 2020 by offering free stopovers to Dubai on vacations for travellers connecting on to destinations in Africa, Asia, and the Middle East. Goway’s free stopovers to Dubai include two nights in Dubai as well as a pass to the Dubai Expo, which is running through March 31, 2022. In partnership with Dubai Tourism, Goway is also offering competitive pricing on vacations to Dubai, which includes multi-day passes to the Expo, as well as trips up the Burj Khalifa, shopping experiences, and desert safaris. Goway notes that it also offers a popular “Explore Dubai Women’s Tour” for female travellers.
The 27-floor, 456-room Daytona Grande, a new oceanfront luxury resort, opened a number of rooms this summer with a full opening planned for later this year. The property is located at 422 North Atlantic Ave in Daytona Beach just north of the Ocean Center convention complex. Meanwhile, the oceanfront 12-story Max Beach Resort is scheduled to open in early 2022 with condo-style residential suites featuring one-, two-, and three-bedroom options, fully equipped kitchens and private outdoor living spaces. Located just south of the Boardwalk and Pier area, the property plans to combine the best that a vacation rental has to offer with the amenities of a high-end resort hotel including a beachfront café and bar, and top floor sky lounge.
Opening in preview on Nov. 9, The Reykjavik EDITION promises the first truly luxury hotel experience in the Icelandic capital. Designed as a vibrant and sophisticated urban hub, the 253-room hotel offers a comprehensive line-up of bars, restaurant, nightclub, and a modern social wellness concept that channels the country’s signature hot springs, mineral waters, and natural fjords.
In a sign of the times, Palm Island Resort in St. Vincent and the Grenadines has purchased its own PCR testing machine in an effort to alleviate the current 48-hour quarantine that the St. Vincent government has placed on travellers, as well as to facilitate exit screenings. The resort says that due to limited resources in SVG, local hoteliers are taking COVID safety precautions into their own hands to ensure seamless travel for their guests and to ensure safety for staff. The cost of testing is US$125 p.p.
Hyatt Hotels has completed its previously announced deal to acquire leading luxury resort-management services, travel, and hospitality group Apple Leisure Group (ALG), which will notably enable the hotel company to double its global resorts footprint through the addition of ALG’s AMR Collection brand portfolio (AMResorts), comprising approximately 100 hotels and resorts operating in 10 countries. Hyatt currently offers eight all-inclusives in the Caribbean and Mexico under the Hyatt Ziva and Zilara names, while the AMR Collection includes the Secrets, Dreams, Zoetry, Breathess, Alua, and Sunscape resort brands.
There’s still room on the Carnival Mardi Gras’ Nov. 20 sailing from Port Canaveral, Fla., featuring renowned chef and television personality Emeril Lagasse. It will be the first time Lagasse sees his Emeril’s Bistro on the Carnival flagship. While on board, the chef will be a special guest at the morning show in the ship’s Grand Central atrium and mingle with guests at his Bistro 1396 restaurant. He’ll also host a cooking class and be a special guest at a special Chef’s Table dinner with proceeds going to charity.
For a limited time, Holland America Line is allowing kids aged five to 17 to sail for free as third and fourth guests as a in a stateroom. The offer is good for selected cruises through spring 2022 and includes sailings in the Caribbean, Alaska, California, Europe, and Canada/New England.
ATTRACTIONS & THEME PARKS
Now open, Walt Disney Swan Reserve is a new 14-story hotel positioned adjacent to the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin in the middle of Walt Disney World Resort. Featuring 349 spacious and versatile guest rooms – including 151 suites – with floor-to-ceiling views of the resort, the property is located within walking distance of EPCOT and Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Amenities include Amare, the signature Mediterranean restaurant; a grab-n-go café; scenic pool area with elevated deck and fire pit; and an array of Walt Disney World guest benefits, including early entry and extended evening hours at the theme parks.
Holiday festivities at Universal Studios Florida and Universal’s Islands of Adventure get underway Nov. 13 and include the return of the popular “Universal’s Holiday Tour,” an exclusive guided tour available on select dates starting Nov. 21. Seasonal themes and activities continue through Jan. 2.
FAMS & INCENTIVES
The Advanced Commission Program for travel professionals by Collette is now permanent. Originally launched in September of 2020 and set to expire at the end of the year, the program allows travel professionals to receive a portion of the full commission amount based on type of booking (excluding groups); better still, Collette will not recall the advanced commission payments if a client chooses to cancel. Advisors can earn advanced commission on all tours in its newly released 2022-23 Worldwide Travel Guide with $100 per booking for land-only bookings; $125 per booking for land and air bookings; and $200 per booking for any reservation that includes Collette’s Travel Protection Plan.
On Nov. 18 at 1 p.m. EST, PromPeru is hosting the webinar “Wildlife destinations in the jungle of Peru,” featuring two local partners that offer experiences in the north or south Amazon region. One lucky advisor will receive a $125 Amazon Gift Card just for attending. Click HERE.
Former co-founder and CEO of Canada 3000 Airlines Angus Kinnear died in the Dominican Republic late last month of complications from COVID-19. The retired airline executive was a pivotal figure in Canadian travel, tourism, and aviation. Founded as Air 2000 in 1988 (the name was changed the following year), Canada 3000 had become Canada’s largest charter carrier by 1991. In November 2001 it collapsed after the downturn in air travel following the events of Sept. 11.
e-Travel Technologies has announced the appointment of Dianne Jackson as its new Vice President Client Success. Effective Nov. 1, Jackson, formerly of Red Label Vacations/Merit, will lead the company’s global team of analysts as well as develop its commercial strategy, including all national and international markets. Jackson has over 30 years of experience in the travel industry, including senior roles at CAA, Expedia Affiliate Network, Allianz Global Assistance, and First Choice Canada (Signature Vacations).
Beginning Jan. 8, 2022, all commercial establishments in Costa Rica will require proof of COVID-19 vaccination. Proof of vaccination must be verified by means of a QR code or a “COVID-19 Vaccination Record Card,” and will apply to all individuals aged 12 and older. Commercial establishments include hotels and resorts, restaurants and bars, adventure tourism services, casinos, stores, museums, and gymnasiums.
During a session at World Travel Market entitled “Building Back Better for Destination Resilience,” the boss of Visit Cornwall – one of the UK’s most popular holiday destinations – joked that he wanted to change the tourist board’s name to “Don’t Visit Cornwall” after it struggled to cope with the huge influx of visitors this summer. Visit Cornwall CEO and Marketing Director Malcolm Bell did say, however, that marketing money would no longer be spent on encouraging people to visit during the summer. “We will concentrate all efforts on marketing Cornwall in winter. Not the shoulders, but in the winter,” he told delegates.
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First published at Travel Industry Today