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ROUND-UP:Nov. 15-19, 2021

A new airline is set to take flight next year in Canada; international borders continue to re-open while cross-border Canadians get a break; Black Friday deals; and the news all Ontarians have been waiting for: buying booze at the LCBO now earns Aeroplan points.

NEWS

A new ultra-low-cost airline, Lynx Air is set to start flying sometime next year. Formerly known as Enerjet, the Calgary-based charter airline that announced in 2018 that it intended to transform itself into a commercial discount carrier, it plans to operate a fleet of Boeing’s new 737 aircraft and start with domestic service before eventually expanding to offer trans-border and international routes.

Aeroplan members can now earn one Aeroplan point for every $4 spent at LCBO retail stores in Ontario, in addition to bonus points and promotional offers. And soon they can also be used for LCBO gift cards, starting at 1,000 Aeroplan points for a $10 gift card through the Aeroplan eStore. New members will receive 250 bonus Aeroplan points on their first LCBO retail store purchase when they join through Nov. 28. Plus, all Aeroplan members will earn 2X the base points on their first purchase of $50 or more made through the same date.

RE-OPENING/RE-START

Carnival Cruise Line resumed guest operations last week (Nov. 14) from Tampa, Fla. with Carnival Pride. A second ship, Carnival Paradise, will join Carnival Pride, in March 2022. Similarly, Norwegian Cruise Line began sailing again from Orlando with the Norwegian Escape the 8th NCL ship (of 17) to come back into service post-pandemic.

Cuba and India both re-opened their borders last week to fully vaccinated travellers.

With the resumption of WestJet flights to Antigua and Barbuda on Nov. 21 after a long pandemic pause, the two-island nation notes the following COVID-19 protocols are now in effect: All arriving passengers over 18 are required to have received at least one dose of a WHO-approved two-dose vaccine; fully vaccinated arriving passengers must present a negative COVID-19 RT-PCR or an approved rapid antigen negative test result within three days of their flight or fewer; partially vaccinated passengers will require a negative PCR test taken within four days of their flight or fewer; children below the age of five do not require a PCR test. Masks are mandatory in public places.

AIR

WestJet has announced it will add non-stop 787 Dreamliner service to London’s Heathrow Airport (LHR) beginning early Spring 2022.

Edmonton-based Flair Airlines is launching service to Mexico. The discount carrier says it will begin non-stop flights to Cancun and Los Cabos this winter from five Canadian cities. It’s part of an aggressive expansion effort by the airline. Flair serves 18 Canadian cities and is launching new US routes this spring.

Canada Jetlines and Global Crossing Airlines have announced the launch of their partnership on the sale of public charter flights between Toronto and Florida. Round-trip charter flights are expected to operate from Toronto to Miami and Fort Lauderdale weekly beginning in March 2022.

Flights between Canada and Colombia begin in December with thrice-weekly service on Avianca between Toronto and Bogota. The flights – Tuesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays – will be operated in Airbus A320 aircraft with capacity for 150 passengers. Passengers can connect on to other destinations in Latin America through the Bogota hub, where Avianca operates 99 routes.

BY THE NUMBERS

Canada’s second-busiest airport is getting a little busier. On average, between 26,000 and 29,000 people are travelling through Vancouver International Airport each day. In comparison, a regular September or October day would see 65,000 to 70,000. Last summer and fall, there were only about 10,000 people daily.

TRAVEL AGENTS

Canadian members of Direct Travel’s leisure leadership team recently attended the Virtuoso Symposium in Vienna for the luxury consortium’s annual Thought Leadership meetings – for many attendees it was their first international trip in almost two years. Pictured at the closing event gala ball at Vienna’s legendary Spanish Riding school were Direct Travel’s Vivienne Kouba, Gerard Bellino, Rene Schneeberger and Stephen Smith, with Virtuoso’s Tony Logan and Una O’Leary. Direct Travel does business in Canada as Vision Travel.

DEALS

A Black Friday promo from Transat, valid on new individual bookings made between Nov. 19 and 28, offers up to $600 in savings on South packages, as well as discount flight fares to the South, Florida, and Europe when travelling between Dec. 1 and April 30. Some exceptions apply.

Already in effect, Sunwing’s annual Black Friday sale offers savings of up to 40% on all-inclusive vacation packages when booked by Dec. 6 for travel through April 30, 2022. Clients will be benefit from no change fees up to seven days prior to departure and free COVID-19 emergency medical coverage on applicable packages.

Savings of up to 50% off reservations are being offered at Discovery Cove in Orlando for bookings made by Nov. 26. The tropical attraction and all-inclusive day resort, which is part of the SeaWorld family, enables guests to swim with dolphins, snorkel among thousands of tropical fish and rays, hand-feed exotic birds, strut alongside flamingos, and more. Set amid a tropical oasis in the heart of Central Florida, Discovery Cove provides guests with the opportunity to relax in a beautiful, safe, outdoor environment.

TOURS

Starting Jan. 1, African Travel guests travelling in non-family groups of 10-plus and on set group departures will need to provide proof of an approved COVID-19 vaccination (Pfizer, Moderna, AstraZeneca or one dose of Johnson & Johnson), before joining their safari and upon arrival to their destination. Guests will also need to comply with specific PCR testing requirements imposed by airlines and/or governments, which may differ from country to country. The Travel Corp. brand offers safari vacation packages to Egypt, Kenya, Tanzania, and Southern Africa.

With the winter return of the manatees, Florida’s Plantation on Crystal River is offering an overnight “Swim with the Manatees” package starting at US$299 for two guests, including overnight accommodations in a garden view room; manatee snorkeling tour for two from the Plantation Adventure Center with all equipment provided (mask, snorkel, and wetsuit); breakfast for two at West 82⁰ Bar & Grill; and a welcome bag with plush manatee toy, fun facts, and manatee interaction guidelines. The riverfront resort, on the Crystal River on the state’s east coast, is the only location in North America where it is legal to swim alongside and interact with these “sea cows” in the wild.

HOTELS

Located in the heart of downtown, the newly opened Hyatt Centric Downtown Denver has 264 rooms decorated in a modern urban style designed to reflect the personality and style of the city in which it resides. Guests have easy access to the city’s top destinations including the Colorado Convention Center, Denver Center for the Performing Arts, Coors Field, Ball Arena, Union Station, and the bustling Larimer Square. A highlight is the hotel’s spacious rooftop terrace boasting cityscape views, plush seating and outdoor fireplaces for guests can embrace Denver’s countless days of sunshine. There’s also seasonally inspired restaurant, Apple Blossom.

Located in the historic Crown Building on 5th Avenue, the first home of Museum of Modern Art, Aman New York is set to open “soon.” A luxurious sanctuary that celebrates the building’s striking architecture and significant history, the hotel will offer restaurants, a Garden Terrace & Bar, a private members club, the three-floor Aman Spa, and a Jazz Club and Wine Room.

RESORTS

After extensive renovations totaling more than US$6 million, Viva Wyndham Azteca reopened its doors to guests on Nov. 1, 2021. The reopening of the all-inclusive, oceanfront resort located in Playa Del Carmen, Mexico, also coincides with the reopening of Viva Wyndham’s V Heavens Resort located in the Playa Dorada complex in Puerto Plata, DR. The two resort openings complete the reopening of all eight of Viva Wyndham resorts across its portfolio.

Set to open in December, Meliá Phuket Mai Khao, a 30-suite and 70-villa resort on 3.2 hectares of Phuket, Thailand’s northwestern coastline overlooking the Andaman Sea. Fronting Phuket’s longest stretch of sand, the resort on Mai Khao Beach is close to an array of attractions such as Sirinat National Park, Mai Khao Marine Turtle Foundation, and Wat Phra Thong temple. Phuket International Airport is a 15-minute drive.

CRUISE

Guests sailing on Windstar Cruises now have a choice between paying a single all-inclusive rate that includes amenities such as alcohol, gratuities, and other onboard services, or adding items à la carte as they go. For Windstar, all-inclusive means unlimited wine, beer, and cocktails, Wi-Fi, all gratuities, as well as the cruise fare. The new fare is available for the Wind Class yachts as well.

Tradewind Voyages has released the full program and prices for the Mediterranean debut of the world’s largest tall ship, Golden Horizon. Beginning in Palma on May 1, 2022, there are 23 voyages offered across the region, spanning Spain, France, Italy, Albania, Montenegro, Croatia, Slovenia, Greece, and Turkey. The inaugural Med season concludes with the 14-night Canaries to the Caribbean Voyage, arriving in Barbados for the start of winter 2022/23 and yet another debut for the ship.

ATTRACTIONS & THEME PARKS

The best-selling holiday artist of all time, Mannheim Steamroller, returns to Universal Studios Florida to fill the air with the sounds of the season. Guests can attend live performances at the Music Plaza Stage on the following nights: Dec. 4, 5, 11 and 12.

FAMS & INCENTIVES

To celebrate the return of Canadians and in appreciation of the travel agents who book them, Visit Myrtle Beach is running a trivia contest for Canadian travel counsellors in which one grand prize winner will receive a $500 Visa gift card while five others will receive destination swag bags. The contest ends Nov. 30; to enter, click HERE.

Experience Kissimmee is holding a Faceboo contest for Canadian travel advisors. To enter, simply become friends with Denise Graham – Facebook on the official Experience Kissimmee Facebook page for Canadian travel advisors before the end of November. After that, tag fellow travel advisors not already following the page in the contest post to help the page reach 1,000 followers and to be automatically entered into a draw to win a $100 VI prepaid gift card for every travel advisor who follows the page. The final draw will take place on Dec. 1 and the winner will be announced on Facebook.

EVENTS

Nov. 24: Following a successful inaugural in July, the Jamaica Tourist Board is hosting a second Virtual Product Showcase, first hosted in July, on Wednesday, Nov. 24 from 1 to 3 p.m. EST. Designed to “educate, entertain, and inspire,” the free industry event will give agents an opportunity to hear the latest destination updates from Jamaica and see presentations from top tour operators and travel suppliers, including Sunwing Vacations, Transat, WestJet Vacations, Swoop Airlines, Iberostar, H10 Hotels, RIU Hotels, and many more. The event will also feature trivia games with great prizes up for grabs. To register, click HERE.

PEOPLE/APPOINTMENTS

Toronto-based Discover the World has announced the appointment of Savio Pires to the position of National Sales Manager – Canada. In his new role at Discover the World, Pires will be responsible for Indian airline Vistara’s sales operations in Canada and will work with the Discover the World team to strategically grow partners brand equity, overall sales and marketing activities.

DESTINATIONS

The Imperial War Museum in London has completed a massive £30.5-million expansion, featuring with new Second World War and Holocaust galleries.

The US National Park Service has partnered with a tourism association to ensure the contributions, cultures and traditions of Native Americans are incorporated into exhibits and programming at sites across the country. The Park service says it highlights the history of Native Americans, Alaska Natives and Native Hawaiians throughout the year. The five-year agreement with the American Indian Alaska Native Tourism Association will expand opportunities, officials said.

Send info to baginski@travelindustrytoday.com

First published at Travel Industry Today

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